What Are Different Dishes with Spinach and Ricotta?

Gregory Hanson
Gregory Hanson

Spinach and ricotta are both mainstays of Italian cooking, and many dishes that pair the two draw on that culinary tradition. These two ingredients can be combined and served with or in pasta. The combination also makes an excellent stuffing for savory meat dishes. Several pizza recipes use spinach and ricotta together. Other types of dishes also benefit from the mild, savory, and slightly sweet blending of these two ingredients.

Spinach and ricotta stuffed pasta shells is a popular baked pasta dish.
Spinach and ricotta stuffed pasta shells is a popular baked pasta dish.

A simple but versatile combination of spinach and ricotta involves mixing the two and adding spices as desired — most often Italian spices such as oregano and garlic. The resulting mixture is very versatile. It can be used as a filling for ravioli, cannelloni, or any other variety of pasta that needs a filling. If desired, it can be used as a topping or sauce for pasta, thanks to the softness of the ricotta cheese.

Ricotta and spinach are classic lasagna ingredients.
Ricotta and spinach are classic lasagna ingredients.

The fact that ricotta is such a soft cheese means that a mixture of spinach and ricotta is a good choice for use in stuffing cuts of meat. This adds flavor to the meat, especially to sometimes bland meats such as chicken. It also adds moisture to the interior of a cut of meat, which can prevent excessive drying during the cooking process.

Many lasagna recipes combine spinach and ricotta as well. Some mix them together, some add them in different layers. Vegetarian lasagnas are particularly likely to use this flavor combination, but dishes containing meat often make use of it as well.

Italian pizzas do not typically include the solid layer of cheese usually seen atop American pizzas. Common varieties feature a thin and flavorful crust with some cheese, vegetables, and other toppings scattered on the pizza. Spinach and ricotta blend nicely on this sort of pizza dish.

Not all applications that combine ricotta and spinach are based on strictly Italian recipes. A pie that is very similar to a quiche can be made when cooking with spinach and ricotta. The spinach is common to both dishes. The ricotta cheese is very soft and mild and fills the same role in this dish that the egg mixture does in a quiche. A hybrid dish that adds ricotta a cheese to a quiche recipe is certainly possible as well, as egg, spinach, and ricotta blend nicely.

Ricotta can be used together with spinach in any situation where a soft, rich, and mild ingredient might be called for. Many omelets combine spinach and cream cheese, for example. A very similar omelet could be made by using ricotta cheese in place of the cream cheese.

Discussion Comments


I like spinach and ricotta dip. You mix these ingredients with sour cream and dry vegetable soup mix. Serve with crackers. So good!

I also add chopped thin sliced corned beef or ham for a little meaty taste.

We like spinach roll-ups, too. That's when you mix the spinach and ricotta and roll it up in cooked lasagna noodles, put in a casserole dish and pour marinara sauce over it and bake. Very, very tasty.

With all the recipes for spinach and ricotta dishes online, it's going to take me a while to get through all the permutations. But I like both ingredients, so it's not a terrible chore.


Spanakopita usually uses spinach and ricotta as a filling. It's always a tasty snack. These two ingredients are about as popular in Greek cooking as they are in Italian. Of course, the two are very similar, anyway.

The best things about spinach and ricotta is that they are low-carb foods, and they can be combined with so many different ingredients. I do a no-noodle lasagna that uses ricotta and spinach and really, you don't even miss the noodles. They're placeholders more than anything else. What you want in lasagna is the filling anyway, not the noodles. I've picked the noodles out for years.

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