how to roast fennel.

Fennel is one of those foods I often see on menus and think, "Eek, how fancy! I don't think I could ever make that". (Kind of like the way I feel about risotto.) 

But surprisingly, fennel is wildly easy to prepare and incredibly nutritious. Fennel is technically an herb, related to coriander, parsley and dill. It has a unique licorice flavor and chewy-crunchy texture similar to celery. In particular, it's a great food for springtime, as it encourages the body to break up and release accumulated toxins thanks to its impressive fiber content. Plus, it's a great way to add volume to a meal without adding massive amounts of unnecessary fuel. 

Preparing it is simpler than it looks. (I mean, check out fennel in all its glory below: it's an imposing looking herb!) Although you can eat it raw, my favorite way - I've discovered - to have it is roasted (much in the same way we dig roasting sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts). Isn't everything better when softened a little with some heat and some delicious oil?

fennel whole

To prep your fennel for roasting, slice the stems off, removing and reserving the fronds at the top. (These make excellent fresh additions to salads, like this Detox Salad.) Thoroughly wash and dry the stalks and bulbs. While we're not using the stalks in this recipe, they're great to have on if you're making a soup stock or want something interesting to serve as a crudite with hummus. You could also roast them along with the bulbs if you'd like! At this point, preheat your oven to 400F.

fennel cored

Halve your bulbs and cut out the cores. I like to leave a little attached, just so they stay together while they roast.

fennel in pan

Lay on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pop them into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the layers start to spread apart and the bulbs are a little tender when speared with a fork. 

fennel roasted

Remove from the oven. Marvel at how awesome you are for roasting fennel!! 

fennel plated

We served ours with white quinoa seasoned with couscous spice from Spices and Tease (a lovely little shop in Chelsea Market) and sauteed red kale with olive oil and sea salt. Deliciously light dinner for a weeknight (and extra quick to throw together). It's also a great make-ahead item to have handy for salads or stir fries for lunches for the week. 

Nutritionally, fennel is an excellent source of Vitamin C, potassium, folate and dietary fiber. It's highly anti-inflammatory and a powerful antioxidant, which stimulates the immune system to keep us well.

How do you use fennel? Are there other foods that intimidate you? Feel free to share below. Maybe we can start a Food Fear support group. ;) If you're looking for more deliciously simple recipes and meal planning ideas, check out the Meal Planning page -- tons of great ways to get yourself set up for a week of awesome (simple) eating. 

Happy cooking! 

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roasted fennel
Serves 2
A simple preparation for a unique herb!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 fresh fennel plant, including bulbs, stalks and fronds
  2. olive oil
  3. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. 1.To prep your fennel for roasting, slice the stems off, removing and reserving the fronds at the top for another recipe. Thoroughly wash and dry the stalks and bulbs. Also reserve stalks.
  2. 2. At this point, preheat your oven to 400F.
  3. 3. Halve your bulbs and cut out the cores. Leave a little attached, just so they stay together while they roast.
  4. 4. Lay on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pop them into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the layers start to spread apart and the bulbs are a little tender when speared with a fork.
  5. 5. Remove from the oven and serve.
Notes
  1. We serve ours with white quinoa seasoned with couscous spice and sauteed red kale with olive oil and sea salt. Deliciously light dinner for a weeknight (and extra quick to throw together). It's also a great make-ahead item to have handy for salads or stir fries for lunches for the week.
From The Ground Up Wellness http://fromthegroundupwellness.com/
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