Kid-friendly Amazing Kale Ravioli with Wonderful White Bean Alfredo Sauce Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Amazing Kale Ravioli with Wonderful White Bean Alfredo Sauce

Recipe: Amazing Kale Ravioli with Wonderful White Bean Alfredo Sauce

Amazing Kale Ravioli with Wonderful White Bean Alfredo Sauce

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Tuaklom/
prep time
20 minutes
cook time
12 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Amazing Kale Ravioli with Wonderful White Bean Alfredo Sauce

Are you one of those hardcore lovers of the famous creamy Alfredo sauce pasta? If you are, I'm pretty sure you know how the sauce gets its creaminess: loads of heavy cream. By the time you figure out just how fattening this dish is, you'll almost be tempted never to eat it again. My eldest daughter is a fettuccine Alfredo connoisseur. She orders it every time we go out to dinner, without fail. Recently, I came across a recipe using white beans and a minimal amount of cheese to make a mock Alfredo sauce and never looked back. White beans can be beaten and blended into a creamy (and healthy) Alfredo-style pasta sauce in no time. The recipe requires only seven ingredients, many of which you can find in just about any family kitchen. Even my fettuccine Alfredo-loving daughter scrapes the pan every time. I get nothing but rave reviews when I make this with my family!

The addition of the beans and the omission of much of the cheese and cream turn this from an expensive, high-fat dish to a frugal, high-protein, high-fiber dinner that kids adore. What's not to love about that? I love how forgiving this sauce is, and it is easy to make variations on. For example, you can use as much or as little cheese as you want or whatever kind of cheese you want. Maybe some of you will try a white bean lasagna or macaroni and cheese. As a bonus, you can serve this to bean haters without them knowing they're eating beans!

We chose to pair our sauce with homemade (kid-made) ravioli. If making homemade ravioli with your kids sounds like a lot of work, it is. However, it can be a snap if you use our (not very Italian) trick of swapping out wonton wrappers for homemade pasta dough. You and your kids can make these in triangles or squares. We are stuffing our ravioli with (and learning about) kale, one of the most nutritious vegetables you can find! "Mangia bene e vivi felice!" (Eat well and live happy!)

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • zest :

    to scrape off the outer colored part of a citrus fruit's rind (skin or peel) using a metal tool with small sharp blades, such as a zester, microplane, or the small holes of a grater (avoid the "pith," the white, spongy lining of the rind that can be bitter).

Equipment Checklist

  • Nonstick skillet + lid
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Zester (or grater with small zesting plate/side)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Measuring spoons
  • Small bowl or cup (for water to seal wrappers)
  • Plate
  • Blender (or food processor or bowl + immersion blender)


Amazing Kale Ravioli with Wonderful White Bean Alfredo Sauce

  • Ravioli pasta:
  • 24 to 48 wonton wrappers **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub rice paper wrappers)**
  • water, to seal wrappers
  • vegetable oil, for frying **
  • Kale filling:
  • 1/4 C ricotta or cottage cheese **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free cheese, like Daiya brand, OR 1 beaten egg + 2 tsp nutritional yeast)**
  • 1/2 C fresh kale leaves (I like dinosaur kale, also called lacinato kale—you can use your T-Rex arms to tear the leaves!)
  • 2 T grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free cheese shreds, like Daiya brand)**
  • 1 lemon, for 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 big pinch ground black pepper
  • White bean Alfredo sauce:
  • 2 cups canned cannellini or other white beans, undrained (when measuring, fill cup to top with beans and liquid) **(Omit sauce for kids with LEGUME ALLERGY—serve their ravioli with oil, salt, and cheese)**
  • 2 cups milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 small garlic clove
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt + more if needed
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese + extra for sprinkling **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free cheese shreds, like Daiya brand)**

Food Allergen Substitutions

Amazing Kale Ravioli with Wonderful White Bean Alfredo Sauce

  • Dairy: For 1/4 C ricotta or cottage cheese, substitute dairy-free/nut-free cheese, like Daiya brand, OR 1 beaten egg + 2 tsp nutritional yeast. Substitute dairy-free/nut-free cheese shreds, like Daiya brand, for Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese. Substitute dairy-free/nut-free milk.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute rice paper wrappers for wonton wrappers.
  • Soy: Substitute canola oil or other nut-free high-smoking point oil for vegetable oil.
  • Legume: Do not serve the Alfredo sauce to children with a legume allergy. They can have oil, salt, and cheese on their ravioli.


