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8 min read

This week veggie box feature… fennel! One of the most underrated vegetables!

If you’ve never experienced fresh fennel you are in for a delicious treat this week, fresh and local is always the best way to try a new vegetable!

First off, what is Fennel? Is it a Spice, Herb, or Vegetable? Actually, it's all three.

Fennel plants, which are native to the Mediterranean, have a bulbous base that can be eaten like a vegetable, feathery fronds that are used as an herb, and seeds that can be dried for a spice. Fennel has a fresh, aromatic anise flavor, and it can be eaten raw, sautéed, roasted, or even added to soups and sauces. If you’ve never worked with it before, this funky-looking veggie might be intimidating from the outside, but don’t let it scare you! Once you know how to prepare it, it’s easy to work with and delicious. Although most recipes call for the bulb, the stalk and leaves are also edible.

Not only is it delicious, it’s also high in nutrients like dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, to name a few.


How to Cut Fennel

1. If the stalks are still attached to your bulb of fennel, cut them away close to where they connect to the bulb. Save the fennel stalks and fronds for something else — the leafy fronds can be eaten raw and the stems are great for soup stock.

2. Trim a little bit off the bottom of the fennel bulb to make the bottom stable (and cut away any tough root bits). Then, cut straight down through the root of the fennel bulb.

3. Again, cut straight down through the root.

4. If the outer layer of your fennel bulb feels wilted or rubbery, peel it away and discard.

5. With the quarter still on its side, slice crosswise to cut the fennel into slices. Start at the top of the bulb and work toward the root. Cut your slices thick or thin, according to your recipe. Repeat with the remaining bulbs.


How to Shave Fennel

1. For really thin, shaved slices of fennel, use a mandoline. Lay the quarter of fennel with the cut side flat against the mandoline. Press down with the safety guard to secure the bulb, then quickly run the bulb across the blade to shave it into thin slices. Adjust the thickness as needed.


Where to Store it?

Fennel bulbs and stalks are sturdy and can keep in the crisper drawer for around 5 days. You can go longer, but remember that the longer you leave it the tougher it gets.

The fronds, though, are a different matter. Fennel fronds can get limp pretty fast. If you like using them, it's a good idea to snap off the sprigs and put them in a paper towel-lined container. It’s important to keep them dry since excess moisture will hasten their decline.


Here are just a few of the many ways you can add some Fennel to your menus this week!




Shaved Fennel Asparagus Salad

Created by: Sandy - Reluctant Entertainer

Combine two of this week’s vegetables together for a delicious and fresh salad. Perfect for lunch or dinner.



2 bundles asparagus, trimmed and blanched

1 bulb fennel, shaven with mandolin

Salt to taste

1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved

1/4 cup feta, crumbled


1/2 cup orange juice

2 TBSP red wine vinegar

6 TBSP olive oil

1 medium shallot, finely diced

1 tsp honey

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Whisk together ingredients for the dressing and set aside.

2. To blanch your asparagus, bring a large pot of water to a boil with a generous sprinkle of salt—a heaping 1/4 cup. When the water comes to a boil, add the asparagus and boil for 3-5 minutes, depending on the size of the stalk (thinner= less time, thicker= more time). Prepare a bath of ice water.

3. When asparagus is bright green and tender—but still crisp-- drain and transfer to the iceboat to stop the cooking. When the stalks have cooled, drain and set out on a towel to dry.

4. To assemble, toss the asparagus and fennel together and plate on a serving platter. Sprinkle with feta, olives, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. To serve, drizzle with the dressing and a squeeze of fresh orange juice.



Kohlrabi Slaw with Fennel & Apple

Created By: Breana Lai Killeen

Crunchy, tart and sweet come together in one easy salad. Serve this kohlrabi slaw with grilled pork chops or on a chicken sandwich (or your favourite protein).



1 medium fennel bulb with fronds

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 TBSP cider vinegar

2 tsp whole-grain mustard

2 tsp minced shallot

1 tsp honey

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground pepper

1 medium kohlrabi, peeled and cut into matchsticks

1 small apple, cored and cut into matchsticks


1. Chop enough fennel fronds to equal 1/4 cup. Thinly slice the bulb.

2. Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, shallot, honey, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the fennel and fronds, kohlrabi and apple; gently stir to coat



Oven Roasted Potatoes and Fennel

Created by: Marisa

Oven Roasted Potatoes and Fennel. A simple, delicious vegetarian dish combining two favorite vegetables and makes an excellent side dish to any main meal.



