Hipsterfood highlighted the fragrant fennel in this veganized homage to fettucine alfredo.

Fennel & black pepper cream sauce

  1. Chop the fennel bulb into a small dice.
  2. Put a tablespoon of coconut oil into a large sauté pan on high heat. Toss in the fennel and let it sear for a minute, then turn the heat to medium-low. Squeeze in about a tablespoon of the grapefruit and let the fennel brown & cook down for about five minutes, stirring every so often so that it doesn’t burn.
  3. Remove about 1/3 of the cooked fennel and set aside. Pour the coconut milk into the pan with the fennel, stirring to remove any coconut clumps, then also add in 3 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 heaping tablespoon cornmeal, a pinch of fine salt, and about 2 teaspoons of freshly cracked pepper.
  4. Stir everything together, turn the heat to as low as possible, and let it heat until everything else is ready, stirring occasionally. If it isn’t thickening up, add in cornmeal 1 teaspoon at a time until it thickens into a cream sauce.

Lentil “meat”balls

  1. Cook the lentils until tender, about 10 minutes on medium-high heat.
  2. Strain and pour into a mixing bowl with the reserved cooked fennel, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, two heaping pinches minced fresh fennel leaves, 5 tablespoons cornmeal, and salt and pepper.
  3. Using a potato masher, mash everything together until the lentils are broken down and everything is combined. Form them into golf ball-sized pieces. Keep adding in corn meal, one teaspoon at a time, if they’re not sticking together.
  4. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of coconut oil, letting it get very hot. Add in a few meatballs at a time, turning them as they brown on each side. Let them cook until all crispy on the outside.

Cook the linguine until tender, then serve with the sauce and meatballs. Enjoy!

We had the great opportunity to participate in the MasterChef Tumblr At-Home Mystery Box Challenge. (It’s kind of like we’re on TV with Gordon Ramsay…except not really, haha.) They sent us this box of ~secret ingredients~ and we had to come up with something using only those ingredients, cooking oil, and salt & pepper.

It was quite the challenge not using any outside herbs & spices, but this ended up being so much tastier than I could’ve imagined when I first opened the box! It’s like my mom’s fettucine alfredo, but vegan & filled with fragrant citrus-braised fennel…dreamy!

Whenever I talk to the veg-curious, two of the most common questions are “What do you eat?” and, for the more-serious, “So, how does it work?” meaning, how do you navigate a grocery store, memorize all the non-vegan ingredients, learn how to read nutritional labels, and how do you keep it nutritionally sound? It sounds like a massive task, but once you start and are at least kind of serious about it, it shortly becomes second nature. Read on for pantry-building tips & a run-down of our own shopping list, so that you can get a better idea of how we do it!