Baking & cooking with an enthusiastic amateur

Fennel Faux Meatballs

These look just like real meatballs, perfect on top of pasta!

When I cook something for a friend and I receive an inquiry as to whether the recipe is available on my blog, I know I’m doing a good job!

In this particular instance, my girlfriend was over for dinner. She’s a vegetarian, and in addition to the usual quesadilla and cheese pizza options, I’ve exhausted a few more creative ideas for meat-free main dishes. I hadn’t yet delved much into the realm of fake meats, cooking for her or for others, so I took a look at my options last week at Whole Foods. A lot of fake meats are on the expensive side, often as much as $8/pound. I did find a tube of “Gimme Lean Sausage Style”, a product I hadn’t tried before but sounded tasty – and was much closer to the $3/pound end of things!

With one egg, some breadcrumbs, a little onion, a little garlic, and fennel, Gimme Lean turned into a fantastic meatball! My girlfriend was thrilled; she told me she hadn’t had pasta & meatballs in ages and she loved my take on it! I was utterly flattered, especially when she asked if it’d be up on my blog. I hadn’t taken pictures the first time, but upon request, of course I had to make the meatballs again so that I could post the recipe for her!

This recipe makes twelve small meatballs, which is enough to feed two or three people when served over pasta. This time when I made these, opted to toss our pasta with a bit of olive oil, fresh basil, quartered grape tomatoes (from my mini-CSA), and a bit of salt. Regular old pasta sauce would work quite well too though, especially if you’re looking for a more traditional pasta & meatballs experience.

Paired with fresh vegetables, faux meatballs are a lighter alternative to many pasta & meat dishes.

Fennel Faux Meatballs
1/2 package of Gimme Lean Sausage Style (7 ounces)
1 egg, beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 onion, diced
1 tablespoon Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil in a medium bowl. Mix together with your (clean!) hands until thoroughly combined. Roll into small balls.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning every few minutes to get crispy on all sides. Serve warm over pasta.

Makes 12 faux meatballs.
Cost per meatball: $0.20
Nutrition per meatball: 38 calories 1.5g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 3g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 2.5g protein

On Tweaking:

  • I haven’t tried this with other faux meats, but if you can’t find Gimme Lean Sausage Style, I’d recommend trying a similar product! The recipe should work just fine with any sort of fake ground meat.
  • Don’t have fennel? DESPAIR. Well, despair isn’t quite necessary, but that is sad! Still, you could make these with 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning in place of fennel. It won’t have the same sausage-y flavor that the fennel lends these, but it should still be tasty!

Regardless of the weather, the quick cooking time for faux meatballs is a welcome convenience, and their flavor is suitable for any season!

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This entry was posted on July 23, 2012 by in Dinners, Everything Vegetarian, Meat-Free, Vegetarian Main Courses and tagged .
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