Fennel is a food I hadn’t explored until recently. I always put it in the same category as leeks, artichokes and other obscure produce aisle dwellers – the “unapproachable ones.” But during my time in Los Angeles, a friend introduced me to this funky root vegetable that tastes exactly like licorice (thanks, Sylvia!).
Now, I know some people have a strong aversion licorice. I don’t necessarily like it, but I also don’t mind it. But fennel, I absolutely love. It’s earthy and aromatic. And I really enjoy that the entire plant is edible: The bulb tastes like perfection when cut into wedges, drizzled with olive oil and roasted. The stalks are delicious sliced and sautéed in a stir-fry. Even the fuzzy fronds are full of flavor and can be used as salad garnish. From root to stem, fennel has become a favorite veggie in my home kitchen.
Aside from it tasting pretty good, what the heck is so great about fennel? I’m so glad you asked. Fennel originated in the Mediterranean region and has long been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. On the health front, benefits of fennel include relief from anemia, indigestion, constipation, colic, diarrhea, respiratory disorders and menstrual disorders. It’s also used in mouthwash and toothpaste for its breath freshening benefits, as well as in desserts and antacids.
If you’ve ever been to an Indian restaurant, you may have noticed a bowl of fennel seeds near the door for people to take on their way out. That’s because of their gas and bloat-busting super powers! So, if you ever eat a spicy or rich meal and want to curb any unpleasant digestive issues, eat a pinch of fennel seeds following your meal. It really works.
Now, onto the good stuff: fennel recipes! Here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy the unique flavor and health benefits of what’s sure to become one of your new favorite foods.
Haricots Verts, Roasted Fennel and Shallots
Author: Well Vegan
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 2 large fresh fennel bulbs, trimmed
- 3/4 lbs. shallots, peeled, halved through root end
- 5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 lb. haricots verts or small slender green beans, trimmed
Click here to get the full recipe and instructions from us, Well Vegan.
Citrus Fennel and Avocado Salad
Author: Foodie Crush
- 3 navel oranges
- 3 cara cara oranges
- 2 minneola oranges
- 3 mandarin oranges
- 1 blood orange
- ½ fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
- ½ shallot, peeled and very thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. honey (swap with agave to make it vegan)
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- ¼ cup mint leaves
- Reserved fennel fronds
Click here to get the full recipe and instructions from Foodie Crush.
Caramelized Onion and Fennel Risotto
Author: The New York Times
- 1 small bulb fennel, sliced thin
- 1 medium onion, sliced thin
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. butter, divided (use Earth Balance to make it vegan)
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- ¼ tsp. sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1½ cups dry white wine
- 2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves, minced
- Handful of fresh parsley, minced
- 4 cups vegetable broth, heated
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese (omit Parmesan to make it vegan)
Click here to get the full recipe and instructions from the New York Times.