As far as I’m concerned, fennel is one of the most overlooked vegetables around. I believe that it’s time to give fennel the recognition which it clearly deserves, especially since it’s at its best during the Fall through the early Spring.
Fennel is a crunchy vegetable with a distinct “licorice-y” flavor which makes it delicious when sautéed in stir-fries, added raw to salads, or sliced and enjoyed alone with a squeeze of lemon juice and salt. Although any part of the fennel could be eaten (i.e. the bulb, the stalks, or the leaves), I prefer to cook with just the bulb. You can save the stalks and leaves for later use since they’re excellent in soups and for making delicious vegetable broths.
Since the bulb could be tricky to cut, I’ll tell you how to do it.
HOW TO CUT THE BULB OF A FENNEL:
Step 1) Cut the stalks away from the bulb.
Step 2) Cut the bulb in half vertically, and then rinse both sides with water.
Step 3) Remove the hard core in the center of each half of the bulb. Each half should look like this after the hard core center is removed.
Step 4) While keeping the flat side of the bulb facing down on the cutting board, continue to slice vertically through the bulb in any width you prefer.
*You can leave the fennel in strips, dice the fennel or create chunks, depending upon what your recipe calls for.
Lately, I’ve been enjoying the winning combination of fennel and yams. These two vegetables go so well together, that I thought the striking couple deserved its own blog.
Tonight I made a simple well-rounded dinner of quinoa with roasted yams and fennel, and a side salad. The recipe I concocted is so easy and delicious, and I made enough to last in the refrigerator for a couple of days. I think it will be great served on top of the green salad which I plan to have for lunch tomorrow.
RED QUINOA BOWL WITH ROASTED YAMS & FENNEL
- 2 garnet yams, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 large fennel bulb, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh dill, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 box of Ancient Harvest Inca Red Quinoa
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the olive oil, thyme, dill, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice.
- Add the yams and fennel to the mixing bowl, and stir everything together with a large spoon to coat the vegetables.
- Spread the coated yams and fennel on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in oven for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- While the yams & fennel are roasting in the oven, prepare the entire box of Ancient Harvest Red Quinoa according to the directions on the box.
- Place the cooked red quinoa in the large mixing bowl, and add the yams and fennel when they are finished roasting.
- Mix everything together well using the large spoon, and adjust the salt & pepper, to taste.
- Serve in individual bowls, and enjoy.
Since fennel and yams are so great together, I started thinking about other ways to use them in recipes. Some of the ideas I came up with are roasting them in large chunks with fresh garlic, onions, and rosemary to be placed on a large platter (great for Thanksgiving); making a yam fennel curry soup; making a Thai yam and fennel stew with Thai spices and/or a Thai Peanut Sauce; or maybe a yam and fennel hummus. A yam and fennel hummus sounds interesting, doesn’t it?
While looking for other great ways to cook with fennel and yams, I found this fabulous video by The Green Girls showing how to make a Garnet Yam Mash With Crispy Fennel. The recipe looks amazing, so I decided to post the video. Hope you enjoy it.
Anyway, I have every intention of developing other recipes using the delicious combination of fennel and yams, and you can be sure that I’ll keep you updated when I do. In the meantime, feel free to share any of your ideas for great recipes with these amazing vegetables.
Click here to see my recipe for a delicious Quinoa Risotto With Arugula, Shiitake Mushrooms and Vegan Parmesan .