Tasty Tuesday: Roasted Vegetables with Fresh Fennel

Last week my friend, Michelle, offered to let me take her weekly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) allotment of veggies. To my delight, I came home with two heads of fennel! I love fennel and immediately resolved to use it for dinner. After a lot of googling, I decided to add it to my roasted vegetables.

A big pan of roasting vegetables can fill the house with simply amazing aromas and this particular batch did not disappoint. In fact, it was so delicious that I am compelled to share this method with you. Roasted vegetables can be the quintessential comfort food!

bowl of veggies

This really is a method–I don’t think we can call it a recipe. I love roasting vegetables because I can take the flavors in so many directions.

The things I put into my roasted vegetables this time were:

  • 1 pound new potatoes, washed
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled
  • 1 pound fresh beets, peeled
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 vidalia (sweet) onion
  • 12 whole cloves of garlic
  • 2 heads of fennel, washed, cored, and chopped
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 2 t. coarsely ground sea salt
  • 2 t. coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/3 c. fresh rosemary
  • 1/3 c. fresh fennel fronds, chopped

I gathered all the vegetables that I planned to use and started chopping. I cut everything but the garlic cloves into cubes that were approximately 1 inch square and put them in a bowl.

vegetables

veggiesthrucarrotsveggies thru fennel

Before I chopped up the fennel heads, I washed them thoroughly and trimmed off the fronds. There’s a tough core in the center that needs to be removed as well. Remove the toughest outer leaves. Chop coarsely. Next time I probably will chop it up a little finer than what you see in the photos.

trimming fenneltrimmed fennel headfennel corecored fennel

I mixed all the vegetables together and tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary and fennel frond. (Adjust the quantites on the oil and pepper to suit your family’s tastes.)

I spread the vegetable mix out in two deep pans. If you don’t have a roaster pan and lid to use for this, a couple of large baking dishes (like cake pans) will work too.

veggies in roasters

I put the pans into an oven that had been preheated to 400 degrees. I baked the veggies for about an hour and a half or until the vegetables were fork tender. I stirred occasionally during this time and switched racks halfway through because I had the pans on both the top and bottom racks. Be prepared to think your house smells like a little corner of Heaven.
roasted veggies close
I served these vegetables with roasted chicken and everyone here felt like we were having the most special meal. We all fight over the roasted garlic cloves but feel free to leave them out if your family doesn’t like them.
Now for my true confession…..I was so excited about getting fresh fennel that I looked for the largest heads I could find in the bin. That was probably a mistake. My greed did not serve me well on this occasion. The fennel was just a little bit tough. I think if I had gone for a couple of the smaller heads, I would have found it to be more tender.
I put all the trimmings from the fennel that I did not use into my ziplock bag of vegetable trimmings and I’ll use those to make veggie stock sometime next week.
I also took the leftovers of the roasted vegetables and used them in soup the next day. All their roasted goodness flavored the soup in some amazing ways.
There are many other variations on roasted vegetables that you can experiment with. Try different root vegetables like turnips or rutabegas. Throw in a sliced bell pepper about 20 minutes before you’re done roasting the vegetables. Try different oils and different fresh herbs. This is one of the most flexible ways to use vegetables and the leftovers ALWAYS make wonderful soups.
PS: I apologize for the spacing on the last few paragraphs of this post. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get my spaces to “stick.”

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Comments

  1. For a little extra punch, cut up Italian sausages and mix with the vegetables.

  2. Ohh, that sounds yummy Bruce! And what type of bread would you pair this with?