Perfect Roasted Fennel

Welcome to the surprise that is roasted fennel! Baking it in a hot oven makes it sweet and caramelized: nothing like its raw flavor.

Roasted fennel

If you haven’t tried the taste treat that is roasted fennel, stop right now and make yourself a pan! Raw fennel has a crunch and black licorice flavor, making it perfect for salads (like this one). But its roasted self is something different altogether. Its flavor becomes sweet and caramelized: almost like roasted onions but even more irresistible! Baked fennel makes easy and elegant side dish, especially for a Mediterranean or Italian-style meal. Here’s how to make it, and what we’d pair it with!

How to make roasted fennel (basic steps)

Fennel is a member of the carrot family, though it looks like an onion that’s sprouted celery stalks and dill fronds! Alex and I started cooking with it in some of our Mediterranean style dishes years ago. We found that the flavor adds a beautifully unique element to soups and salads. And we recently discovered it works on its own as a side dish! Here are the basic steps to roasted fennel (or go to the recipe below):

  • Chop into wedges. Cut off the large top, and the root end. Remove any very tough outer layers (you may need to remove several). Cut the bulb in half and chop it into wedges.
  • Mix with olive oil and kosher salt. Then spread the slices onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees. You’ll want very high heat for fennel! This gets it perfectly caramelized and browned on the outside, and tender on the inside. (You’ll see the same technique with our roasted broccoli, roasted eggplant, roasted cauliflower, and more.)
  • Spritz with lemon juice and serve. Adding the tang of lemon before serving brightens the flavor.
Fresh fennel bulb and fronds

Where to find fennel in the grocery store

You can find fennel in the refrigerated section in your local grocery store. Usually it’s near the leafy greens and celery, but it depends on the grocery store. Usually the fennel comes with the top on the bulb, but sometimes it’s sold as just the bulb.

Tip: If your fennel does come with the top on, you can use some of the fennel fronds as a garnish for the roasted fennel.

Ways to serve roasted fennel

Roasted fennel sounds fancy, but as you can see it’s just as easy as roasting any other vegetable. Because fennel is a little more rare in American cooking, it’s a fun surprise for dinner parties or just to mix up weeknight cooking. Here are a few ways we’d serve it:

Roasted fennel

How to cut fennel (with video)

Fennel might seem intimidating to cut. But after you’ve tried it for this roasted fennel recipe, you’ll see there’s nothing to fear! Here’s the basic method of cutting fennel (see the video instructions):

  1. Using a large chef’s knife, cut off the top of the fennel, called the “fronds.” (You can use the wispy portions as a garnish if you’d like.)
  2. Cut off the root end of the fennel.
  3. Remove any tough outer layers of the fennel and discard them. This is important because they are much too tough to eat!
  4. Slice down the center of the fennel bulb. For this recipe, you’ll then cut it into 1-inch wide wedges.

More fennel recipes

There are lots more ways to use fennel! Here are some fennel recipes to try:

Roasted fennel

This roasted fennel recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Roasted fennel

Perfect Roasted Fennel


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Welcome to the surprise that is roasted fennel! Baking it in a hot oven makes it sweet and caramelized: nothing like its raw flavor. 

 


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 large fennel bulbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (less if small fennel bulbs
  • 2 lemon wedges

Instructions

  1. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the fennel into wedges. Remove the top stalks, bottom root, and tough, thick outer layers as shown in the video (you may need to remove a few outer layers, which is ok). Then cut the remaining bulb in half and then into about 1 inch wedges.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the fennel with the olive oil and kosher salt. Place it in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned and very tender (no need to stir).
  5. Remove from the oven and gently toss with the juice of two lemon wedges. Taste and adjust salt or lemon as desired. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be refrigerated for several days and reheated in a 350 degree oven until warmed through.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Roasted fennel, Fennel recipe

More roasted vegetables

Roasted vegetables make the best easy side dishes! Here are some to add to your list:

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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