As delicious as fennel is, I am always hoping to create recipes that will do its unique flavor full justice, like my Fennel Crusted Potatoes and Pasta with Fennel Pesto. This past week, trying to do something wonderful with a couple of beautiful bulbs of fennel, I put together this quick, very simple, but very flavorful side dish of Roasted Vegetables with Fennel Vinaigrette.
In India, fennel seeds are a common ingredient in the spice pantry, but fresh fennel is not. In fact, I had never cooked with the vegetable before I moved to the United States because it wasn’t available at least in Bombay. It’s easy to fall in love with this versatile vegetable with a crisp, sweet, licorice flavor. This is also a very nutritious vegetable, with anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. But cooking with fennel can be both simple and tricky. Simple because it doesn’t take much to make something delicious with fennel because you already have so much flavor to start out with. Tricky because adding it in with the wrong ingredients can lead to the fennel overwhelming the dish or being overwhelmed by stronger ingredients.
My Roasted Vegetables with Fennel Vinaigrette is a very versatile dish. Use any robust vegetable that would stand up well to roasting and hold its shape and a bit of crunch in the oven. I used carrots, potatoes, and fennel bulbs, but sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, or even plantains would work here.
It’s getting late as I write this and I have a busy day at work tomorrow, so I’ll leave for now — but not before I share with you this recipe. Enjoy, all!
Roasted Vegetables with Fennel Vinaigrette
2 bulbs fennel. Cut off the leaves and stems and peel the tough outer layers of the bulbs. Chop the bulbs roughly into a 1-inch dice.
2 large potatoes, cut into a 1-inch dice.
2 carrots, cut into a 1-inch dice
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Salt to taste
Olive oil to spray
Place the vegetables on a baking sheet sprayed with oil and toss with the salt and black pepper. Spray some more oil over the top of the vegetables.
Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45-60 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through and lightly golden-brown.
For the vinaigrette:
Tender stalks and leaves of the fennel, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Place all the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a blender and blitz until everything’s blended pretty fine.
Pour over the roasted vegetables, toss to mix, and serve immediately.
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