Category Archives: Pasta Dishes

Spinach & Artichoke Mac 'n Cheese

Oh My Goodness Spinach & Artichoke Mac ‘n Cheese

Is it even possible to make homemade Mac-n-Cheese even better? We think so! Our second featured recipe this month is a great way to enjoy our new Marinated Artichoke Hearts while adding a delicious Mediterranean twist to classic comfort food! Makes a perfect side dish to your Easter Sunday or any night of the week! Not to mention, it’s O.M.G. kind of good!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6-8

¾ lb. elbow macaroni, cooked to package instructions
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
3 c. whole milk
2 c. Italian Blend shredded cheese, divided
2 c. white sharp cheddar, divided
3 Tbsp. Garlic & Parmesan Everything Spread
1 tsp. salt
Cracked black pepper
2 c. fresh baby spinach, packed
2 jars Jeff’s Naturals Marinated Artichoke Hearts, roughly chopped

¾ c. panko breadcrumbs mixed with 2 Tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven on broiler.

In a medium sauce pan, on medium high heat, add butter and flour, and stir until for 2-3 minutes while mixture bubbles. Slowly whisk in milk until fully incorporated. Whisk and cook mixture for about 7 minutes, until it thickens and bubbles.

Turn heat off; stir in Garlic Spread, 1 c. each cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour over cooked macaroni, stir in spinach,artichokes, and remaining shredded cheese.
Place into a baking dish and sprinkle panko topping on top. Place under broiler for a few minutes until breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Eat Healthy with the Incomparable Vegetarian Mamma!

Vegetarian cooking can sometimes be a daunting task to people trying it for the first time; “how can it be tasty without meat,” they ask. Well, Vegetarian Mamma has shown just how fun and easy-to-prepare vegetarian dishes can be. Through her website, blog, and cookbooks, Cindy Gordon provides a bounty of recipes and techniques that the whole family can enjoy.

Photo Source: Vegetarian Mamma
Photo Source: Vegetarian Mamma

We’re proud to say that many of these mouth-watering meals make use of our very own Jeff’s Naturals line of all-natural non-GMO products, such as this Mediterranean Rice Bowl recipe (seen above) and a Roasted Tomato Sauce Pasta (see below- yummy!!).


Trust us, you have to try these recipes for yourself.

All recipes featured on Vegetarian Mamma’s site are vegetarian, and the site offers giveaways of gluten-free, allergy-friendly products so you can test the delicious products she uses!

If you’re looking for a good place to pick up some vegetarian-friendly recipes, Vegetarian Mamma’s recipe page is of course the natural place to start. But why stop there? When you enter our 2017 Fresh Start Sweepstakes, you can win a copy of Vegetarian Mamma’s cookbook Gluten Free Fork!

Photo Source Vegetarian Mamma
Photo Source Vegetarian Mamma

Vegetarian Mamma strives to create an atmosphere of positivity and helpfulness to welcome anyone looking to improve their diet. She says it best herself:

This website is meant for everybody! If you are seeking information on recipes, products or just want to be part of a community, this site is for YOU! While we do share some humor within our posts, we try to keep it classy and supportive of all who visit. We try to stay encouraging and welcoming. While some recipes and products may not fit for some, they may be perfect fits for others. At Vegetarian Mamma, we are here to encourage one another and to keep things positive.  We are not here to try to dictate what you should and shouldn’t consume. You know your body, you know your beliefs and you can act upon them.

Cooking is, at its core about love, both for the food itself and the people you are cooking for. This guiding principal is clear in Vegetarian Mamma’s site, blog, book, and recipes. The amount of care and consideration, both for the meal itself and the eater, is palpable and most importantly tasted in the recipes she provides. Be sure to visit her website often for the latest and best in vegetarian recipes and giveaways!


Fresh From the Jeff’s Naturals Kitchen: Orzo Salad!