Amazing Kale Ravioli with Wonderful White Bean Alfredo Sauce


"Ciao" (chow) or "Hello" in Italian! We're flipping the traditional Italian ravioli dish on its head by making ours out of wonton wrappers, filling them with sautéed kale and cheese, and topping them with an Alfredo sauce made with white beans! And they're delicious and healthy!

zest + tear + sauté

Have your kids zest the rind of 1 lemon (you can use the juice for a drink, like Lemon-Vanilla Italian Sodas). Next, tear 1/2 cup kale leaves into tiny bits. Add the kale to a skillet on your stovetop over medium heat with 1 pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Sauté until the kale is wilted and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes.

measure + mix + count

Let's make the ravioli filling! In a medium mixing bowl, have your kids measure and mix together 1/4 cup ricotta cheese, 2 tablespoons grated cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Add the sautéed kale and 1 big pinch of black pepper to taste and mix again. They can count to five in Italian while they mix: 1 uno (OO-noh), 2 due (DOO-eh), 3 tre (treh), 4 quattro (KWAHT-troh), 5 cinque (CHEEN-kweh).

ravioli shapes

Time to make the ravioli with your 24 to 48 wonton wrappers! Choose either small triangular-shaped ravioli (1 wrapper), large square ravioli (2 wrappers), or both!

recipe tip

Make sure any air bubbles are out of the ravioli before the kids seal them, or the filling will seep out when they are cooked.

triangle fill + trace + seal

For small triangles: Fold a wonton wrapper in half from corner to corner to make a triangle. Unfold it and place a mound of about 1 teaspoon of kale filling near the centerline, on one side of a triangle half. Have your kids dip a clean finger into a small bowl or cup of water and trace the water around the edges of the wonton wrapper. Have them fold over the side without the filling to make a triangular pocket and press the edges down to seal. Be careful to push out all of the air. Repeat with the other wrappers.

square fill + trace + seal

Place a mound of about 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of a wonton wrapper. Dip a clean finger into a bowl of water and trace the water around the edges of the wonton wrapper. Trace the edges of a second wonton wrapper with water and press its moistened edges on top of the one with filling to seal them together, pushing out all of the air. Repeat with the other wrappers.

fry + remove

Add a drizzle of oil to a nonstick skillet on your stovetop. Heat to medium-high and slip the ravioli into the skillet (without any water!). Cover and brown on both sides (about 2 minutes per side). Remove finished ravioli from the skillet, placing them onto a plate, and then make the sauce.

combine + purée

Time to make the sauce (no need to clean out your skillet)! Combine 2 cups canned white beans (undrained), 2 cups milk, 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg in a blender, food processor, or bowl for use with an immersion blender. Purée until very smooth and creamy.

heat + stir

In your skillet, heat the sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally, to a temperature just below simmering. Turn off the heat and stir in 1/4 cup of grated cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the sauce by adding more salt and some black pepper if desired.

toss + garnish

Return your cooked ravioli to the skillet with the sauce to heat it back up. Toss the ravioli to cover with sauce. Garnish the pasta with additional grated cheese before serving.

Surprise Ingredient: Kale!

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Photo by Roy Harris/ (Lacinato Kale, also called Tuscan or Dinosaur Kale)

Hi! I’m Kale!

"I'm a very healthy type of cabbage with dark green or purple leaves. Did you know that massaging my leaves with olive oil and salt makes them more tender? This is especially nice if you're eating them raw in a salad. Search, and you shall find a recipe for just about anything made from kale, even kale cupcakes!"


  • Kale may be experiencing an explosion in popularity over the past several years, but did you know that kale is an Old World staple in many countries worldwide, including Scotland, Kenya, Denmark, Italy, and Portugal? It's true. People have been enjoying kale for at least 2,000 years.  
  • People in the Mediterranean area were the first to cultivate kale. They called it cabbage back in the day. In Roman times, cabbage was a significant crop and became a staple for peasants in the Middle Ages.  
  • Kale made its way to the United States from England 400 years ago in the 17th century.  
  • Despite its longstanding popularity all over the globe, the average American eats only two to three cups of kale per year. Check out how much kale you will eat today in our recipes!
  • Kale used to be called "peasant's cabbage," probably because it grew so abundantly. The modern name "kale" came from the Scottish word for the plant: "kail." In Scotland, in the 14th century, small gardens were known as "kailyards" because they grew so much kale.
  • In Ireland, years ago, on Halloween, single women and men would pull up kale stalks to predict the future of their love lives and wealth.

