fennel recipes
Category Ingredients that Pair with Fennel
Fruits Orange, Lemon, Apple
Vegetables Celery, Onions, Bell Peppers
Spices/Herbs Dill, Parsley, Thyme
Proteins Fish (especially salmon and trout), Pork, Chicken
Breads & Grains Risotto, Quinoa, Pasta
Drinks White wines, Anise-based spirits, Herbal teas

Fennel is a versatile ingredient that can be transformed into delicious recipes and paired with a variety of complementary dishes. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or an aspiring home cook, fennel offers endless possibilities to elevate your culinary creations.

Many chefs recommend incorporating fennel into salads, either raw or lightly cooked. Its crisp texture and subtle anise flavor add a refreshing twist to any salad creation. But the versatility of fennel doesn’t stop there.

When it comes to pairing fennel with other ingredients, the options are abundant. For seafood lovers, the combination of fennel and fish or shellfish is a match made in culinary heaven. The delicate sweetness of fennel complements the flavors of seafood, creating a delightful harmony on the palate.

For those who enjoy zesty and vibrant flavors, fennel and citrus are a perfect blend. The tangy and aromatic notes of citrus fruits like oranges and lemons enhance the natural earthiness of fennel, resulting in a refreshing and invigorating combination.

The pairing of fennel and pork is another classic culinary match. The robust flavor of pork, whether it’s in the form of sausages or slow-cooked dishes, pairs beautifully with the gentle sweetness of fennel, creating a symphony of flavors.

If you’re a cheese enthusiast, fennel also shines when paired with various types of cheese. The crisp texture and licorice-like flavor of fennel complement the creamy and savory notes of cheeses like goat cheese, feta, or even blue cheese, creating a delightful contrast of flavors and textures.

No discussion of fennel pairings would be complete without mentioning its transformation when roasted. Roasting fennel brings out its natural sweetness and caramelizes its edges, resulting in a delectable and slightly sweet taste that adds depth to any dish.

And let’s not forget the combination of fennel and apple. The crisp and juicy texture of apples pairs perfectly with the refreshing and subtly sweet flavor of fennel, creating a delightful balance of flavors.

When it comes to using fennel in various dishes, the possibilities are endless. Whether it’s adding it to pasta, risotto, or even coleslaw, fennel adds a distinct flavor profile that takes these dishes to a whole new level.

Key Takeaways:

  • Fennel is a versatile ingredient that can be used in salads, seafood dishes, and paired with pork, cheese, citrus fruits, apples, and more.
  • Roasting fennel brings out its natural sweetness and creates a caramelized flavor.
  • Pairing fennel with citrus fruits adds a zesty and refreshing kick to dishes.
  • Fennel can be incorporated into various dishes like pasta, risotto, and coleslaw to add a unique and distinctive flavor.
  • Other recommended pairings include aromatic herbs like dill and thyme, as well as spices like chickpeas and cumin.

Fennel in Salads

Fennel adds a unique crunch and delicate anise flavor when incorporated into salads, making it a delightful addition to any bowl of greens. Whether used raw or lightly cooked, fennel brings a refreshing and aromatic quality to salads that elevates their taste and texture.

One popular way to enjoy fennel in salads is by thinly slicing the bulb and tossing it with crisp greens, such as lettuce or arugula. The mild licorice taste of fennel complements the freshness of the greens, creating a harmonious blend of flavors. To enhance the salad further, a dressing made with olive oil, lemon juice, and a touch of honey can be drizzled over the fennel and greens.

What goes with Fennel

“Fennel brings a refreshing and aromatic quality to salads that elevates their taste and texture.”

For those who prefer a more substantial salad, fennel can be paired with other complementary ingredients. Thinly sliced apples, tangy goat cheese, and toasted walnuts create a satisfying salad with a balance of sweet and savory flavors. The crispness of the fennel and apples, combined with the creaminess of the cheese and the nuttiness of the walnuts, make for a delightful combination.

Fennel Salad Recipe:

  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups mixed greens
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, combine the fennel, mixed greens, apple slices, crumbled goat cheese, and toasted walnuts.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine.
  4. Serve immediately and enjoy!