Jeff's Naturals KitchenOur fabulous Recipe & Development Chef, Peter Kirkpatrick, a.k.a. “Chef P.K.”  has been hard at work in the Jeff’s Naturals kitchen creating amazing dishes using our all-natural line of olives, peppers, capers and sun-dried tomatoes.

One of his recent creations, Orzo Salad With Artichoke Hearts & Kalamata Olives, absolutely knocked our socks off during one of our taste tests. (By the way, taste testing Chef’s P.K.’s dishes is our favorite kind of meeting. It’s hard work, but someone has to do it!)

Like many of Chef P.K.’s creations, this colorful dish has a very easy going California/Napa Valley/Mediterranean flavor to it that’s irresistible. It’s light, yet satisfying and can be made in less than 20 minutes and is a perfect side dish for potlucks or gatherings, tailgating, a picnic, a quick weeknight dinner (just add some diced grilled chicken) or lunch on-the-go!

Orzo is most commonly used in Italian and Greek cuisines and makes a delicious alternative to larger pasta which can sometimes be too heavy. You could get creative with this dish and add some Sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini, Sun-Ripened Dried Tomatoes and/or Imported Non-Pareil Capers for even more flavor. The possibilities are endless!

We hope you’ll enjoy this delicious dish. Be sure to check out all of our Mediterranean inspired recipes and serving suggestions in our growing Recipe Collection.

Recipe of the Month: Orzo Salad With Artichoke Hearts & Kalamata Olives

Prep Time: 10min | Total Time: 20min | Serves: 2-4


  • 1/2 pound orzo, cooked to package instructions
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 (14.5 Oz) jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained
  • 1 cup Jeff’s Naturals Organic Sliced Greek Kalamata Olives, drained
  • 1 pint Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


In a large mixing bowl, toss all ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy! Makes about 4 servings.

How to Prepare the Perfect Pasta Dish

Mama Mia! Since October is National Pasta Month, we wanted to give a salute to one of America’s favorite foods! In recent years, pasta has gotten a bad rap (think no carb diets) but we think that pasta dishes can actually be a healthy and filling meal, especially with some help from Jeff’s Naturals all natural line of olives, peppers, capers and sun ripened tomatoes.




What’s the secret to pasta perfection? It begins with cooking pasta itself. The National Pasta Association recommends the following steps to cook pasta perfectly every time:

1. Boil 4 to 6 quarts of water for one pound of dry pasta. (You can divide this recipe depending on how much pasta you are cooking.)

2. Add the pasta with a stir and return the water to a boil.

3. Stir the pasta occasionally during cooking.

4. Follow the package directions for cooking times. If the pasta is to be used as part of a dish that requires further cooking, undercook the pasta by 1/3 of the cooking time specified on the package.

5. Taste the pasta to determine if it is done. Perfectly cooked pasta should be “al dente,” or firm to the bite, yet cooked through.

6. Drain pasta immediately and follow the rest of the recipe.

Reheating Pasta

To reheat cooked pasta, portion out the amount you need and place in boiling water. For extra-easy draining, you can place the pasta in a stainless steel colander or strainer and then submerge in boiling water. Count 40 to 60 seconds of re-heating time for a four-ounce serving. Drain the pasta well, toss with sauce and serve immediately. Pasta can also be reheated in the microwave oven. Reheat single servings on high for 45 seconds at a time, checking between intervals for doneness.

To create the perfect pasta dish, you must also pair it with the right sauce. The National Pasta Association recommends pairing thin, delicate pastas (like angel hair or thin spaghetti)are better served with lighter, thin sauces. If it’s a heavier sauce you crave, it’s better to stick with thicker pasta shapes, like fettuccine. Pasta shapes with holes or ridges, like mostaccioli or radiatore, are perfect for chunkier sauces.

Now that you know the basics, grab a fork and dig into our newest pasta recipe using Jeff’s Naturals!

