Sausage Pizza Roll-Ups – Vegetarian or Vegan or Not!

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.





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So – the badass Miles Miller was in town for Christmas.   Those of you that know him and my regular readers know that he lives almost exclusively on meat.  I eat none.   So, meals can be tricky.  But these roll-ups proved to be a perfect compromise.  He made his with real sausage & I used vegan ones.  Problem solved.

These are really easy & be customized to suit almost all tastes.  Vegan?  Use vegan cheese.  Want some veggies?  Add chopped spinach – like the filling I used in my Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells (Vegan – Vegetarian – Or Not).


You could add anything, really.  Just saute your selections with whatever sausage you are using.  I used a homemade pasta sauce and I have posted lots of recipes in the past for sauce.  HERE is a 5 minute arrabiata (spicy red sauce) and HERE is a marinara.  You can make a sauce or use your favorite brand.

I used homemade pizza dough – from this recipe HERE.  You can use that (I use it the same day despite the instructions) or make another kind or use a store bought variety.

This post is really just a guide rather than a recipe.  The ingredients are up to you as is the quantity you use – of sausage or cheese or sauce.  Whatever you decide to do – I can promise these will be crowd pleasers.



Sausage Pizza Roll-Ups – Vegetarian or Vegan or Not!

Two of these little roll-ups will typically feed one person.  One recipe here can be cut up to make 6-7 roll-ups.


Pizza dough

2 sausages – (vegan or not) – sliced

1 pinch fennel

1 tsp dry oregano

1 TBS crushed red pepper (optional)

2 garlic cloves – minced

Red sauce

Grated cheese (I used a Mexican mix) – (vegan or not)

Mozzarella – sliced – (vegan or not)

Fresh basil

Olive oil

Cooking spray

Flour to roll the dough out on













Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Saute the sliced up sausages.  If using vegan ones – you will need olive oil to keep them from sticking.  If using real sausage – adding spices might not be necessary but I think they REALLY help the vegan sausage.   If you care to – add the fennel & oregano & crushed red pepper.  Once the sausage is browned & ready to go – add the garlic & saute another minute but be VERY careful not to burn the garlic.  Burned garlic is bitter.

Roll out your dough on a floured surface.  Roll it pretty thin.  Top with sauce (reserving some sauce to serve with the roll-ups) & sausage & grated cheese.  Roll up & slice.

Place the roll-ups in a pie pan (or other pan) treated with cooking spray.  I then sprayed the rolls themselves to aid in browning them.  Add some grated cheese.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until they just begin to brown.






Warm the extra red sauce on the stove.

Take the roll-ups out & top with mozzarella & cook another 10 minutes or so or until the cheese is properly melted.

Serve with warmed red sauce & chopped fresh basil.  Bust out the bag of wine & get down to the serious business of chowing the fuck down.




Pasta Roses: Ham & Fontina and Zucchini, Mozzarella & Basil with a Spicy Pink Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.


All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.


Well now – here is an embarrassing blog post: I am posting two recipes here WITHOUT any photographs of the final results.  (Update!  I made these a second time in 24 hours & have result photos to share.  They will follow at the end of the original post.)  This happened because I had a dinner party yesterday & by the time these guys came out of the oven – I was more interested in serving them & eating them that I was in photographing them.  Let me assure you – there were no visual surprises when they came out of the oven so do not be afraid to try these.  They are easy & delicious!!!!  They are an interesting alternative to tradition lasagna.  My sauce was made with the produce I had handy – which included a leek & both a red & yellow pepper.  You need not use two colors of pepper nor a leek.  Onions alone would do as would just a single red bell pepper.  I am going to list quantities here but they are really approximates.  When making dishes like this that require layers of assembly, I always err on the side of making or buying more of each ingredient than the recipe calls for.  That way, you do not run out of sauce or cheese or whatever midway through putting it all together.  This made about a dozen of each of the two rose varieties.  And – as a brilliant coincidence – I served my guests pasta roses & after they left – my awesome stud of a boyfriend, Miles, presented me with these roses!  At like – 11pm.  It was a total surprise.  Isn’t he great?



Pasta Roses: Ham & Fontina and Zucchini, Mozzarella & Basil with a Spicy Pink Sauce


Approximately 1.5 lbs lasagna noodles (I cooked two boxes but threw a lot away)

For the sauce

1/2 onion – diced

1 bell pepper – diced

1 leek – diced

6 garlic cloves – minced

1-2 TBS olive oil

2 (29 oz) cans of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes

2 TBS crushed red pepper

2 TBS fresh basil – chopped

1 cup heavy cream

S&P to taste

For the ham & fontina roses

Approximately 1/2 lb sliced ham

1/2 lb sliced fontina

For the zucchini, mozzarella & basil roses

1-2 large zucchini – sliced into rounds

12-16 oz fresh mozzarella – sliced

1 large bunch basil



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the lasagna noodles.  About 2-3 minutes before they are done – add the zucchini rounds to the water.  I cooked mine for 5 minutes – which was too long.  Then – rinse the noodles & zucchini under cold water.  Then set the zucchini aside & lay the noodles out to dry.


For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a stock pot & saute the onion, bell pepper, leek (or additional onion) & crushed red pepper for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Add the garlic & basil & stir for another minute or so.  Add the canned tomato sauce & simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes.  Stir in the heavy cream.  I used an immersion blender here & pureed the sauce into a smooth & creamy texture.  You can do this in a blender or skip this step & leave the sauce with the vegetable texture.  Set aside.