With its versatility and unique flavor, fennel brings a fresh twist to salads, transforming them into satisfying and delicious meals. Whether you prefer a simple green salad with fennel or a more complex combination of ingredients, incorporating this aromatic herb into your salads will surely elevate your dining experience.

Fennel with Seafood

Fennel’s mild sweetness and aromatic notes beautifully complement the natural brininess of seafood, creating a culinary match made in heaven. Whether you’re a seafood lover or simply looking to try something new, incorporating fennel into your seafood dishes is a surefire way to elevate their flavors.

One popular way to enjoy fennel with seafood is by using it in fish stews and broths. The anise-like flavor of fennel adds depth and complexity to the dish, while its texture becomes tender and delicate when cooked. The combination of fennel, fresh seafood, and fragrant herbs creates a comforting and flavorful meal that is perfect for colder months.

“Fennel and seafood are a match made in heaven. The sweet, crisp flavor of fennel pairs well with a wide range of seafood options, from delicate whitefish to robust shellfish,” says Chef Julia Simmons.

Seafood Recommended Fennel Pairing
Salmon Fennel and Dill
Scallops Fennel and Lemon
Prawns Fennel and Garlic

In addition to cooked dishes, fennel can also be enjoyed raw in seafood salads. Thinly sliced fennel adds a refreshing crunch and subtle sweetness to a variety of seafood salad recipes. Toss together some fresh shrimp, cherry tomatoes, fennel, and a zesty citrus dressing for a light and vibrant salad that is perfect for a summer lunch.

Whether you’re a seafood aficionado or a curious foodie, fennel is a versatile ingredient that brings out the best in seafood. Its unique flavor profile and culinary versatility make it a perfect addition to your seafood dishes, allowing you to create delicious and memorable meals.

Fennel and Citrus

The vibrant flavors of citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons, perfectly balance the earthy taste of fennel, resulting in a delightful combination. When combined, the bright acidity of citrus cuts through the rich, anise-like flavor of fennel, creating a refreshing and zesty contrast. Whether used in salads, marinades, or even as a garnish, the pairing of fennel and citrus adds a burst of flavor to any dish.

One popular way to enjoy fennel and citrus together is in a refreshing salad. Thinly sliced fennel bulbs provide a crisp texture, while the tangy citrus segments add juiciness and brightness. Tossed together with a simple vinaigrette and some fresh herbs, this salad is a burst of summer on your plate.

“The combination of fennel and citrus brings a unique twist to classic dishes, adding complexity and a burst of flavor.”

Beyond salads, fennel and citrus also work wonders in seafood dishes. The slightly sweet and aromatic flavor of fennel pairs particularly well with fish, and when combined with the tanginess of citrus, it creates a harmony of flavors that elevates any seafood dish. From grilled fish with fennel and orange salsa to baked salmon with lemon and fennel butter, the possibilities are endless.

So, whether you’re looking to add a zesty kick to your salads, brighten up your seafood dishes, or simply explore new flavor combinations, don’t hesitate to reach for the dynamic duo of fennel and citrus. This versatile pairing is sure to add a burst of freshness and complexity to your meals.

fennel and citrus

Fennel and Citrus Salad A refreshing salad that combines thinly sliced fennel bulbs, citrus segments, and a simple vinaigrette.
Grilled Fish with Fennel and Orange Salsa A delicious seafood dish featuring grilled fish topped with a vibrant salsa made from fennel and orange.
Baked Salmon with Lemon and Fennel Butter A succulent salmon fillet baked to perfection and served with a flavorful butter made from fennel and lemon.

Fennel with Pork

The robust flavor of pork pairs exceptionally well with the sweet and aromatic notes of fennel, creating a harmony of tastes that is hard to resist. Whether you’re grilling, roasting, or braising, incorporating fennel into your pork dishes adds a unique and delicious twist. Here are some mouthwatering ways to enjoy the combination of fennel and pork:

1. Fennel-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

One simple and flavorful way to enjoy fennel with pork is by creating a fennel rub for your pork tenderloin. Mix together ground fennel seeds, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a touch of olive oil to form a paste. Rub this mixture generously onto the pork tenderloin and let it marinate for at least an hour. Then, grill or roast the tenderloin until it reaches your desired level of doneness. The result is a tender and juicy pork tenderloin infused with the aromatic flavors of fennel.

