If you’ve never tried roasting fennel, I urge you to go buy a bulb and fire up your oven. It really is a treat! Roasting fennel is a recent discovery of mine, when I found myself with a bulb of fennel that needed to get used up before it started to go rubbery. I love fresh, crisp fennel sliced and added to salads (try my Fall into Winter Salad) and if you follow me on Instagram, you may remember that time I even blended it into a tangy citrus smoothie. I love the hint of licorice flavor, but licorice haters take note: roasting it really mellows out that distinct flavor. Roasted fennel is soft and tender, with a sweet and almost buttery flavor. And don’t get me started on those crispy caramelized edges.
- It’s fabulous skin food, keeping skin smooth, firm, clear, and glowing. It’s beneficial when applied topically and eaten.
- Fennel seed oil emulsions are often used to calm colicky babies (ever heard of Gripe Water? We used to give this to my daughter in desperation when she went through her colicky phase)
- Fennel extract may help some women with menstrual pain (consult your doctor first)
- Is known to have anti-cancer effects
- May help prevent osteoporosis, according to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine, by changing the way osteoclasts break down and absorb weakened bones, thus reducing the loss of bone mineral density
- May help you lose weight. Fennel is not only a good source of fiber, which will help reduce appetite and keep you full, it also breaks down fat in the bloodstream to use as energy. Since it’s a diuretic, it can also reduce water retention.
To turn this side dish into a main dish, I suggest making a yummy roasted salad. Since your oven is already on anyway, how about roasting some canned chickpeas? Just rinse well and rub dry with tea towels, toss with a little olive oil and seasonings of choice and pop into the oven along with your fennel slices. About halfway through roasting, add a couple of garlic cloves ( rubbed with dab of oil and bottoms sliced off) to one of the pans. You can use this roasted garlic to make a simple dressing by removing the peel (carefully, it’ll be hot) mashing it and whisking quickly with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. I bet some roasted asparagus would be delicious in this salad too. Just pile everything on a bed of chopped or baby greens and top with the easy roasted garlic dressing. (I also had a sweet potato with mine, because sweet potatoes go with everything!)
I hope you give this simple roasted fennel a try! It makes a great side, and I bet you could think of a dozen more simple ways to make it a meal.
- 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs
- 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with a layer of parchment paper.
- Wash your fennel and slice off the stems and slice off the bottom so it is flat against the cutting board.(Save the stems for a salad!) Slice vertically into 1/2 inch slices. Remember, thicker pieces will take longer to cook. Toss with olive oil and lay on baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, turn the pan, you can also flip some of the larger pieces. Roast for another 10 minutes or until tender and edges caramelized.
Have you ever tried roasted fennel bulb? What is your favorite veggie to roast?