I am always experimenting with vegetables as I am vegan and veggies make up a huge part of my meal plan. A few years back I started to purchase fennel, also known as anise. I love this nutritious and tasty vegetable and it has now become a regular visitor to my dinner plate.
Fennel is a member of the carrot family. It has a slightly sweet taste like carrots do. It also has a slightly unique licorice taste to it.
Fennel contains a great combo of phytonutrients and flavonoids that give it a very strong antioxidant activity in the body. The strongest phytonutrient in fennel is anethole. This phytonutrient has been shown to reduce inflammation in humans and to help in fighting off cancer.
Fennel is also an excellent source of vitamin C which is one of the bodies free radical fighters. The vitamin C in fennel also helps with proper function of the immune system.
A very good source of fiber, fennel will help to keep your cholesterol in check, help to sweep carcinogens from the body through the digestive system and potentially assist in keeping colon cancer away. You will also benefit from the vitamin B and potassium in fennel.
Fennel is a very commonly used veggie in Europe and plays an important role in the healthy Mediterranean diet.
When buying fennel at your local market look for clean, firm bulbs. Bring it home and store it in your refrigerator for no more than 4 days before using it. The bulb, stalk and leaves of the fennel can all be used in recipes.
You can saute fennel in good extra virgin olive oil with minced garlic and onion to make a simple side dish. I like to toss the fennel chunks in olive oil and Himalayan pink salt and fresh ground black pepper and fresh rosemary and bake it in the oven on a cookie sheet for about 30 minutes at 375. Once done sprinkle with parmesan cheese (unless of course you are vegan) and you have a delicious side dish. You can also use fennel raw in salads. It goes particularly well with avocado and citrus such as orange slices or grapefruit as a salad course.
Here is a yummy recipe:
LEMON BRAISED FENNEL
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 minced shallots
2 fennel bulbs, cut into quarters
2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. water
Himalayan pink salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp. fresh parsley or tarragon minced to sprinkle on top
Heat oil in a pan and add shallots and fennel and sauté for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and water, salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes in the pan. Sprinkle with tarragon or parsley and serve. Oh how yummy this is!