Simmered in Tradition with Ragú® & Vegan Cast-Iron Pepperoni Pizza Dip!

Vegan Pepperoni Pizza Dip

Traditions can mean many things when it comes to food. Those traditions don’t necessarily have to be conventional. Not a lot in my family was!

As a kid, most people in our family knew my mom, aka Momma Mac, to be an amazing baker. What many don’t know is that she taught me how to cook pasta, which she learned from her travels in Europe…and then later marrying my Italian father. At the same time, she was a busy lady, not really having time to make her own pasta sauce except on a rare Sunday. She would often pick up a jar of Ragú®, do some kitchen magic by adding her own blend of spices and serve up a plate of popping flavor. Little did she know that her “tradition” would be passed down to me.

Ragú® Old Style Marinara
Source: Ragú®

Mom often played around with jarred sauces by adding various ingredients and trying different cooking styles. I think she felt like a star chef on a shoestring budget. And when she would cook dinner, it was often good and weird. Pizza grilled cheese? Uhh yeah! Her creativity made up for her working late nights and being too tired to cook. Now that I’m vegan, I’ve found my cooking game has been improved by being able to be as creative as my mom and enjoying my time in the kitchen.

While there are many pasta sauces on the market, you have to be careful as many are not vegan, often having cheese/milk or even chicken broth (say WHAT?!?!). However, being vegan doesn’t mean you have go for the expensive sauces either. Ragú® Old World Style® Marinara* is an affordable vegan option, which is often around $3.00 for a 24oz jar. It makes for a good base for a variety of dishes from lasagne to pizza pillows. You can go basic or add your favorite ingredients to kick things up a notch. 

Pre-oven vegan pepperoni pizza dip

The marinara has a lot of real tomato flavor! Ragú® believes in using no artificial flavors, colors or high-fructose corn syrup. The sauce is made in a slow-cooking, simmering style to really appreciate that red fruit! While we find the sauce a bit thin for our liking, we use it as a base to which you can your favorite veggies, spices and even vegan cheese! You know how we roll in doing kitchen whip-ups, which are becoming our “tradition.” So, of course, we did one with this sauce!

I was having pizza cravings, but didn’t want an actual slice or pie. Thanks to Ragú® for providing us with the sauce, I was inspired by my mom’s cooking style, her love of cast-iron and favorite pizza spice blend. Hence, the Vegan Cast-Iron Pepperoni Pizza Dip was born! 

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The marinara sauce set the platform for a creamy, “cheesy” dip mixed with vegan cream cheese and vegan mozzarella shreds. Whisked together with vegan pepperoni, later topped with more cheese and then broiled, you have no idea excited we were to eat this right out of the pan!! It was pizza…and really good pizza…where you could taste all of the ingredients, especially the tomatoes in the sauce. 

Vegan Pepperoni Pizza Dip with Bread

To serve this dip, Carlo sliced an Italian bread loaf and made some easy-peasy pan-fried bread!

Want to give this a try at your next party or raging pizza craving? Here’s the recipe!

