Fennel doesn’t get the credit it deserves. This tasty vegetable grows quite easily. You might pick up the fresh, citrus-anise scent outside from wild fennel.
So are you wondering what to do with the fennel? You’ve come to the right place. Here are fennel recipes that will be sure to tease those tastebuds.
Your guests will be wondering where you learned to cook and what that secret ingredient is.
What Is Fennel?
Fennel is a versatile, flavorful vegetable that is part of the carrot family. It may look like a root vegetable, but the bulb-like stalk grows above ground. The green stems branch out with wispy leaves at the tip.
Fennel has many health benefits. It is high in fiber, potassium, and Vitamin C. It helps support immunity and digestion and can lower blood pressure.
How to Cook Fennel?
The bulbs, stems, and leaves of fennel can be consumed. They can be eaten raw, but many like to enjoy the vegetable’s milder taste by cooking it.
There are several ways to cook fennel. Sauteeing, roasting, or frying it adds a bit of sweetness to the vegetable. Boiling or steaming it softens the flavors and the texture while maintaining a more savory, licorice-like taste.
What Does Fennel Taste Like Cooked?
The vegetable has a slightly bitter, lemony, anise flavor when raw. Once cooked, the taste is milder.
Cooking also lessens the bitterness of this vegetable, making it quite agreeable and an excellent addition to many dishes.
Anise isn’t everyone’s favorite. However, even those skeptical of licorice tend to enjoy fennel because its flavor is delicate with subtle hints of citrus, especially when cooked.
1. Shaved Fennel Salad
Fennel makes an excellent ingredient in salad, and this fresh fennel recipe is a classic.
When the bulb is shaved, the fresh texture is enhanced like in this recipe. The lemon juice and parmesan complement it nicely and round out the flavor palate.
It’s a great, light appetizer to start a meal– especially in those hot, summer months.
2. Fennel Soup
This tasty soup is so simple to make. It only has four key ingredients yet is packed with flavor.
Hints of onion and anise set this dish apart and leave your guests craving more.
With a creamy butter and broth base, it’s a hearty favorite for those cold weather climates. Grab a ladle, and scoop up a bowl to indulge in this warming fennel recipe!
3. Roasted Fennel
Roasting fennel brings out hints of caramel sweetness and softens the bitterness of this vegetable. Add the secret ingredient of balsamic vinegar, and you’ve got a recipe that is extremely easy yet tastes like magic.
It’s the perfect accompaniment to the main course, such as chicken, fish, or seafood. Roasted fennel is welcomed in any season– squeeze a bit of lemon on top for a splash of summer citrus flavor!
4. Italian Fennel Sausage Recipe
Fennel gives these sausage patties the burst of flavor they deserve. These patties can be served over a salad, pasta, or even on their own. You can even use the leftovers in sandwiches resembling meatball subs.
If you’re looking for a lighter or lower-fat meat option, substitute sausage meat for ground turkey in the recipe. It might come out drier than the full-fat pork, but it’ll still maintain its delicious fennel flavor.
5. Pasta with Fennel, Kale, and Lemon
Cooking fennel has never been so easy when you toss in kale, garlic, and onion. The ingredients add a savory deliciousness and compliment each other well. The secret ingredient of red pepper gives the meal a little kick to round it off.
If you aren’t a Fettucine fan, try using spaghetti or even farfalle for a different texture. Rice noodles can also be substituted if you can’t eat gluten.
6. Fennel Upside Down Cake
Are you wondering what can be made with fennel? I bet you didn’t think of cake! Me either. But it turns out that fennel makes a delicious addition to desserts.
The fronds, or leaves, and the bulbs, are used in this dish. Sauteeing the vegetable with sugar and lemon gives it that yummy candied taste with just a hint of salt.
So go ahead– treat yourself to this tasty cake. After all, it does have vegetables as well!
7. Rigatoni with Sausage and Fennel
This pasta dish is a family favorite. It has chewy pasta, creamy sauce, and salty, savory goodness. It’s a hit with kids and adults alike, so it is a safe bet for dinner parties or family meals.
If you’re looking for a veggie option, swap out the sausage with some meat substitutes or tofu. The rigatoni can also be substituted with gluten-free pasta if need be. Buon appetite!
8. Minute Steak with Roasted Fennel and Arugula and Caper Dressing
Who said eating healthy had to be boring? Savor this salty, satisfying meal of steak, fennel, and arugula.
These fresh ingredients are packed with both nutrition and flavor. The caper dressing adds a nice lemony tang and saltiness to the overall dish. If you really want to increase that flavor, toss some chopped olives onto the final product as well.
9. Fennel-and-Sweet-Onion Pizza with Green Olives
This unique combination of ingredients pairs surprisingly well atop a pizza crust! You’ve got sweetness from the fennel and onion with the saltiness of cheese and olives.
