Fennel has long been one of my favorite vegetables because of its versatility. I love its raw crunch in salads, and adore it roasted. I also appreciate that its peak season is late fall to early spring, so it covers the winter months with a welcome alternative to root veggies that can get a tad boring.
Fool a Carnivore contains several fennel recipes, and I have created many, many more that I haven’t taken the time to formally commit to paper. (Shame on me, right?!)
I made a tasty new pasta dish a couple of days ago using fennel from the farmers market and Tofurky Spinach Pesto Artisan Sausages. I added sliced organic grape tomatoes for color, and chopped organic baby spinach to echo the spinach taste in the sausages. It was so good, I knew I needed to memorialize quickly before it drifted into distant memory – which is where way too many of my great recipes end up!
Each Tofurky Spinach Pesto Artisan Sausage contains a whopping 29 grams of protein. Since I thinly slice the sausages for this dish and estimate that the recipe will serve six to eight people, the actual amount of protein you’ll be getting from the sausage pieces in one serving will be between 15 to 20 grams of protein (depending on how generously you serve yourself). And keep in mind that a 1-pound box of De Cecco Orecchiette – no. 91 (my preferred brand) has 56 grams of protein, so you’ll be getting another 7 to 9 grams of protein, depending on the size of your serving. With many vegan dinner recipes clocking in at a lot less protein, I think this pasta dish with satisfy, and give you the healthy plant-based protein your body needs.
Of course, if you’re not eating vegan, you can always gild the lily by topping the pasta with some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, crumbled Feta, or even goat cheese, which will boost your protein intake even further.
Please try this easy vegan pasta dish. It is quick to prepare and high in protein to boot! It has enough different flavors going on that it may change your mind about automatically reaching for cheese to top your bowl of pasta!
- 1 large bulb fennel, trimmed, cored, and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided use)
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 small red onion or ½ large red onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- ½ pint organic grape tomatoes, cut pole to pole
- 14-ounce package Tofurky Spinach Pesto Artisan Sausages, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons Pernod
- 2 tablespoons vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 lb. box De Cecco Orecchiette no. 91
- 1-2 cups chopped organic baby spinach
- 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh fennel
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil. Toss the fennel with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Spread the fennel in a single layer on the foil lined baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool.
- As soon as the fennel goes in the oven, put a large covered pot of water on to boil, and prep the remaining ingredients.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the minced red onion over low heat for about 6-7 minutes until translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the sliced tomatoes and cook for another minute.
- Add the sliced sausage pieces, and sauté for a minute or two. Add the white wine and optional Pernod and cook until evaporated. Add the stock and fennel seeds. (If you don’t have Pernod, just add a little more white wine or stock.)
- While the fennel is about 10 minutes away from being done, add salt to the pot of water, and make sure it is at a rolling boil. Cook the orecchiette for 9-11 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, and drain the orecchiette into a colander.
- Add the cooked orecchiette, baby spinach, parsley, and fennel. Add some of the starchy pasta water, taste for salt and pepper, and adjust the seasonings. Serve in warmed pasta bowls.
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