Baking & cooking with an enthusiastic amateur
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.
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