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! 

vegan-pepperoni-pizza-dip-basil

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]

gardein_frz_CrspyTndrs_US_Sm-225x238 

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 with Gardein’s The Ultimate Beefless Ground & Homemade Ricotta

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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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“Fish” & Grits: Gardein Golden Fishless Filet Recipe Brings It Down Home

Being from a family of proud South Carolinians, it’s sometimes fun to bring my vegan spin to favorite meals. With Gardein Golden Fishless Filet, we’re having some fun celebrating family food traditions. Today, I share a delicious breakfast dish that you can have any time of day: “Fish” & Grits!

By the way, you can save $1.00 off on Gardein products. Click here to get your coupon today!

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A Gardein Showdown with Meatless Meatballs & Beefless Grounds [Recipes + Review]

Katherine Hepburn once said “If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.” I think that it’s safe to say that she did okay for herself.

Mac and I are of the ilk that likes to take chances in the kitchen. And although we’ve made a few so so meals, several duds and a couple of what-in-the-world-were-we-thinking? dishes, our track records is very solid when throwing back and letting our culinary whimsy take over the stove. When the great folks at Gardein wanted us to sample some of their most popular foods and come up with recipes, we were excited for the challenge and the fact that we love their products. Gardein’s already tasty  is a company that’s been cooking up great meatless, vegan foods for sometime now.

meatless-meatball1

In our opinion, Gardein’s Classic Meatless Meatballs are the best vegan meatballs on the market. They have the texture and flavor of actual meatballs, with a wonderful fennel flavor (although they don’t contain fennel) that reminds me of my grandmother’s Sunday crowd favorite. Although heating up Gardein’s amazing meatballs and simply putting them in a vegan calzone, slicing them thin and using them as a vegan pizza topping or plopping them over your favorite pasta is absolutely acceptable and encouraged, we decided to bend the rules a bit and came up with Meatless Meatball Kebabs! These bad boys are easy, yummy and look great and can be used in a variety of ways. We decided to simply eat them as is with a little sauce doused atop.Although we used a grill pan, they also taste amazing cooked on a barbecue grill or charcoal pit! 

kebab1

 

Gardein Meatless Meatball Kebabs
Yields 4
A new twist on an old favorite! Great on the stovetop or the grill!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 4-6 prepared bamboo skewers
  2. Cherry tomatoes
  3. Pearl onions or 1 large onion chopped into 1 inch cubes
  4. Mini peppers. Ends cut off and seeds removed
  5. 1 bag of Gardein Meatless Meatballs
  6. Extra virgin olive oil
  7. Oregano
  8. Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
  9. Your favorite spaghetti sauce
Instructions
  1. Soak skewers before use according to packaging
  2. Thread skewers with cherry tomatoes, mini peppers, onions and at least 2 Gardein Meatless Meatballs until you run out of room
  3. Brush the skewered kebabs with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with oregano and freshly ground black pepper
  4. Heat up a grill (or grill pan) to medium and brush it with extra virgin olive oil
  5. When it’s good and hot, place the skewers in the grill pan making sure not to have them touch
  6. Cook the kebabs for about 20 minutes or until nicely charred, turning every 5 minutes
  7. When the kebabs are finished you can either serve them with your favorite spaghetti sauce over spaghetti, in a sandwich or simply on a plate!
The Food Duo http://thefoodduo.com/
gardein_frz_Ground_US_Sm-225x238

When it comes to Gardein’s The Ultimate Beefless Ground the possibilities are only limited to your imagination. Their ground has a very pleasing and hearty texture than can pass for meat any day of the week. You can also choose to use their gluten-free option which taste great as well. Their Beefless Ground are ideal for tacos, Sloppy Joe’s, Jamaican beefless patties, chili or for vegan Scotch eggs! We chose to make a very simple and very delicious Buffalo lettuce wraps which are proven crowd pleasers. Not only are they extremely easy and inexpensive to make, they’re good anytime of the year for any season. But they’re especially popular for Spring and Summer cookouts, so give ’em a try at your next Meetup or gathering. 

let          lettuce1

Gardein Beefless Ground Buffalo Wraps
Serves 2
A spicy, crisp, and yummy treat for everyone!
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Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 T of vegan butter/margarine
  2. 1 clove of garlic, minced
  3. 1 ½ C of your favorite hot sauce
  4. ½ tsp cumin
  5. ½ tsp onion powder
  6. 2 T white vinegar
  7. 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  8. ¼ of medium onion, chopped
  9. ¼ C defrosted peas
  10. 1 C Gardein Beefless Ground
  11. 5-6 romaine lettuce leaves
For Buffalo Sauce
  1. Heat up a skillet to medium heat
  2. Add butter and swirl it in the pan while it melts
  3. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute or until fragrant
  4. Add hot sauce, cumin, onion powder and white vinegar and cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally
  5. Set aside
For the Beefless Ground
  1. Heat up skillet to medium heat, then add the olive oil
  2. Toss in chopped onion and cook until tender (about 5 minutes)
  3. Stir in the peas and cook for about 1 minute
  4. Add the Gardein Beefless Ground and cook until nicely browned (about 10 minutes)
  5. Stir the Buffalo sauce and cook for about 2 minutes
  6. Pour prepared Beefless Ground into 1-2 bowls and serve place in lettuce leaves
  7. Scoop into leaves, fold, eat and enjoy!
The Food Duo http://thefoodduo.com/
And in keeping with our of experimenting with food, consider our recipes as only a guide. Feel free to experiment with our experiments. Whatever you decide to try, Gardein makes a great base for countless fun and easy meals that vegans and omnivores will both enjoy! 

To help you get started on your foodie scientific journey, Gardein’s offering our readers a way to save! Get a $1.00 off coupon today! Take it to the store and explore all that Gardein has to offer in delicious non-GMO, vegan goodness!

Already a Gardein fan? Tell us which product you love the most in the comments below!