2. Italian Sausage and Fennel Pasta

Fennel and pork sausage are a match made in culinary heaven. In this hearty pasta dish, sauté Italian sausage with sliced fennel, onions, and garlic until the sausage is browned and the fennel is tender. Add cooked pasta to the skillet and toss everything together, allowing the flavors to meld. Finish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley for a satisfying and comforting meal.

3. Fennel-Stuffed Roast Pork

Elevate your Sunday roast with a fennel-stuffed pork loin or pork belly. Create a stuffing mixture by combining sautéed fennel, breadcrumbs, garlic, and herbs. Butterfly the pork loin or create a pocket in the pork belly and stuff it with the fennel mixture. Roll and tie the meat, then roast it in the oven until it’s golden and cooked through. The fennel not only imparts its delightful flavor to the pork but also keeps it moist and succulent.

These are just a few examples of how fennel can enhance the taste of pork dishes. The versatility of fennel allows you to experiment with different cooking methods and flavor combinations. Whether you’re a fan of roasts, sausages, or tenderloins, incorporating fennel into your pork recipes will take your culinary creations to the next level.

fennel and pork

Fennel and Cheese

Whether it’s a sharp cheddar, creamy Brie, or tangy goat cheese, the addition of fennel brings a unique twist to cheese-based dishes and platters. Fennel’s subtle anise-like flavor and crisp texture complement a wide range of cheeses, creating a delightful combination that will impress your taste buds. From appetizers to main courses, the pairing of fennel and cheese adds depth and complexity to any dish.

To create a stunning cheeseboard, consider pairing fennel with a variety of cheeses, such as Gorgonzola, Camembert, and Manchego. The mild sweetness of the fennel balances the bold and creamy notes of these cheeses, creating a harmonious blend of flavors. You can also add fennel to cheese-based salads, like a refreshing fennel and feta salad, where the crispness of the fennel contrasts beautifully with the creaminess of the cheese.

“The combination of fennel and cheese adds a unique twist to classic dishes. The anise flavor of fennel enhances the richness of the cheese, creating a taste sensation that is sure to impress.”

If you’re feeling adventurous, try incorporating fennel and cheese into baked dishes, like a fennel and goat cheese tart or a fennel and Parmesan gratin. The warmth of the oven brings out the sweetness of the fennel, while the cheese melts and forms a delicious crust on top. The result is a dish that is both comforting and wonderfully flavorful.

fennel and cheese

  • Cheddar and Fennel
  • Brie and Fennel
  • Goat Cheese and Fennel
  • Gorgonzola and Fennel
  • Camembert and Fennel

The combination of fennel and cheese opens up a world of exciting culinary possibilities. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply want to explore new flavor combinations, fennel’s versatility and cheese’s richness will take your dishes to the next level. So, don’t hesitate to experiment and enjoy the delightful pairing of fennel and cheese in your next gastronomic adventure!

Roasted Fennel

Roasting fennel transforms its texture and flavor, giving it a tender and succulent quality that pairs beautifully with a variety of dishes. Whether you’re looking to add depth to your salads, enhance the flavors of seafood, or create a flavorful side dish, roasted fennel is a versatile ingredient that can elevate your culinary creations.

When roasted, fennel takes on a caramelized sweetness that perfectly complements its subtle anise-like taste. The heat of the oven softens the fibrous texture of the fennel, making it melt-in-your-mouth tender. The result is a vegetable that adds a unique and delightful flavor profile to any dish.

To roast fennel, simply trim the stalks and fronds, and then slice the bulb into wedges or thin slices. Toss the fennel with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread it out on a baking sheet. Roast in a preheated oven at 425°F (220°C) for about 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the fennel is tender.

Once roasted, the possibilities are endless. Serve the roasted fennel as a side dish alongside roasted meats, use it in salads for added depth and texture, or incorporate it into pasta dishes for a burst of flavor. The versatility of roasted fennel makes it a must-have ingredient in any kitchen.

Roasted Fennel Recipe:


  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. Trim the stalks and fronds from the fennel bulbs, and slice the bulbs into wedges or thin slices.
  3. In a bowl, toss the fennel with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Spread the fennel out on a baking sheet.
  5. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the fennel is tender.
  6. Serve as a side dish, in salads, or incorporate into other dishes as desired.
Pairings Recommended Dishes
Seafood Grilled salmon with roasted fennel
Citrus fruits Roasted fennel and orange salad
Pork Roasted fennel and pork chops
Cheese Roasted fennel and goat cheese tart
Herbs and spices Roasted fennel with dill and cumin

roasted fennel image

Fennel and Apple

The natural sweetness of apple complements the delicate anise taste of fennel, creating a refreshing and balanced flavor combination. Whether used in salads, roasted dishes, or paired with cheese, fennel and apple add a delightful twist to any recipe.

One popular way to enjoy fennel and apple is in a salad. The crispness of the apple and the crunch of the fennel create a satisfying texture, while the combination of flavors adds depth. Try tossing thinly sliced fennel and apple with a tangy vinaigrette, some fresh greens, and a sprinkle of toasted walnuts for a delicious and healthy salad option.

If you prefer warm dishes, consider roasting fennel and apple together. The heat brings out the natural sweetness of both ingredients, resulting in a caramelized and slightly sweet taste. This combination is particularly delicious when served alongside roasted pork or chicken.

Another fantastic way to use fennel and apple is in a cheese platter. The crispness of the apple and the licorice flavor of the fennel complement a variety of cheeses, such as creamy brie or tangy blue cheese. Serve them together on a platter with some crackers or crusty bread for a simple yet elegant appetizer.

Fennel and Apple Pairings
Salad with thinly sliced fennel and apple, dressed with a tangy vinaigrette and topped with toasted walnuts
Roasted fennel and apple served alongside pork or chicken
Fennel and apple slices on a cheese platter, paired with brie or blue cheese

In summary, the combination of fennel and apple offers a refreshing and balanced flavor that can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes. Whether in a salad, roasted, or paired with cheese, fennel and apple bring a unique and delicious twist to your meals. Give it a try and discover the delightful flavors this pairing has to offer.

fennel and apple

Other Fennel Pairings

Alongside fennel, ingredients like dill, thyme, chickpeas, and cumin can elevate the taste of a dish, adding layers of complexity and depth. These aromatic herbs and spices complement the subtle anise flavor of fennel, creating a harmonious blend of tastes. Let’s explore how these ingredients can be used in various dishes to enhance the overall flavor profile.

One popular pairing is fennel with dill. The fresh and bright flavor of dill complements the crispness of fennel, making it a great addition to salads or seafood dishes. Try mixing thinly sliced fennel with chopped dill, lemon juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt for a refreshing and vibrant salad.

Ingredients Instructions
1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced In a large bowl, combine the sliced fennel, chopped dill, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt.
2 tablespoons of fresh dill, chopped Toss everything together until well coated.
Juice of 1 lemon Let the salad marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil Serve chilled and enjoy!
Salt, to taste

In addition, thyme is a wonderful herb that pairs well with fennel. Its earthy and slightly floral notes complement the sweetness of fennel. Try adding a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves to roasted fennel for a delightful flavor combination. The thyme adds a subtle depth to the caramelized fennel, creating a delicious side dish.

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, can add a hearty and nutty element to fennel dishes. They work well in soups, stews, or even roasted alongside fennel. The creamy texture and mild flavor of chickpeas enhance the overall taste and provide a satisfying protein boost.

Lastly, cumin can bring a warm and smoky flavor to fennel-based recipes. Whether it’s a spice rub for grilled fennel or a seasoning for roasted vegetables with fennel, the combination of cumin and fennel creates a tantalizing blend of spices. The aromatic and slightly bitter notes of cumin complement the natural sweetness of fennel, resulting in a well-balanced dish.

Experimenting with these fennel pairings can open up a world of unique and flavorful possibilities. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or an amateur cook, adding these ingredients to your repertoire will elevate your dishes and impress your taste buds. So, don’t hesitate to get creative in the kitchen and explore the amazing potential of fennel and its perfect partners!


Fennel in Various Dishes

Fennel can be used creatively in a variety of dishes, from pasta and risotto to coleslaw, offering a unique taste and aroma. Its distinct flavor adds depth and complexity to these popular dishes, taking them to a whole new level. Whether you’re a fan of Italian cuisine or looking to add a refreshing twist to your coleslaw, fennel is the ingredient you need.

In pasta dishes, fennel can be sliced thin and sautéed with garlic and olive oil, creating a deliciously savory sauce. The anise-like flavor of fennel pairs perfectly with the richness of the pasta, providing a delightful contrast of flavors. The addition of fennel to risotto brings a subtle sweetness and an intriguing hint of licorice, transforming a simple dish into a gourmet delight.

For those who enjoy coleslaw, fennel can be a game-changer. Its crisp texture and refreshing taste add complexity to the traditional cabbage and carrot base. Toss in some thinly sliced fennel, along with a tangy dressing, and you’ll have a coleslaw that stands out from the crowd. The combination of fennel’s unique flavor and the crunchiness of the other vegetables creates a truly memorable side dish.


Recipe Ingredients Instructions
Pasta with Fennel and Sausage Fennel, sausage, garlic, red pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese, pasta 1. Sauté garlic, sausage, and fennel in olive oil.
2. Cook pasta according to instructions.
3. Toss cooked pasta with sausage and fennel mixture.
4. Top with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.
Risotto with Fennel and Lemon Fennel, Arborio rice, vegetable broth, onion, white wine, lemon zest, Parmesan cheese 1. Sauté onion and fennel in butter.
2. Add Arborio rice and cook until translucent.
3. Gradually add vegetable broth and white wine, stirring constantly.
4. Once the rice is cooked, stir in lemon zest and Parmesan cheese.
Fennel Coleslaw Fennel, cabbage, carrots, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, sugar 1. Shred cabbage and carrots.
2. Slice fennel thinly.
3. In a separate bowl, mix mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and sugar to make the dressing.
4. Combine the vegetables with the dressing and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.


Fennel is a versatile ingredient that can elevate a wide range of dishes, whether used in salads, paired with seafood or pork, or incorporated into various recipes. It adds a distinct taste and aroma that can transform a simple dish into a culinary delight.

When it comes to salads, fennel brings a refreshing and crunchy element. Whether enjoyed raw or lightly cooked, it adds a unique flavor that pairs well with ingredients like citrus fruits, olives, and apples. The combination of fennel’s anise-like taste with the zesty sweetness of citrus creates a delightful balance in every bite.

When paired with seafood, fennel enhances the flavors of fish, shrimp, or scallops. The crisp texture of fennel complements the delicate nature of seafood, while the subtle licorice notes bring a subtle depth to the dish. Whether grilled, sautéed, or baked, the combination of fennel and seafood is a match made in culinary heaven.

Fennel also makes a perfect partner for pork, as the natural sweetness of the vegetable complements the rich and savory flavors of the meat. Whether braised alongside pork chops or incorporated into a sausage stuffing, fennel adds a wonderful complexity that elevates the overall dish.

Additionally, fennel can be used to add a unique flavor to various dishes. Roasting fennel brings out its natural sweetness, creating a caramelized and slightly nutty taste. The aromatic herbs like dill and thyme pair beautifully with fennel, while spices like cumin add depth and warmth. Fennel can also be incorporated into pasta, risotto, or coleslaw to add a distinctive and delicious flavor.

In conclusion, whether you are a seasoned chef or a home cook, adding fennel to your recipes can take your dishes to new heights. Its versatility allows for endless possibilities, from refreshing salads to hearty seafood and pork dishes. So, the next time you’re in the kitchen, don’t forget to include fennel and unlock a world of flavor.

By Mat Stuckey

Ex professional chef with a passion for cooking and unique flavours.

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