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Holy Kale! There are over fifty varieties of kale, even though we only see about three in the grocery stores! This limited supply is due to several types being inedible. Some are rather coarse, bitter, and indigestible.
  • Ornamental Kale comes in many colors, including pink and white.
  • Kale leaves can be curly or straight, thin, and scalloped. Lacinato kale is popular because it is mild, and its thinner leaves are more tender than other types of Kale. Other names for Lacinato kale are Tuscan and Dinosaur (or Dino)!
  • Leaves can be either purple or green. Purple leaves have a slightly different nutrient content than green leaves, but both are nutritious.
  • Kale is part of the Cruciferous family of vegetables because of the shape of its flowers. Taste a piece of raw kale. Does it taste like anything you've eaten before? Other vegetables in this family include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower—maybe kale tastes similar to one of these veggies!
  • Some kale varieties can reach up to 17 or 18 feet tall!
  • The word "kale" came from the Northern Middle English word for cabbage, "cale" (compare Scots "kail"), from Latin "caulis." 

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Kale prefers to grow in cold weather, but it can be grown during any season and in most climates. Kale grown and picked during the winter actually tastes sweeter! That's because kale reacts to frost by producing sugars.
  • Kale is harvested when leaves have grown to at least 12 inches long. Each leaf is picked individually by snapping the leaf off close to the stalk.
  • When shopping for kale, look for deep green leaves, unless it's the purple variety.
  • Before eating kale, wash each leaf under cold running water, as a lot of dirt hides at the bottom of the stalks.
  • Kale is super versatile. It can be braised, steamed, roasted into chips, dehydrated, blended raw into smoothies, added to soups, sliced and added to salads, or juiced. 
  • In Japan, kale is dried, ground into powder, and added to drinks.


  • Kale is the Superhero of Vegetables. It has many antioxidants and vitamins that help keep us healthy, smart, strong, and feeling good.
  • Kale contains an incredible array of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins A, K, and C, calcium, and fiber.
  • Remember what fiber does? It helps our digestion! Our intestines depend on fiber to work well and help us absorb the nutrients we need from our food (and get rid of what we don't!).
  • Kale contains over 45 different compounds that have been proven to fight cancer.
  • Because of an essential fatty acid in kale, called alpha-linolenic acid (or ALA), eating it may help prevent heart disease and stroke. Other foods high in ALA include avocados, navy beans, and edamame (soybeans).
  • The vitamins A and K in kale will be absorbed better if you eat it with a healthy fat, like avocado, olive oil, cheese, or olives.
  • Kale contains lutein, which is good for our eyes and vision. Lutein also helps kale retain its beautiful deep green color.
  • Kale includes more vitamin C than an orange and more calcium than milk!


History of Ravioli and Fettuccine Alfredo!

Photo by doug m/


  • We know ravioli are at least as old as the 14th century because they were mentioned in a Venetian cookbook and personal letters by an Italian merchant from that time. Ravioli and other small filled pastas may have come to Italy from China, Mongolia, or Persia.  
  • The origin of the word "ravioli" is uncertain; however, some people think it comes from the Italian word "riavvolgere," which is "rewrap" in English. 
  • Ravioli are small pasta envelopes or parcels filled with cheese, ground meat, or vegetables. Most people say that true ravioli contain no meat, and there is some truth to this assertion because ravioli are a testament to the frugal resourcefulness of the Ligurian people of Italy, who could combine wild greens plucked from the mountainsides with the simplest of cheeses and pasta, to make an extraordinarily rich and tasty dish.
  • Stuffed pasta goes a long way back, and almost every region in Italy has its own varieties with characteristic forms and fillings. A century ago, stuffed pasta with vegetable-based fillings was eaten on Fridays during Lent by those well-off and eaten year-round by those too poor to buy meat. On the other hand, the meat-filled varieties were a day-after treat made with the leftover meats from Sunday dinners or festive meals. Times have changed, and now most Italians buy their stuffed pasta ready-made.

Fettuccine Alfredo!