To assemble the roses, layer a casserole pan with the sauce.  I needed two casserole pans to fit all my roses.  Roll the ham & fontina in some of your lasagna noodles.  No need to roll them tightly.  A nice loose roll is good.  Stand the roses up in the pan.


I cut the ribbon edge off one side of the lasagna noodles on the ham rolls so I could identify which roses had meat in them & which did not.


Roll up some zucchini, mozzarella & basil in the other lasagna noodles.


I had a little extra zucchini & mozzarella left over so I just stuck in in where I could fit it – once my casserole dishes were filled to capacity with roses.


I then slathered lots of sauce on top of both casseroles.  You might want to go lighter than I did & leave the edges of the lasagna noodles uncovered.  That way they will brown & curl a bit & create the rose effect you want.


Bake for 20-30 minutes – or until the top of the noodles are golden.  Again – apologies for the lack of final result images!!!  Serve with additional sauce if you have more left over.

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UPDATE at 3:00pm!

I made these again so I could show you results.  This time – I used oven-ready lasagna noodles soaked in warm water until they were pliable.  I cut them in half to make smaller roses.

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I made the ham & fontina again and the zucchini, mozzarella & basil again.  I added some amazing garlic sauce that I bought at Super King to the veggie ones but I might not in the future.  It made them too wet & sort of limp in the end.

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Here is the assembly of the two versions.

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I’ve read that slicing an X into the tops of the roses will allow the lasagna noodle to curl outward as they cook – creating a better blooming effect for your roses.  I neglected to do this.  Just cut about a 1/2 inch down into the tops & you should get a good curl.

I baked them in about 1/4-1/2 inch of the spicy pink sauce at 350 for about 20 minutes.  I then took them from the oven & added a tad more sauce & some grated Parmesan to the roses.

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Ten minutes later – they looked like this.

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And they serve up looking like this!  Whew!  What a relief!  I felt like such a fraud!


Pretty, right?  And yummy!

Caprese Lasagna Rolls


All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.


All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.


I WROTE A NOVEL!  Please read it!  🙂

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Pardon me for revisiting this concept so soon after my Cheesy Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna Rolls but this dish is so simple & such a sure-fire crowd pleaser – I just had to go back to the well.  I had dinner guests last night – most of whom I have never fed before – so I was unaware of any food objections they might have (high on the list of “controversial” foods are: eggplant, beets, mushrooms, seafood, spicy things, garlic, peas).   So – I decided to make something I thought nobody could object to – these caprese rolls.  Of course, tomatoes are often cited by wary diners as something to avoid but – everyone likes lasagna – right?  So I risked it.  I liked these better than the previous effort & found them far prettier.   They were a huge hit – even with the teenager in attendance so – I hope you give them a go!


Caprese Lasagna Rolls (this makes about 16)

For the marinara

1-2 TBS olive oil

2 (28 oz) cans of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

1 small onion – finely diced

3 cloves garlic – minced

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

S&P to taste

For the caprese lasagna rolls

1 lb lasagna noodles

2 cups ricotta

2 eggs

5-6 Roma tomatoes – sliced VERY thin

2/3 cup grated Parmesan

1 lb grated low moisture (packaged) mozzarella (or blend)


1 cup fresh basil – cut into ribbons


Heat the oven to 350

For the marinara

Heat the olive oil & saute the onions until translucent.  Add the garlic & stir for about a minute.  Add the other ingredients & simmer 30 minutes or so.  Adjust S&P.  Set aside.


For the caprese lasagna rolls

Cook the lasagna as directed & when they are just done, drain them & rinse them under cold water.

In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, eggs, Parmesan and most of the grated mozzarella.  Reserve some cheese to top the rolls.


Cut your basil into ribbons like these tutorials show or by rolling several leaves at a time into long rolls & then slicing them up.

Assemble to rolls by putting some of the cheese on each piece of lasagna, adding some tomato & basil & gently roll without applying any pressure so that the contents do not squeeze out.


Put a thin layer of marinara in a baking dish & place the rolls, seam side down, in the pan.  Top with enough sauce to cover each roll (so they do not dry out) & top with extra cheese.




Cover tightly with foil (or they will dry out) and bake for about 30 minutes.  Serve with additional sauce & basil.

I cut into one to show you the melty goodness!  MANGIARE!



Eggy-Weggy Breakfast Pizza Roll-Up or Wrap

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

I’m not a big breakfast food person but sometimes, especially during the holidays, I like an excuse to crack a bottle of champagne too early & swill it down with some brunch fare.  I will not post a formal recipe with this one because it is endlessly customizable.  The nice thing about this pizza wrap over other wraps is that the pizza crust gets crispy & holds its shape where tortillas and such would not.  It sliced up easily & held together nicely & each slice could be eaten cookie-style.  Fill this with whatever you might put in an omelette – vegetables, cheeses, meats – your call.  I used a ball of PIZZA DOUGH about the size of a pool ball & rolled it out pretty thin.


I sauteed some veggie sausage in olive oil with garlic.



I scrambled two eggs & added some of the veggie sausage & grated mozzarella & cheddar.



I left it a tad undercooked because the eggs would cook further in the oven.

I put the eggs, more cheese & some pico de gallo onto the rolled out pizza dough.


I rolled that bad boy up (it tore a bit but that isn’t an issue) – and put it on a greased cooking sheet.



I baked this at about 450 for about 10 minutes.


The split in the back leaked only a tiny bit.


I sliced it up & ate it up.  With champagne, of course!  Try it!  These are fun!