Food Facts! Fennel

Fennel is an herb, spice and root vegetable with a licorice flavor. You may be wondering whyanyone might want to cook using a ‘candy’ flavor, but this vegetable is delicious! You can enjoy it raw or cooked and it looks like this in the supermarket:

All parts of the fennel plant are edible. It has a large, white bulb and leafy stalks with ‘fronds’, the green and yellowy flowers at the ends. A fennel plant can grow anywhere from 5-8 feet in height.
Fennel is native to the Mediterranean and for hundreds of years has been touted for alternative medicinal uses to control inflammation and stomach indigestion. Some sources attribute fennel’s antispasmodic qualities to relaxing our bowel, which increases gastric secretions and thereby aids digestion. It has also been related to reducing flatulence and bloating. Anecdotally, fennel has been used to maintain milk production in breastfeeding mothers and as a relief to colicky babies.
This vegetable is a nutrition powerhouse and 1 cup of sliced fennel provides approximately:
    • Vitamin C   10 mg         vs. RDA 75mg(females)/90mg(males)
    • Fiber           3 g             vs. RDA 25-30 g
    • Potassium   360 mg      vs. RDA 4.7 g
    • Calcium      43 mg        vs. RDA 1000 mg
    • Iron             1 mg          vs. RDA 18 mg(f)/8 mg(m)
    • Calories      27
I have had roasted fennel before, as it popping up more commonly in restaurants dishes. It wasn’t until I purchased it raw and intended to cook with it, that I fell in love with this veggie. Simply slicing up the bulb and eating this crunchy, fresh vegetable is my favorite way to enjoy fennel. The mild licorice flavor is surprisingly pleasant. Try fennel tonight with one of these three recipes:
Roasted Winter Roots


  • 16 thyme sprigs
  • 4 medium beets, peeled and quartered
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 medium turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 2 medium red onions, cut into quarters
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cored and cut into quarters
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Place 8 thyme sprigs, beets, carrots, and turnips in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat. Arrange vegetables in a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 425° for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender and begin to brown, stirring occasionally.
  3. Place remaining 8 thyme sprigs, garlic, onions, and fennel in a bowl. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Arrange vegetables in a single layer in a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender and begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Combine beet mixture and onion mixture; sprinkle with chopped thyme.

 Nutritional Information (Amount per serving) 

  • Calories: 103, Fat: 3.7g, Saturated fat: 0.5g, Monounsaturated fat: 2.5g, Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5g, Protein: 2.5g, Carbohydrate: 16.7g, Fiber: 4.9g, Cholesterol: 0.0mg, Iron: 1.1mg, Sodium: 253mg, Calcium: 67mg
Warm White Beans with Roasted Fennel


  • 4 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 T grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 (15.8-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach


  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Combine fennel, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, red pepper, and garlic in a large bowl; toss to coat fennel. Arrange fennel mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until fennel begins to brown. Stir; sprinkle cheese evenly over fennel mixture. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add beans; cook 2 minutes or until heated. Add fennel mixture, spinach, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook 2 minutes; serve immediately.





Shaved Fennel Salad with Orange, Green Olives and Pistachios 

  • 1 T grated orange rind 
  • 3/4 cup orange sections (~ 2 large oranges) 
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted green olives
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs with stalks (~ 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup shelled unsalted dry-roasted pistachios 


  1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently to combine.
  2. Trim the tough outer leaves from fennel, and mince feathery fronds to measure 2 tablespoons. Remove and discard stalks. Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise, and discard core. Thinly slice fennel bulbs. Add fennel slices to juice mixture, and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with fennel fronds and nuts.

Nutritional Information(Amount per serving) 

Calories: 168, Fat: 12.7g, Saturated fat: 1.3g, Monounsaturated fat: 7.8g, Polyunsaturated fat: 2.7g, Protein: 4.1g, Carbohydrate: 11.9g, Fiber: 3.8g, Cholesterol: 0.0mg, Iron: 1.1mg, Sodium: 280mg, Calcium: 52mg 
Enjoy! sls