4 medium potatoes sliced into 1/4 inch slices

1 fennel bulb sliced into

1/2 inch wedges (see note)

2 TBSP of olive oil plus more for drizzling

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary extra springs to nestle between veggies

1 tsp fresh thyme extra springs to nestle between veggies

salt and pepper to your taste


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. (I used an 18x12x1 sheet pan)

3. Place the sliced potatoes and sliced fennel in a large bowl.

4. Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper to the vegetables.

5. Toss to combine and then spread them out in one single layer onto the prepared baking sheet.

6. Tuck in a few extra sprigs of rosemary and thyme and drizzle with a teeny bit more olive oil.

7. Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes or just until the potatoes are crispy and the fennel is tender with a rich golden brown colour.

8. Serve while still warm.



Simple Fennel Pasta

Created by: Sophie and Paul

The fresh flavour of fennel takes the center stage in this quick and tasty pasta dish that uses just eight ingredients.



10.5 oz pasta penne, fusilli

1 - 2 tbsp olive oil

1 fennel bulb sliced, fronds reserved

1 large onion sliced

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

2 tbsp lemon juice

¼ - ½ cup pasta cooking water


1. Bring a large, high-sided saucepan filled ⅔ with water to a boil. Add in the pasta along with 1-2 tsp of salt and cook the pasta until al dente, or according to instructions on the package.

2. In the meantime, heat up olive oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat.

3. Add the sliced fennel, onion and the sugar to the frying pan and give it a good stir.

4. Gently fry while stirring regularly for about five minutes, until the fennel and onion are soft and evenly caramelized to a golden brown color. Turn down the heat a bit if the fennel and onion get dark brown too quickly. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the lemon juice.

5. Fry for two more minutes, then deglaze the pan by adding the ¼ to ½ cup of starchy water from the pan of boiling pasta. (See note) If you've already drained the pasta at this point, just use tap water. Turn heat to low.

6. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add it into the frying pan. Turn off the heat and stir the pasta into the fennel and onion. Adjust sauciness with extra water if necessary.

7. Serve up and garnish with the reserved green fennel fronds.

Optionally top the pasta with toasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds, or a sprinkle of vegan parmesan. Note: Why pasta water? Using pasta cooking water to deglaze the pan works great in this recipe because the starches dissolved in it act as a binder to create a smooth 'juice' to coat the pasta. Also the pasta water is already hot!

If you've already drained the pasta and discarded the cooking water, no problem. Just use regular water.

How much water? The amount of water you'll want to add can vary, and it's not lastly up to you how juicy or dry you would like the final dish to be. To start with, anything between ¼ and ½ cup will be fine for the 4 portion recipe.

The hotter the pan and the longer you simmer down the liquid, the more water you have to add to end up with the same amount of 'pan sauce'.

You can always adjust by adding more water or evaporating it off to reduce liquid.

When the pasta is stirred in, it will soak up a bit more liquid, and you can still stir in a bit more water to add more moisture to the meal.



Balsamic Roasted Fennel and Carrots

Created By: HWC Magazine

A super easy side dish with roasted fennel, carrots, Cipollini onions and a delicious white balsamic herb dressing.



1 fennel bulb and reserved wispy leaves (frangs)

3 large carrots

8 Cipollini onions (or one large onion sliced into half-moons)

2 TBSP white balsamic vinegar

Juice of ½ lemon

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp Italian Seasoning

½ tsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F or 218 degrees C

2. Remove the top stems of the fennel bulb and reserve the wispy leaves (frang) for garnish. (The top stems of the fennel bulb are delicious in soup stocks) 3. If your outer fennel bulb is tough remove just the outer edge. Cut your fennel in half and cut each half into 4 thin half moon slices.

4. Next, peel and chop carrots into long matchsticks.

5. Remove the outer skin of the Cipollini onions.

6. In a small bowl, combine white balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, Sicilian Spice Mix or Italian seasoning, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.

7. Place your sliced fennel, matchstick carrots and peeled Cipollini onion in a bowl. Pour over your prepared balsamic vinaigrette and toss.

8. Pour your prepared fennel, carrot and onion mixture on a lined baking sheet. We always spray a little oil on the bottom of the sheet pan to prevent sticking.

9. Bake for 20 minutes and gently turn the carrots, fennel and onions over so they brown on both sides. Roast for another 20 – 25 minutes or until fork tender. Garnish with fennel frangs or otherwise known as the wispy leaves.

Notes: Feel free to add other root vegetables of choice to the mix. You can exchange any type of onion you prefer for the Cipollini onion. For example, red onions, yellow onion, white onions and shallots all work well in this recipe. Measurements do not have to be exact but do salt and pepper well to balance the flavors.



Friendly Reminder: Looking for additional inspiration? ALL recipes from the past two years are available on the blog for reference. 😊

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