  • A recipe for fettuccine pasta served with "butter, good cheese, and sweet spices" was in the cookbook of a 15th-century Italian chef, Martino da Como. 
  • Fettuccine Alfredo was created in the early 1900s by Alfredo Di Lelio when he added triple the amount of butter ("burro" in Italian) and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to fettuccine to tempt his wife to eat after giving birth to their son. The dish was initially called "fettuccine al triplo burro," but eventually became known as "fettuccine all'Alfredo." It was prepared tableside and served as the "primo" or first course in his restaurant in Rome.
  • When the dish came to the United States, the recipe eventually changed to include heavy cream. It is often served in Italian restaurants in the US as the main entrée, with the addition of cooked chicken and broccoli. 
  • Jarred Alfredo sauce is available to purchase in stores. Prepared versions of the dish and sauce may add eggs and food starch as thickeners. 
  • Our Sticky Fingers Cooking's Amazing Kale Ravioli with Wonderful White Bean Alfredo Sauce includes white beans and milk in the sauce to thicken it and add extra protein!

Let's Learn About Italy!

Photo by Marina Andrejchenko/
  • Italy became a unified country in 1861, only 150 years ago. It is sometimes called "bel paese" or "beautiful country."  
  • Italians invented the piano and the thermometer! 
  • In ancient Roman mythology, two twin brothers named Romulus and Remus founded Rome, Italy's capital city. The myth says the twins were abandoned and then discovered by a she-wolf before being found and raised by a shepherd and his wife. Eventually (and after many exciting adventures), they found themselves at the location of Palatine Hill, where Romulus built "Roma." The Italian wolf became Italy's unofficial national animal. 
  • In the 1930s and 40s, Mussolini, Italy's prime minister, and dictator tried to eliminate all foreign words from the Italian language. How did he do that? He just changed them! For example, in soccer, "goal" became "meta." Disney character names changed, too: Donald Duck became "Paperino;" Mickey Mouse became "Topolino;" and Goofy became "Pippo." Although they're not banned anymore, these words and names have stuck. So now if you go to the Italian Disneyland, called Gardaland Park, you will see Topolino and Pippo! 
  • About 60 million people call Italy home, and it is 116,350 square miles, slightly larger than the US state of Arizona. If you compare that to the United Kingdom, 67 million people live there, and it is about 94,350 square miles. So, the UK is smaller than Italy but has a bigger population! 
  • The Italian flag is green, white, and red. These colors represent hope, faith, and charity.
  • The average Italian eats close to 55 pounds of pasta annually. If you think about how light pasta is, that is a considerable amount! There are more than 500 different types of pasta eaten in Italy today. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Italy?

  • Kids begin school at 6 years old. They grow up speaking Italian, but they learn English in school, so many become bilingual in Italian and English.
  • The most popular sport for kids is football (soccer). The Italian word for soccer is "calcio," the same word they use for "kick." A favorite of younger kids is "Rody, the bouncing horse," a plastic horse that a small child can hop onto and bounce around the room. Rody was invented in Italy in 1984.  
  • The family ("la famiglia") is a central characteristic of Italian life. Children have great respect for their older relatives. It is traditional to name the first male child after the grandfather and the first female child after the grandmother.
  • If kids live close to school, they can go home and have lunch with their families! Lunch at school might be pasta, meat with vegetables, a sandwich, or a salad with lots of ingredients. Families typically eat dinner later (7 to 8 pm), so kids end up staying up later, too!
  • Between lunch and dinner, kids often enjoy "merenda," which is an afternoon snack that translates to "something that is deserved." It is really a mini-meal that can include both savory and sweet foods. Examples of savory foods are a salami or mortadella sandwich, a slice of rustic bread rubbed with a cut, raw tomato, or "pizza bianca" (white pizza without tomato sauce). Types of sweet foods eaten during merenda are "gelato" (a lower-fat type of ice cream), any kind of cake, or biscotti dipped in warm milk.

Lettuce Joke Around

"Knock, knock!"

"Who's there?"


"Pasta who?" 

"Pasta the ravioli; we're hungry!"

That's Berry Funny

Did you hear about the carrot that outran the bunny rabbit? 

He lived to tell the kale.

The Yolk's On You

Why is kale never lonely? 

Because they come in bunches!

The Yolk's On You

What happens when you buy too many greens? 

You tip the sales!

That's Berry Funny

What do you call a story about vegetables that has dragons, giants, and talking animals?

A fairy kale!

That's Berry Funny

What is a scaredy-cat’s favorite dinner? 

Ravioli with afraid-o sauce!

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