Friday, September 4, 2009

Whole Wheat Pasta with Fresh Tomato, Fennel and Sweet Italian Seitan Sausage

When I haven’t planned dinner I frequently make pasta because it is something I had done hundreds if not thousands of times in my life. Quick sauces are very useful when you are short on time. I prefer my fennel completely cooked which is why this went into the pot early. The fresh spinach was included at the end for added nutrition. The raw yellow tomatoes were added for fresh texture and their color.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Fresh Tomato, Fennel and Sweet Italian Seitan Sausage
Serves 5


13.25 ounce box of Barilla whole grain rotini
½ tablespoon of canola oil
1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
8 cups of fresh tomatoes, diced
2 sweet Italian seitan sausages, sliced thinly
8 cups of baby spinach, cleaned and torn in half
3 cups of yellow tomato, diced


Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Begin checking the pasta for tenderness two minutes before the package indicates it will be ready. You want to remove the pasta when it is almost cooked and finish it in the sauce so that it absorbs the flavors of the sauce.

While the pasta is cooking make the sauce. Sauté the onion, fennel, garlic, fennel, red pepper, kosher salt and black pepper in the canola oil. Continue cooking, stirring every minute or so, until the onion is soft. Add the fresh tomatoes and seitan sauces and cook to heat through.

When the pasta is ready add it to the sauce and toss to combine. After a minute or two turn off the heat and add the raw spinach and toss it with the pasta. Serve immediately and top with the raw yellow tomatoes.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 501.54
Calories From Fat (9%) - 46.84

Total Fat - 5.38g
Saturated Fat - 0.31g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 629.35mg
Potassium - 1444.11mg
Total Carbohydrates - 92.05g
Fiber - 17.47g
Sugar - 12.11g
Protein - 28.29g


This is one of those quick dinners that I rely on when I haven’t planned or spent the day the cooking. The sauce came together while the pasta was cooking. The flavors of this dish are classically southern Italian.


  1. The colors in this dish are so vibrant and beautiful. I feel like I'm getting vitamins by just looking at it.

  2. Rose,

    Thanks! I do try to get as much nutrition into every dish as I can. My husband told me it was just as good as what I used to make with pork sausage.


  3. i was going to ask you about fennel, its the veg that looks kinda like an onion on the bottom and then stalks like a fern? do you ever eat the stalk part? i read that you could. you have done that before, made something that i had been thinking of trying! which is really weird, i had been thinking about fennel just yesterday!

  4. Michelle,

    Yes, fennel is the light green vegetable with the feathery top. You can eat the stalk if it is tender. Be certain to slice it thinly. I normally save my fennel stalks for vegetable stock. I also save some the feather tops and use those to garnish the dish. In Italy fennel is used as we would use celery. When raw fennel has a pronounced licorice taste. It has a much more mellow character when cooked. Many Italians like to eat raw fennel thinly sliced that they dip in olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

    If you have any other questions please ask.



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