Braised Fennel Recipe

Braised Fennel Recipe

Fennel may be part of the carrot family, but it's packed with so much aromatic flavor that it is usually used as an herb in cooking. Yet, fennel can make an amazing meal all by itself. With a full fennel bulb and just a little bit of prep work, this super-simple vegetarian dish becomes a unforgettable experience. Alternatively, you can serve this as a side that will complete any meal, no matter the diet or the preference of your guests.

Recipe creator Sher Castellano takes this herb to the next level by caramelizing it in broth, and seasoning it with salt and pepper in this recipe that takes less than half an hour from start to finish. "Roasted fennel is rich and sweet, [and] ... is a wonderful digestion aid," Castellano explains of why she appreciates the vegetable. Plus, it will seem somewhat exotic compared to most side dish offerings.

Gather the braised fennel ingredients

Obviously, the centerpiece of this recipe is the fennel, so when you head to the grocery store, start in the vegetable aisle and buy 2 large fennel bulbs. A store with a wide produce section should be able to accommodate this need. After that, the rest is pretty standard. You need ¼ cup olive oil, so you might as well get a bottle of it. Plus, you need ½ cup vegetable broth, so you should pick up a carton. Finally you need sea salt and pepper, ¼ teaspoon of both, so you might be fine if you already have them at home. Now, you're ready to start.

Cut the fennel

Trim the leafy tops off the fennel first. "The fronds will cook at different speeds than the bulb, so cutting them off allows even cooking," explains Castellano. "You can use them like you would other herbs by adding them to any cooked or raw dishes." She adds that they would great additions to a strawberry salad.

After cutting off the fronds, halve the bulbs lengthwise to make nice, long surfaces for braising. Finally, halve the halves (quartering the fennel bulbs) and set them aside for a second. That is the majority of your prep, making this one of the quickest and easiest recipes out there.

Brown the fennel

With your fennel chopped and ready, pour the oil into a stainless steel pan and heat it up on medium. Once the oil is at temperature, lower it to medium-low and add in the fennel. Brown it on one side, for about 5 minutes or so. Once that's done, flip it over and repeat the process to make sure both sides of all fennel pieces are browned. 

When the cooking is done, "The fennel should be soft, and browned," Castellano explains. 

Add the stock and cover

Now that the fennel has been cut and browned, all that's left to do is braise it. This is when you sprinkle the pieces with the sea salt. "Table salt is more processed than sea salt," Castellano explains. "I prefer to cook with fine sea salt for its ability to retain more trace minerals and its texture." Add in the pepper and vegetable broth and cover, cooking for 10 minutes. You don't need to baste the broth — just pour it on and let it simmer.

Serve your finished fennel

After cooking the fennel in the broth for 10 minutes, it will officially be ready. Remove it from the pan and plate it. This can be served warm or at room temperature. 

"This is a fantastic side dish for any meal, both vegetarian or omnivorous," Castellano explains. "It goes great with richer dishes like baked ziti."

Serve the fennel with additional black pepper, to taste. There you have it — a healthy, vegetarian side dish that complements any meal.

Braised Fennel Recipe
4.9 from 16 ratings
The next time you're hosting guests, whip up this braised fennel recipe to surprise your friends and family. It's easy, tasty, and healthy, too.
Prep Time
Cook Time
braised fennel recipe
Total time: 25 minutes
  • 2 large fennel bulbs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  1. Trim the tops off the fennel bulbs, halve them, then cut them into quarters.
  2. Heat the oil in a stainless steel pan over medium heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the fennel. Brown on one side for 5 minutes.
  3. Flip the fennel and brown on the other side for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the salt, pepper, and broth. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve warm or room temperature with more black pepper.
Calories per Serving 165
Total Fat 13.8 g
Saturated Fat 2.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 10.8 g
Dietary Fiber 4.6 g
Total Sugars 5.8 g
Sodium 198.4 mg
Protein 1.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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