Jeff’s Naturals Mediterranean Pasta

Prep Time: 5 min.Total Time: 10 min.Serves: 4

3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced diagonally
1 cup Jeff’s Naturals Sun-Ripened Dried Tomatoes, drained, julienned
2 Tablespoons crushed garlic
1 pound angel hair pasta, fresh
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 jar (6.5 ounces) Artichoke Hearts, drained
1/2 cup Jeff’s Naturals Organic Sliced Greek Kalamata Olives, drained
6 ounce crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste

Boil water for pasta. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken strips until no longer pink in the middle, about 3 minutes on each side. Add sun dried tomatoes and crushed garlic to skillet. Sauté for 2 minutes. In the meantime, add the fresh pasta to the boiling water, cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.

Add the basil, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives and crumbled feta cheese to the skillet. Sauté 1 minute. Stir in cream. Strain pasta and transfer to a large pasta bowl. Add the chicken sauté to the pasta and toss.

Season with oregano, salt and pepper before serving.

Visit National Pasta Association to see these and other great pasta cooking tips!

National Pasta Month

Celebrate National Pasta Month

Did you know that October is National Pasta Month?  Since Jeff’s Naturals Mediterranean products and pasta go together like spaghetti and meatballs, we thought it would be fun to honor this beloved traditional Italian cuisine by sharing some fun facts about pasta along with some of our favorite recipes.

Pasta Month
Source: National Pasta Association 

  • The first industrial pasta factory in America was built in Brooklyn in 1848 by a Frenchman, who spread his spaghetti strands on the roof to dry in the sunshine.
  • Pasta can be traced as far back as the fourth century B.C., where an Etruscan tomb showed a group of natives making what appears to be pasta.
  • There are more than 600 pasta shapes produced worldwide.
  • To cook one billion pounds of pasta, you would need 2,021,452,000 gallons of water – enough to fill nearly 75,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.
  • It was not until the 1700’s until tomato sauce was included with spaghetti in Italian kitchens.
  • The Chinese were making a noodle-like food as early as 3000 B.C. Legend has it that Marco Polo introduced pasta to Italy following his exploration of the Far East in the late 13th century.
  • The most popular pasta shapes in the U.S. are Spaghetti, thin spaghetti, Elbows, Rotelle, Penne, Lasagna
  • Thomas Jefferson is credited with bringing the first “macaroni” machine to America in 1789 when he returned home after serving as ambassador to France.
  • The average person in Italy eats more than 51 pounds of pasta every year. The average person in North America eats about 15-1/2 pounds of pasta per year.

Pasta Recipes


1- 16 oz. package of dried rotelle pasta
8 oz. Jeff’s Naturals sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini, drained & chopped
8 oz. Jeff’s Naturals Organic Sliced Greek Kalamata Olives, drained
8 oz. Jeff’s Naturals Sun-Ripened Dried Tomatoes, not drained
8 oz. Jeff’s Naturals Roasted Bell Pepper Strips, chopped
2 Jars (4 oz) marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper

Boil Pasta according to the directions on the package. Rinse under cold water and drain thoroughly. Add pasta to a medium sized bowl along with the remaining ingredients. Blend together. The pasta salad may be served immediately or stored covered in the refrigerator for the following day. Enjoy!pic_Pasta-Nicoise
A refreshing dish made with Jeff’s Naturals™ Pitted Greek Kalamata Olives, Jeff’s Naturals™ Imported Non-Pareil Capers, tuna and rotini (corkscrew pasta). Click Here for the Recipe

Capers and red wine bring out the natural flavors of tomatoes and artichoke hearts and herbs in this classic Mediterranean recipe. Click Here For the Recipe 
Roasted Lemon Cauliflower Pasta
A refreshing dish created by food blogger, Vegetarian Mama. This recipe combines gluten free pasta, cauliflower, lemon, Parmesan cheese and Jeff’s Naturals™ Imported Non-Pareil CapersClick Here for the Recipe.