The brown ale and Pernod are two unexpected ingredients that set the pizza apart. They give it that professional touch that upgrades your pizza from casual to classy.
Give your pizza making a boost with this fennel bulb recipe!
10. Sauteed Chicken Breasts
Everyone raves about the Mediterranean diet. Besides the health benefits, this seaside eating style is also famous for its flavorful food.
Here is your chance to taste it for yourself. This chicken and vegetable dish is light and nutritious but packed with taste. Eating healthy never felt so good.
11. Braised Fennel
This dish embraces that licorice taste. The secret ingredient here is added ouzo, a greek anise-flavored aperitif.
If you can’t get your hands on any, try using another licorice-like liquor such as sambuca or pastis. Star anise will work if you want to avoid alcohol.
Use those fennel fronds to garnish the dish and give it a dash of color. The orange zest brings out the lemony qualities of the fennel and adds a pleasant citrus scent.
12. Seafood in Fennel Broth
It feels like a warm coastal evening. The seafood is simmering in the oven, and the aromas are filling the air with savory, garlicky goodness. Everyone’s taste buds are salivating in anticipation of this delicious dish.
This meal is perfect for summer nights– scrumptious, satisfying, yet still light.
Don’t worry if you can’t find striped bass. Most white fish, including haddock or cod, work well. So fire up the oven and enter seafood paradise.
13. Roasted Salmon
Are you looking for a healthy but mouth-watering recipe? This Roasted Salmon with Fennel and Lime Recipe is the answer!
Salmon is packed with healthy Omega-3 fats and B vitamins, and selenium.
The fennel and line add a refreshing touch and help bring the dish to life. Not to mention add even more nutrients to the table. Nutritious and delicious all in one!
14. Mediterranean Sauteed Shrimp and Fennel
Shrimp, fennel, capers, and tomato make an excellent sauce. Pour it over pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, or polenta.
You can even eat it next to a salad if you’re opting for a lighter meal. The options are endless!
The feta cheese adds a fresh but creamy taste and the capers give it a nice salty kick. It’s the kind of recipe you’ll want to repeat!
15. Grilled Fennel Recipe
Are you wondering what can be made from fennel? There are so many ways to cook fennel. So why not toss it on the grill as well! This fennel bulb recipe does just that.
Grilled fennel has a soft, hearty texture and rich flavor. It’ll also go well with other grilled veggies and meat.
Serve on a bed of fennel fronds. It’s an effortless way to look professional– and let that anise aroma let guests know what to expect.
16. Fennel Gratin
Cooking fennel never felt so easy. The prep for this fennel dish takes about 15 minutes. Pop it in the oven, and let the succulent scents fill the air as it bakes away.
A gratin is one of the best ideas for a fennel recipe. The vegetable’s flavor will still be present but is softened by the cheesy, crispy coating. The textures and satisfying flavors will leave you wanting more.
17. Pan-Fried Fennel
Unsure of your guests’ dietary restrictions? This fennel bulb recipe comes to the rescue!
This simple recipe is vegan, paleo, and gluten-free! An easy side dish that’s a crowd-pleaser. Sauteeing accentuates the natural flavors of the vegetable.
All you need is some lemon pepper and salt to top it off. Use the fennel fronds as a garnish to win some presentation points.
18. Fennel-Apple Salad
What do you do with fresh fennel? Toss it into a salad, of course!
This twist on the classic Waldorf salad is lighter and crisper. It pairs well as a starter or side dish to a heavier autumn meal.
If you’re not a walnut fan, substitute with pecans or almonds. Throw in some dried cranberries if you’d like a touch of sweetness. The chewy texture will balance out the crunchiness of the other ingredients.
19. Fennel Salad with Cucumber and Dill
Another light and refreshing vegan salad option to add to your repertoire! You can make it ahead and eat it as an appetizer or as a topping for your favorite dishes, such as tacos.
If you’re not vegan and want to enhance the richness of this salad, try using a cream-based dressing.
Mix light sour cream with olive oil, dill, salt and pepper, and fresh lemon juice. It’ll give the salad a heartier texture and taste.
20. Braised Garlicky Fennel
Calling all garlic fans! If you’re looking to scare away some vampires while enjoying a ridiculously delicious meal, this recipe is for you.
Garlic pairs well with the flavors of fennel-and when braised, they soften and mold together nicely.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Although serving it warm alongside a meat dish gives the meal the feeling of satisfying, comfort food.
20 Fantastic Fennel Recipes
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Fennel fronds, chopped
- ⅓ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 4 fennel bulbs, cut horizontally into ⅓ inch slices
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Oil the bottom of a baking pan or dish.
- Place the slices of fennel bulb into the dish.
- Sprinkle with parmesan and salt & pepper.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, or until you can pierce the fennel easily with a fork.
- Garnish with fennel fronds, and serve!