Vegan Cast-Iron Pepperoni Pizza Dip
Serves 6
Got a pizza craving? Here's a fun way to satisfy it, featuring Ragú® Old World Style Marinara sauce! Share with family and friends or eat it by itself!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Pizza Dip
  1. 1 24oz jar of Ragú® Old World Style Marinara Saue
  2. 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  3. 1 4.2oz pkg. vegan pepperoni slices
  4. 1/2 c. vegan cream cheese
  5. 1/4 c. nutritional yeast
  6. 1 1/2 c. vegan mozzarella shreds
  7. 1 tsp. garlic powder
  8. 1 tsp. dried oregano
  9. 1 tsp. dried basil
  10. 1/4-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
  11. Fresh cracked pepper to taste
  12. Torn fresh basil for garnish)
Pan-Fried Bread
  1. 1 loaf of Italian bread, cut into 12 slices
  2. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  3. 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  4. Dash of sea salt to taste (optional)
Pizza Dip
  1. Heat cast-iron pan with olive oil. When hot, add half of the pepperoni slices and cook for 2 minutes on each side
  2. Pour in marinara and bring to a boil. Then, stir in cream cheese and 1c. of vegan mozzarella shreds until melted into the sauce
  3. Lower heat to a simmer and stir in nutritional yeast and spices (except black pepper). Simmer for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally as sauce thickens
  4. Set oven to broil on high
  5. Remove pan from heat. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella shreds and layer the remaining pepperoni slices
  6. Place pan in oven for 5-7 minutes until the cheese gets slightly brown
  7. Remove pan from oven. Sprinkle fresh cracked pepper and torn basil on top before serving
Pan-Fried Bread
  1. Mix garlic powder and olive oil into a small bowl
  2. Heat a large skillet with the oil. When hot, arrange bread slices cut-side down
  3. Cook for 4 minutes. Turn over. Cook for another 4 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt before serving (optional)
Notes
  1. You can serve this dish right in the pan on a trivet
  2. Yummy ways to enjoy: Scoop with pan-fried bread, spoon into a bowl with fresh veggies or spoon on top of your favorite pasta
  3. Psst. This taste good cold too next day!!
The Food Duo http://thefoodduo.com/
Have you heard about Food.com’s Ready. Set. Cook! contest? It challenges home cooks to create new and unique recipes featuring Ragú® sauce plus a set list of other ingredients. The contest runs between now and November 30, 2015! Click here to enter!

Note: Not all of the Ragú® Old World Style varieties are vegan. Check the label before you buy!!

Orange-Ginger Spring Mix Salad with Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders [Recipe]

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If you haven’t guessed it, we’re fans of Gardein products. We have to thank them for this opportunity to create a new recipe for you! This time around, we’ve came up with a salad with Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders and Carm’s orange-ginger dressing.

Give these a try and click here to download a $1.00 coupon for delicious Gardein products! Get yours today!

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Pizza Pillows? YES! They’re bigger than pockets and smaller than calzones. It’s our take on a Beggar’s Purse handheld meal featuring Gardein’s The Ultimate Beefless Ground!

Remember, you can click here to download a $1.00 coupon for delicious Gardein products! Get yours  today so you can try this recipe yourself!
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By the way, you can save $1.00 off on Gardein products. Click here to get your coupon today!

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Follow Your Heart Cheese Slices [Review + Giveaway]

Growing up, grilled cheese sandwiches were a mainstay in Carm’s home. They were quick, easy and delicious. Mama Macaroon would get really creative with her grilled cheese recipes. Well, now, we can re-create some of her recipes, like “American & Boysenberry” (a recipe we’ll share soon), thanks to the great varieties of Follow Your Heart cheese slices!

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Early on in our vegan journey, we struggled with finding good cheese to make these sandwiches. Either they didn’t get melty or they were just inedible. However, vegan cheese has come a long way. For those of us missing the melt, Follow Your Heart cheese slices do not disappoint.

The slices are available in 4 varieties:

American
Garlic Herb
Provolone
Mozzarella

The mozzarella makes for a great in a panini sandwiche. The American is all set to top a slice of apple pie. If you’re veganizing French Onion Soup, the combination of the Provolone and a little nutritional yeast set it off. Carm’s even made grilled cheese croutons, using the Garlic Herb (recipe to come soon). 

Follow Your Heart cheese slices are not only vegan, but they are gluten-free and soy-free. They have a coconut oil base which helps the cheese melt and adds a boost of cheesy flavor. The added bonus is that these products are Non-GMO! 

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Are you ready to give these a try? Well, now you can! Of course, they’re available in stores across the U.S. However, you can win a prize pack that includes 1 of each of the 4 varieties AND a cute Follow Your Heart heart-shaped cheeseboard (great for your next dinner party!)

Enter today for your chance to win! We’ll announce the winner during #VeganFoodChat on Wednesday, September 16, 2015! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and may be the CHEEZIEST person win! 

Thanks to Follow Your Heart for making this giveaway possible to our readers!