BEFRIENDING FENNEL

By Diana Bellofatto

By Diana Bellofatto

A WORTHWHILE “FRONDSHIP”

Some people are not fond of fennel’s distinctive licorice taste. However, cooking fennel refines its flavor and tones down its tang. And with so many benefits to boast, it’s worth incorporating fennel into your diet.

Fennel is a flowering plant belonging to the Apiaceae family that also includes parsley, carrots, and celery. Its tastes are pungent, bitter, and sweet. It’s a common sight at any Mediterranean dining table, especially as an appetizer.

Fennel’s Forte

Fennel is a vegetable worth befriending—it stimulates digestion, soothes the stomach, expels phlegm, and clears coughs. Fennel also calms and brings clarity to the mind.

Unless we remain balanced, the body will start to retain excess fluid just prior to spring. Incorporating fennel into your spring diet provides you with fennel’s diuretic properties and reduces that water retention. You can also count on fennel for soluble fiber, calcium, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium.

A Note About Fennel Seeds

Candied fennel seeds are a popular snack and are offered as a digestive aid. At home, you can simply toast some fennel seeds on low heat in a dry skillet, allow them to cool completely, and then store them in an airtight container (not plastic). Chew on approximately a quarter teaspoon of fennel seeds before or after meals.

RECIPE: SPINACH AND FENNEL SAUTÉ

Serves 4 as a side dish.

If you ever find yourself at loss for incorporating greens into your diet, you can commingle spinach and fennel in this recipe for a flavorful dish. When the bold bulb of fennel makes friends with onions in this sauté, the result is a delectable, caramelized concoction. Don’t let the simplicity of this recipe fool you—it’s quite flavorful!

WATCH: Martha Stewart shows you how to cut a fennel bulb!

https://youtube.com/watch?v=1XaV8OV3oI0%3Fcontrols%3D1%26rel%3D0%26playsinline%3D0%26modestbranding%3D0%26autoplay%3D0%26enablejsapi%3D1%26origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fartoflivingretreatcenter.org%26widgetid%3D1

Ingredients

1 large bulb of fennel, thinly sliced, fronds set aside
2 large bundles or 1 large container of spinach, cleaned
1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced
1.5 tablespoons ghee for sautéing
Juice of one lemon
1/2–1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon long pepper (pippali), *substitute black pepper
2 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds
1/2 cup toasted seeds of your choice (sunflower, pumpkin etc.)
Reserved fennel fronds
Optional: Himalayan pink salt to taste

Directions

  • In a large pot, melt ghee on low-medium heat and sauté the onion and fennel (not the fronds) until soft, translucent, and lightly browned.
  • Stir in the spinach and coat with the fennel and onion mixture.
  • Pour in the vegetable broth and stir until the spinach is wilted.
  • Add lemon juice and season with long pepper (pippali) or black pepper and Himalayan pink salt to taste.
  • Garnish with seeds and fennel fronds.

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