Roasted fennel is a popular item on restaurant menus that deserves more attention from home cooks!
It’s easy to make and looks so elegant paired with pork, chicken, and fish entrees! Roasting brings out the mild anise flavor of fennel, and gently caramelizes the edges for a touch of sweetness. A sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese is all you need to give it the perfect finishing touch. This dish could not be more simple! Prep takes just minutes and the oven does all the work. Use the feathery fronds for a pretty and fragrant garnish!
Oven Roasted Fennel
- Fennel has a light anise (black licorice) flavor and a crispy texture, much like celery. It can be eaten fresh in salads or roasted with other root vegetables like potatoes and carrots. Fennel seeds give hearty tomato sauces and Italian sausage their unique flavor.
- This easy recipe uses a little olive oil and some savory seasonings to bring out the delicate and subtle flavor of fennel.
- Pick up a fennel bulb or two when they are on sale and experiment with all the delicious ways to use them! Serve with smoked salmon, or pork tenderloin, or make a light and crisp fennel salad.
Ingredients and Variations
FENNEL: Choose heavy bulbs with intact stalks and fronds – they should smell lightly of anise. Other veggies to roast with fennel are carrots, baby red or fingerling potatoes, and red beets.
HERBS: Thyme has a light flavor that doesn’t compete with the fennel. Other fresh herbs to use are basil, parsley, and mint.
CHEESE: Cheese makes everything taste better! The closest alternative to the flavor of parmesan would be grated asiago or pecorino romano. Try with grated mozzarella too.
How to Make Roasted Fennel
This is how to cut fennel for the best presentation:
- Cut the bulb into 1-inch wedges (as per recipe below).
- Toss the fennel wedges with oil, thyme, and seasonings.
- Bake in a single layer.
- Sprinkle the wedges with parmesan cheese during the last 10 minutes of baking.
Garnish with fennel fronds or additional sprigs of fresh thyme, if desired.
Storing Leftover Fennel
- Keep leftover oven-roasted fennel in a covered container for up to 3 days.
- Reheat it on the stovetop or add it to soups or stews, or slice it and top a burger or pizza.
- Leftovers can be frozen but will not be as firm once they are thawed. To refresh, sprinkle them with a little more parmesan cheese and heat them under the broiler.
Other Easy Sides!
- Cheesy Baked Fennel – so creamy and delicious
- Roasted Cabbage Recipe – quick 10 minute prep
- Oven Roasted Cauliflower – a favorite
- Oven Roasted Beets – incredibly flavorful
Oven Roasted Fennel
- 2 bulbs fennel about 1½ pounds
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced, or more to taste
- 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves removed, plus more for garnish if desired
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper if desired.
- Clean fennel and cut off stalks. Reserve fronds for garnish. Cut in half lengthwise, then into ½ inch wedges.
- In a large bowl, add fennel, olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, then toss to coat.*
- Place fennel wedges in a single layer on the baking tray. Drizzle with any remaining oil.
- Roast fennel for 35 minutes, or until fennel is fork tender, adding the parmesan during the last 10 minutes of baking.
- Garnish with fennel fronds, additional thyme leaves if desired, and serve.
- *Alternately, whisk together olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper, then add the fennel and toss to coat.
- Refrigerate leftovers in a covered container for up to 3 days. Freeze leftovers in a zippered bag.
- Reheat roasted fennel on the stovetop or in the oven. Add it to other recipes like soups or stews.
- Thawed fennel will not be as firm as it was. To refresh, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and heat under the broiler.
Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.
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