Pasta with Sausage and Fennel Fronds

Have you ever tried fennel fronds?

There are a zillion recipes out there using fennel bulbs, but very few that use the stalks and fennel fronds.

But they ARE edible. Even delicious!

They have that anise flavor, but are significantly less pungent than the bulb. And just like the bulb, that licorice-y taste diminishes as you cook it. Since the fronds especially are so thin and delicate, they are perfect after just a slight saute.

So here we go. A recipe using fennel fonds 🙂

You can just rip the fronds off the stalks of fennel from the store, OR if you are lucky enough to live in California and are feeling adventurous, there is plenty of wild fennel around, just ripe for the picking.

Case in point: Wild fennel seen during a hike in Livermore.

Wild Fennel in Livermore, CA

Please note: Wild fennel is different than the kind you get in the store. There is no bulb! So don’t try to dig it up (I learned this the hard way…). Just pluck off the fennel fronds and be on your merry way. Just be sure to wash them very very well before you use them!

This is a really simple recipe. Follow the picture steps and see the full recipe and health tip below!

First, pluck off all the fennel fronds from 2 large fennel stalks or gather a bunch from the wild:

Fennel Fronds and Bulbs

Then chop them all up.

Chopped and washed fennel fronds

Next, prep the sausage. Slit them down the center with a sharp knife to cut through the casing:

Slicing Hot Italian Sausage

Then remove the casing and crumble into your pan (the smaller the better so you don’t have to do as much breaking up with your spatula while cooking).

Removing Casing from Italian Sausage

After browning, add the garlic and fennel fronds.

Sausage with Garlic and Fennel Fronds

Then cook for a couple minutes.

Cooked Sausage with Garlic and Fennel Fronds

Then add the pasta, some pasta water to create a sauce, and some yummy cheese. Season with pepper and enjoy!

pasta with sausage and fennel fronds

Health Tip: The compound in fennel responsible for that classic licorice flavor is called anethole. A study conducted out of the University of Texas in the year 2000 showed that anethole is able to block many TNF (tumor necrosis factor) cellular pathways that can increase inflammation. Anethole has been suggested to work as an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compound. (source here)

Pasta with Sausage and Fennel Fronds
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Author: Erica Julson
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or safflower oil for low salicylates)
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage, crumbled
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup finely chopped fennel fronds
  • 1 lb bowtie pasta
  • 1/4 cup pasta cooking water
  • 3/4 cup finely grated parmesan-romano cheese blend
  • ground pepper to taste (omit if salicylate sensitive)
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the olive oil and sausage to a large nonstick skillet. Heat over medium-high heat and cook for 8-10 minutes until browned. Take care to break up the sausage into small pieces with your spatula.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling water according to package directions, usually about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and fennel fronds to the sausage and cook for 3-5 minutes more until garlic is fragrant. Then reduce the heat to low.  

  5. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water and drain the rest of the pasta.

  6. Add the cooking water and pasta to the skillet and stir to combine. Sprinkle on the cheese and toss again to combine. 

  7. Season with pepper and serve (with additional cheese if desired).

 

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Pasta with Sausage and Fennel Fronds

Pasta with No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Pasta with No-Cook Tomato Sauce

pasta with raw tomato sauce | ericajulson.com

When was the last time you enjoyed a garden fresh summer tomato?

Not the mealy, pale, flavorless grocery store tomatoes, but a juicy, vibrant, dribble down your chin, REAL tomato?

Cause that’s what this recipe is all about. TOMATO TOMATO TOMATO!

It uses 3 delectable types:

  • fresh tomatoes
  • sundried tomatoes
  • tomato paste

These 3 ingredients marry into a rich, tangy sauce that you’ll go gaga over.

And even better? There’s no cooking required! Yep, this entire pasta sauce is made in a blender. Perfect for hot summer nights.

Serve it with a simple side salad & maybe some herbed garlic bread, and you’ve got Italy right in your living room 😉 So get your butt to the farmers market for some fresh tomatoes & try this recipe!

pasta with no-cook tomato sauce | ericajulson.com

Pasta with No-Cook Tomato Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb torchiette or other tubular or spiral pasta
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, drained
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & ground black pepper, to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese or fresh ricotta, for serving
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, add the fresh tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, garlic, olive oil, and a liberal sprinkle of salt and pepper to a blender. Cover & blend for 1 minute, or until smooth. If sauce is too thick, add more olive oil to thin. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

  3. When pasta is done cooking, drain, return to pot, and toss with pasta sauce. Serve immediately, with your choice of cheese on top.
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Energy-Boosting Superfood Smoothie Bowls

Smoothie Bowl Edit

smoothiebowl2

Smoothie bowls are ALL the rage lately! #smoothiebowl has over 127,000 photos on Instagram, and #acaibowl has almost 200,000!

They can be whipped up in just a few minutes, and are refreshing and satisfying on a hot summer morning. I personally love them after a good morning sweat session. You can feel the nourishing power spreading throughout your whole body!

What is a smoothie bowl?

It’s basically an extra thick smoothie, poured into a bowl and topped with all your favorite mix-ins. You eat it with a spoon, so it’s super satisfying and feels more like a meal than your typical smoothie-in-a-glass.

Making the smoothie:

Simply whip up a thicker version of your favorite smoothie! There are a few ways to easily thicken it up:

– add a bunch of ice cubes

– use frozen fruit and/or bananas

– add a little less liquid than usual

– add protein powder or yogurt to bump up the creaminess

 

Some of my favorite smoothie combos are:

– frozen strawberries, banana, orange juice, and ice

– frozen mango, frozen blueberries, banana, yogurt, spinach, and milk

– pineapple, kiwi, cucumber, kale, avocado, and water

 

Topping with superfoods:

My favorite part about smoothie bowls is topping it with a bajillion yummy goodies.

The toppings are where you can really bump up the nutrient power of your smoothie and take things to a whole nother level.

Here are some the best options:

– Fresh sliced fruit or berries: Yes, I know, you already put fruit in your smoothie, but having solid bites of banana, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries etc. really makes the smoothie bowl special. It feels much more like a meal, and the fresh fruit only highlights the original flavors of the smoothie.

Seeds: Try ground flax seed to add plant-based omega-3’s, hemp hearts for a yummy nutty flavor and vegetarian complete protein, or chia seeds for omega-3’s and extra fiber.

Nuts: I love crushed walnuts in my smoothie bowls, but macadamia nuts, slivered almonds, or toasted pecans also add a great crunch. Plus, by adding healthy fats to your smoothie, your body will absorb more of the fat-soluble nutrients like carotenes from fruits and veggies and vitamin K from leafy greens.

Bee pollen: You can purchase local bee pollen from farms in your area. These little tiny yellow, orange, and purple colored balls of pollen and bee secretions are rich in protein, carbs, and antioxidants, and are a great smoothie bowl addition. Bee pollen may have anti-allergenic, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory effects. Please be aware that allergic reactions to bee pollen ingestion have been reported, so be careful if you are highly sensitive! Also talk to your doctor about possible medication interactions, as an interaction with warfarin has been suspected.

Matcha: Matcha is powdered green tea leaves. It a beautiful vibrant green color, and adds a powerful hit of polyphenols, other antioxidants, and caffeine. Bonus! Green tea extract may lower blood glucose levels in those who are borderline diabetic. Awesome!

– Goji berries: Goji berries are the new dried-fruit favorite. They’re absolutely delicious, and pack a potent antioxidant punch. Taking goji berries has even been shown to boost the effectiveness of the flu vaccine in chinese men! Again, if you have a history of food allergies, be careful when trying goji berries, as allergic reactions have been reported.

– Maca root powder: Maca is a root vegetable in the cruciferous family, and like all cruciferous veggies, contains glucosinolates, which have powerful anti-cancer effects. Traditional cultures tout its energizing and aphrodisiac effects 😉 Maca can have a strong flavor, so try it out and see what you think!

Cacao: If you want to add a chocolate punch to your smoothie, sprinkle it with cacao powder or cacao nibs. It’s filled with antioxidants to keep your body running at its prime, and tastes divinely decadent.You get the rich taste of dark chocolate without the added sugar. Yum!

– Muesli: This simple blend of rolled oats and dried fruit is a healthier alternative to granola. It has all the same yummy staple ingredients, but no added sugars. It adds bulk and fiber to your smoothie, keeping you fuller much longer.

If smoothie bowls sound exciting, but you’re pressed for time in the morning, I recommend creating smoothie packs in your freezer. Place 1 banana, some fresh or frozen berries, and greens, like spinach or kale, into a freezer bag. Freeze a few bags worth over the weekend, then just dump the contents in your blender in the morning, add a few ice cubes and some liquid, and you have an instant smoothie with almost no clean up. You can even make them in mason jars or tupperware and take them on the go if you’re short on time. Smoothie bowls are really the best!

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