Log in: Kristin Meier

My food journey has challenged me to think outside the standard recipe box of casseroles, stews, and roasts and has challenged me to increase my vegetable vocabulary. Before adopting a plant-based diet, I had no idea how to prepare unique vegetables, such as leeks, collard greens, jicama, rutabaga, beets, parsnips, and turnips.

Well, today was another first. I prepared a dish with fennel. After doing my homework, I learned that fennel is an aromatic vegetable with an anise flavor originating from anethole, a compound which has been shown have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Fennel is rich in vitamin C and contains fiber, copper, magnesium, and potassium.

The beautiful vegetable has a bulbous base, stalks similar to celery, and fine leaves. The entire vegetable is edible and can be eaten either raw or cooked: roasted, grilled, and sautéed. The bulb is crunchy and sweet, just remove the end as you would celery. The stalks can be used in place of celery in salads and soups and sauces and the leaves (fronds) can be used as you would use an herb, such as parsley, or as a pretty garnish.

I decided to pair the fennel with carrots, Swiss chard, spinach, beans, and spice for a vitamin and protein packed dish with lots of kick!

Ingredients:

  • 1 fennel bulb, finely sliced
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • Cooking spray to grease the baking sheet
  • 2 (15.8-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard, chopped
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach

Preheat oven to 450°. In a large mixing bowl, toss together fennel, carrots, 1 swish of oil, 1/2 t black pepper, cayenne pepper, and 2 garlic cloves in a large bowl. Evenly arrange fennel mixture on greased baking sheet. Bake at 450° until golden brown, turning once, about 15-20minutes. Meanwhile, add a swish of olive oil to a cast iron skillet and sauté 2 cloves of garlic over medium heat. Add chard and spinach, followed by beans, 1/4 t pepper, and baked fennel mixture and sauté. Serve hot. Enjoy!