If you live in a part of the country where asparagus and peas are still months away or simply refuse to rise before the sun to snatch them at the market, spring cooking can be pretty blah. Unless you stock up on fennel at the grocery store. The licorice-like flavor wakes up everything from pork to greens and offers a huge boost of good-for-you nutrients. One cup of the sliced bulb is just 27 calories and loaded with fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, according to Men’s Health. These five recipes will show you how to turn the overlooked vegetable into some delicious meals.
1. Shakshuka with Fennel and Feta
Cooking the same scrambled or over-easy eggs every morning leads to breakfast burnout. Give your favorite morning protein a makeover with this take on a Middle Eastern favorite from Food & Wine. The recipe adds even more flavor by tossing in some fennel and adding a sprinkle of feta cheese.
Plenty of protein and fiber are the obvious reasons to go for this delicious breakfast recipe, but you should also count bone health among its benefits. One 2013 study found stem cells treated with fennel extract were better able to combat the effects of osteoporosis. This is especially good news for those who don’t tend to consume much milk or yogurt.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 small fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 serrano chiles, seeded and chopped
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- Kosher salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- 1 teaspoon sweet Spanish smoked paprika
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, chopped with liquid
- ½ cup water
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
Directions: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and fennel and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add chiles and bell pepper. Season with salt and cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, harissa, and paprika. Continue to cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and water. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
Crack eggs into sauce. Cover and cook over low heat until whites are set and yolks are runny, about 5 minutes. Spoon sauce and eggs into bowls and top with parsley and feta. Serve.