Improve Your Produce IQ: Fennel

From Sound Dietitians, a partner of the Verdant Health Commission. View the complete blog post and recipes from Sound Dietitians at


​The other week, I was chatting with someone who has been reading these blog posts. When I asked this person, “What vegetable do you next want to read about?” the request was fennel. I think fennel is one of the most overlooked vegetables in the produce aisle. And I think you are missing out by avoiding it.

Picture of fennel

Fennel is in the parsley/carrot family, so you will see many recipes, including the one below, pairing carrots and fennel. Other vegetables in this family include parsnips, and spices such as anise, celery seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, dill, cumin and parsley.

It is most abundant in the winter months, but you will generally find it year-round in the grocery store. The price may vary more than its availability.

It’s texture is similar to celery – think of that fresh, crisp crunch. When cut into, fennel is in segments, like a whole celery “bunch” is. It’s easiest to cut it when you halve it first from top to bottom, so you have a flat edge to lay down on the cutting board. Some folks will use the entire vegetable; others will only use the white part, with maybe a sprinkling of chopped fronds for decoration.

What does fennel taste like?
Both the vegetable fennel and fennel seeds have a mild taste of anise or licorice. Some folks love these flavors; some, not so much. If you are in the second category, one of the best ways to get fennel into your vegetable rotation is to use it in smaller quantities, in proportion to the rest of the dish, as you can see in the recipe linked below.

View the rest of the blog post from Nancy Miller, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with Sound Dietitians, for preparation ideas, nutrition information, and a recipe for Lemony Carrot Fennel Salad on the Sound Dietitians blog: