Roasted Fennel ♥

Just trim, roast, toss, enjoyDon't we just love it when vegetables seem to cook themselves?! This is nothing more than sliced bulbs of fennel, olive oil, salt and pepper -- and time, an hour in a 400F, tossed and redistributed every 15 minutes. And then at the end, lemon juice, a great brightener. They were so good!

HOT? ROOM TEMPERATURE? I served these hot but now note that the inspiring recipe from the ever-reliable Vegetable Love by Barbara Kafka, suggests serving it as a side salad, too.

NUTRITION NOTES It takes lots of fat to get vegetables to caramelize while roasting and of course, the more oil and the more caramelization, the more flavor. With less oil, vegetables can dry out before they're fully roasted. It helps to toss the vegetables REALLY well, so they coat with oil -- I use a bowl so I can really toss them, easier than doing it on a flat baking tray. Thought: I could toss the vegetables in a quarter cup of chicken broth, say, before adding the oil but hmm, then the oil wouldn't adhere to the wet vegetables.

There must be some way to keep moisture in AND caramelize using less oil. My goal is to use no more than a tablespoon of oil for a pound of vegetables. Any ideas??? Otherwise, let me work on that.

MAKE IT A MEAL If there's time, I'd start the fennel first, then cook Cornmeal Catfish, perhaps adding fennel to the homemade Cajun spice mix.

WEEKEND HERB BLOGGING This is my contribution to the weekly collection of recipes featuring herbs, plants, vegetables or flowers, hosted this week by Nami-Nami.

~ Fennel Mashed Potatoes ~
~ Fennel, Leek & Mushroom Sauté ~

~ more fennel recipes ~

~ one year ago this week Sautéed Sunchokes with Apple & Pancetta ~
~ two years ago today Roasted Butternut Squash ~


Hands-on time: 15 minutes (10 to start, 5 to toss)
Time to table: 1 1/4 hours
Serves 4

About 2 pounds of fennel bulbs (after trimming, about a pound)
Olive oil to coat - about 3 tablespoons
Salt & Pepper to taste

Juice of half a lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

Preheat oven to 400F.

Trim the fennel bulbs: slice off roughness on the root end, then the 'arms' and 'fronds'. (Fennel adds great flavor to vegetable stock!) Cut through the core, cutting each bulb into manageable and roughly equivalent sizes, using the core to keep pieces somewhat intact. Starting with maybe a tablespoon of oil, in a bowl, use a scoop spatula to toss the pieces really well -- really turn them over, maybe for a minute, there are lots of crevices to get the oil into, adding more oil only as needed. Transfer onto a rimmed baking sheet and season to taste. Place in oven for an hour. Every 15 minutes, pull the tray out and retoss the pieces; you may want to cut the larger pieces smaller if they're not cooking at the same rate as the others. When fully cooked, remove from oven and toss with lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning.

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Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Not sure this would work, but what about steaming them for a couple of minutes before roasting? The initial part of the roast does the softening and releasing of moisture, before the caramelization can begin. So maybe doing that part with a steam, and then transferring to the oven to begin the release of the sugar...

  2. Ooh...that sounds wonderful! My husband and I love fennel. I'm going to try making this over the weekend.

  3. great minds think alike; I just posted on roasted veggies too! I ADORE roasted Fennel. It is amazing to me how candy-like it is...

    Cheers Alanna!

  4. I have one of these fabulous oil pump misters (I'm sure any brand would work)

    You can fill it with whatever oil you want. I use olive oil, but try and pick less viscous olive oil to get a better spray.
    In my experience using a mister allows you to get a thinner coating of oil on your veggies than if you toss them or brush them.


  5. Yum! It's the time of year we start getting fennel again from our CSA, so I will try this simple treat. Thanks!

  6. I can eat a plate full of this with the right wine to match. Ummm, ummmm, good.

  7. Mmm. Fennel - not something that features often in our kitchen, but I'm definitely tempted to buy one now:) Thank you for taking part in this week's WHB, Alanna!!

  8. Can you believe I *still* have not cooked fennel. I need to get on it. I do like it when I've had it in restaurants, but for some reason I don't think about cooking it when I'm at the store. It looks delicious. I do have an olive oil mister like the other commenter referred to, and it might be a good answer if you want less oil.

  9. Can you send over a bowl? Please? That looks too delicious!

    Even though I'm notoriously generous with olive oil, I add a splash of apple juice or apple cider to autumn roasted veggies. (I think the sugar in the juice helps.)


  10. Looks like you've gotten some really great ideas in comments.
    This looks divine and will have to try.

  11. Sounds super simple. I'll bookmark this for when I have a proper kitchen.

  12. I'd try a cooking bag. It may keep the moisture in, and allow you to use only a minimal amount of oil.

  13. Oh, I must do this. Too easy, and so wonderful. I adore fennel. Seems like all I've been buying at the market is fennel and butternut squash lately!

  14. Alanna, this looks great! I love roasted fennel, sometimes when I am feeling naughty I even throw some white wine in the pot.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna