Cet été, en cuisine… le fenouil !

This summer, in the kitchen… fennel!

Fennel is a perennial plant that tolerates summer drought well. In Quebec, it is generally grown from June to September. As food, we mainly consume the bulb and the few stems attached to it. It is therefore consumed as a vegetable. It is also possible to obtain dried fennel seeds or leaves all year round!

In the mouth, we recognize fennel by its fresh and crunchy texture (reminiscent of celery), with a slightly aniseed taste (reminiscent of black licorice). Its balanced fragrance will bring life to your favorite summer meals! Although they are quite different, some confuse fennel with its friend dill, probably because of their "hairy" leaves. Be careful not to be misunderstood!


Fennel is made up of more than 90% water, hence its crunchy and juicy taste in the mouth! Although fennel is not the star vegetable when it comes to vitamins and minerals, it is still a source of a wide range of nutrients: iron, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, as well as vitamin B3 and vitamin C. However, like all its green vegetable friends, fennel is an excellent source of vitamin K. For example, 100 g of fennel represents almost 60% of the daily sufficient intake!*

Generally speaking, green vegetables are often associated with high levels of vitamin K. Aside from fennel, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, watercress, spinach and certain herbs also contain a lot of vitamin K (for name only a few examples). In the human body, it is rather associated with bone health and blood formation. Take note that in general, it is not very necessary to worry about your vitamin K consumption, as long as you eat a variety of foods!**


If you are allergic to pollen (primarily birch), you may be more sensitive to fennel than others. For what ? Well, some fennel proteins are strangely similar to some pollen proteins. This is called pollen-food syndrome. The body does not differentiate between these proteins, which triggers a cascade of immune system reactions. Several other foods can trigger this syndrome.

Symptoms often present as oral itching and tingling. If this is your case, do not hesitate to consult your doctor to find out more. However, cooking can reduce these symptoms. Cooking modifies the structure of the food (and its proteins!), misleading our body's recognition system.***


Depending on the meals you want to cook, you might need the stems and leaves, or the bulb. Generally, we prefer the bulb for our salads and we keep the leaves to season our favorite dishes! Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is a simplified technique for cutting your fennel!
  1. Cut the stems from the bulb and separate the bulb into quarters

  2. If desired, remove the harder part at the base of the bulb: the base and heart can sometimes be fibrous!

  3. Slice the bulb

  4. Separate the leaves from the stems, then slice the latter

Source: Bon Appétit


Despite its particular taste, fennel can be used in many dishes! Here are some ideas for cooking it:

In raw vegetables - Quite simply! Serve it with carrots and celery, and our favorite dip. Its crunchy texture and aniseed taste are very refreshing!

In salad - Fennel fits into any salad. We recommend slicing it finely for a more pleasant texture. Add some “ crunch ” to your salads by combining fennel with celery and apples, or serve fennel as a “brunch salad”: spinach, strawberries and mustard vinaigrette will make a memorable salad!

Grilled - On a skewer or in slices, fennel brings a welcome freshness to BBQ evenings. It becomes tender and almost melting, while gaining a nice little smoky taste. Perfect for summer dinners!

Caramelized - In a pan, cook the fennel in a little butter or oil until it becomes translucent. Then, we deglaze with a little honey, maple syrup or even orange juice. Let it caramelize, to obtain a slightly sweet, tender and deliciously aniseed side vegetable!

Roast - We cut the fennel into sections, then put it on a plate with carrots and a drizzle of oil, before roasting it like any roast vegetable. Delicious simply as a side vegetable.

In summary, we love fennel for its wide range of textures. Raw, it is crunchy and refreshing, while roasted or caramelized, it becomes tender and melting. It also retains its aniseed taste which makes your mouth water!


* Data comes from the Canadian Nutrient File by Health Canada, per 100 g of food.

** Source: Nutrition, by M. Bélanger / M. Leblanc / M. Dubost

*** Source: Extenso – Reference Center on Nutrition at the University of Montreal

#Summer #Nutrition #Cooking #Vegetable #Fennel #VitaminK #Salad #Raw #Grill #Caramelized #Roasted

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