Skip Sub-navigation

Healthy Living Recipes

Deb Morgan: I love playing around and exploring yummy new ways to enjoy a variety of veggies. Below is one of my favorite approaches to preparing fennel root. For many of you, this may be a totally new vegetable to add to your repertoire. Underrated in this country, it’s relished by the Italian. What better way to acknowledge this gastro-wonderful country than by spreading the word about fennel?

Caramelized Fennel with Goat Cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, sliced
1 fennel bulb, sliced
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon sweetener of choice (organic sugar, maple syrup, or agave)
¼ cup soft goat cheese
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds to garnish

In a large pan, heat the olive oil at a medium temperature until it starts to shimmer. Add the onions and sauté until they start to brown, about five minutes. Add the sliced fennel bulb and continue to sauté for a minute, then add the salt. Continue to sauté until the fennel becomes tender. Add the sweetener and continue to sauté, adding a splash of water if everything is beginning to stick too much.

When the fennel is nicely caramelized, top with dollops of goat cheese. Allow the heat to soften the goat cheese. Remove from heat and garnish with the pomegranate seeds (and/or chopped fennel top).

Read Mel Sotos’ Nutritional Commentary: Phyt-ing Disease with Fennel and Pomegranate.

All plants contain phytonutrients, also referred to as phytochemicals, a unique type of nutrient that doesn’t get as much attention as it should. We often grade foods by their protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamin, and mineral content, but often forget phytochemicals, which are equally important when assessing a food’s health attributes.

How do we know what foods are richest in phytochemicals? It’s actually not as hard as you think—many of these molecules contribute to the color of specific foods. So, the brighter the food, the greater the potency of these phytochemicals, and the greater the health benefit. As the phytochemical composition varies among foods, I encourage clients to “eat a rainbow” daily.

Despite not being very brightly colored, fennel contains a number of phytochemicals. Anethole has anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective effects against toxic chemical overload, while rutin and quercetin, both found in significant amounts, contain potent antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals (molecules that contribute to aging and illness). Fennel is also a good source of fiber and the antioxidant vitamin C, which also contributes to immune function.

Pomegranate’s color alone clues us in to how healthful it is! It’s chock full of phytochemicals acting as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, and it’s also a good source of the antioxidant vitamins A and E. A single pomegranate contains more antioxidants than a cup of green tea and 40 percent of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C!

Find more delicious and nutritious recipes in Kripalu Recipes.