Everyone goes crazy for kale, but if we had our way, fennel would be all the rage too. It’s one of the most underrated vegetables, and if you’re not already cooking with it, you absolutely should be. It has a fresh, aromatic anise flavor, and it can be eaten raw, sautéed, roasted, or even added to soups and sauces.
It looks like celery, it's kin to carrots, and it tastes like sweet, mild licorice. Fennel's anise flavor is deep but soft. It combines particularly well with other flavors and brings out their fullness. Raw fennel is crisp but tender, and adds delicious crunch and sweetness to salads and crudités. When raw, it has a crisp texture similar to celery and a fresh licorice flavor.
Cooked, it's soft and subtle. Fennel's feathery fronds make a flavorful garnish. It caramelizes as it cooks, taking on a sweeter flavor and tender, melt-in-your mouth texture.
What is fennel?
Fennel is a member of the carrot family, though it’s not a root vegetable. The base of its long stalks weave together to form a thick, crisp bulb that grows above ground. Above the bulb, at the tip of the stalks, it has light, feathery leaves that resemble dill. When it goes to seed, fennel also produces small yellow flowers among the leaves. Every part of it is edible, from the bulb to the flowers, and it can be eaten raw or cooked.
Health Benefits of Fennel
And did I mention that it has all sorts of health benefits too? It’s low in calories, but high in nutrients like dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, to name a few.