MEL × RIVERBEND: Roasted Fennel, Onion & Carrots
RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS
For the love of fennel
Fennel is one of those things that tends to pop up at farmers markets or show up in CSA shares quite a bit in these parts. Which is incredible for us anise-flavor lovers but maybe not so great for the other half of the population who doesn't care for it as much as we do.
Think of it as a mild licorice flavored veg, that has a crunchy texture like celery when raw but becomes sweet and caramelizes easily like onion when cooked.
got few bulbs kicking around and you realize you're just not that crazy about it?
Happens to the best of us doesn't it? We head to the farmer's market with our best intentions in our back pocket and decide to try something new or follow the advice of a well meaning friend just to realize that maybe we're not as into it as we initially thought.
This tends to happen with fennel, but don't despair. You can still use up that crunchy bulb in a beautiful way even if you're not a fan of how it tastes raw!
Fennel: One fancy onion
There are two vegetables out there that I like to sub for onions in recipes and fennel is one of them (leek is the other). Once fennel gets nice and roasted (or cooks down in a mirepoix) it looses a lot of that flavor most people aren't so sure about and turns into a really lovely, sweet onion substitute.
Mix that with some sweet carrots, smoky paprika, fresh mint and a dash of cayenne and you're well on your way to a side dish no one can dispute!
The start of something good: Variations that I love
This is one of those recipes that have the potential to become something else entirely. If you make a big batch, and you have leftovers just chop them up, pop them into a soup pot & cover the vegetable stock. Once it comes to the boil, serve with a splash of apple cider vinegar (or sauerkraut) as a hot vegetable soup with some crusty bread.
You can also serve them cold with some more mint, cooked chickpeas, olive oil & lemon juice as a fresh salad bowl it really is divine!
1 small white onion
1 fennel bulb
4 T avocado oil or olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 t cayenne
1 T smoked paprika
1-2 T apple cider vinegar
6-8 small mint leaves
10 MIN PREP + 30 MINS COOK
Start by washing your vegetables and cutting the fennel bulb into 8 or so pieces.
Toss with salt, pepper & half of the oil then place on a cooking sheet.
Next cut your carrots so they are all roughly the same size, this will help them roast evenly, and toss them with salt, pepper and the remaining oil.
Roast both trays at 400° for about 30 minutes tossing every so often to get a nice golden color on all sides.
In your mixing bowl, add your still warm veggies, vinegar, paprika, cayenne and torn mint leaves.
Give it a good stir, then adjust with more salt & pepper as needed.
WASTE LESS TIP
Fennel doesn't keep really well in the fridge, so plan on using it early in the week when you receive it in your CSA or bring it home from the market. Note that you can also use the stems & fronds! You can even freeze them to add to your next vegetable stock.