Fennel Experiments

When I signed up for my CSA, I knew I’d be getting fennel.  I was a bit nervous about this, because fennel is one of the few vegetables I had never tasted, and all I knew about it was that it smelled and tasted like black licorice.  And I hate black licorice.  The CSA has an option to not receive any item you don’t like, but I figured I’d give fennel a chance before I took it off my list.  And I’m glad I did, cause I think I kinda like it.

I don’t remember where I got the idea to put fennel in a quiche, but I do know I read that roasted fennel does not taste like licorice, so I knew that was the way to go for my first try.  I based my quiche off of this broccoli quiche from The PPK.  For some reason I thought it would be okay to use silken tofu (it was not) and so my first try kinda fell apart.  It tasted fantastic though, so I knew I had to get it right.

Okay, so it didn’t exactly hold together this time either.  I have a hard time waiting for it to cool!  I promise it does stay together after time in the fridge, so I guess maybe I’d recommend chiling it for a few hours or overnight to ensure quiche stay-togetherness. 

I think this would also taste fantastic with summer vegetables – yellow squash, eggplant, red bell pepper, dill and maybe even fresh corn.

Quiche art:

Roasted Veggie Tofu Quiche

1 prepared 9-inch pie crust
1/2 fennel bulb, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 c unsalted cashews
1 lb extra-firm tofu
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp kosher salt
black pepper
1/2 of a 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained
2 Tbs chopped fennel frond

If your pie crust is frozen, take it out of the freezer to thaw.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the fennel bulb, onion, carrot and garlic in an aluminum foil lined pan. Drizzle the oil over the veggies and stir to coat. Roast the veggies in the oven for 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Take the veggies out of the oven and lower the temperature to 350F.

While the veggies are cooling, process the cashews in a food processor into fine crumbs. Drain the water from the tofu, and crumble it into the food processor. Add the mustard and process until mostly smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula.

Transfer the tofu mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients (thyme through fennel frond) and mix until well combined. Use the spatula to pour the mixture into the pie crust, and smooth out the top. Bake for 40 minutes, and let cool to room temperature before serving.

This should probably serve 8, but I manage to eat it in 5 or 6 servings max.

With the halves left over from my first quiche (fennel, onion and canned tomatoes) I made a quick sauteed pasta sauce to go with whole wheat fettuccine, and topped it with sesame parmesan and (not quite toasted enough) butternut seeds.

Making this reinforced the fact that adding some pasta cooking water back to the pasta really does help with sauciness.

In an internet search for fennel recipes, I came across one for fennel-tuna sandwiches.  This recipe called only for the fennel fronds, and I had plenty of those left, so I made the Chickpea “Tuna” Salad from Vegan Deli and added lots of chopped fennel frond.  I also added some nori for fishiness.  The result was very tasty!  Perfect on a sandwich with lots of lettuce.  Although for some reason I could NOT get a decent picture of this meal.

Verdict:  Fennel is A-OK.  Give it a chance!

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16 Comments »

  1. vegyogini said

    I love fennel! I’m so happy you gave it a chance. 🙂

  2. Kiersten said

    I wish I liked fennel. I’ve tried it so many times but I just can’t get used to the taste. It reminds me too much of black licorice, which I hate! I’m glad you had luck with it though.

  3. i’ve been nervous about fennel in the past (i’ve never tried it though), but i’m going to have to give it a try! that quiche sounds so, so good.

  4. Lauren said

    i’ve never tried anything like that before, but yours looks so good! i might have to take you up on trying it 😉

  5. Sophie said

    oh my gosh i’m so with you on the fennel. when it’s roasted it’s one of my favorite things!

  6. Mom said

    Your quiche art is beautiful! Hmmm…organic, edible art…have you ever thought about creating a gallery of food super close-ups?

  7. I’ve had the same fears about fennel. I HATE licorice and I’m not a fan of anise. So I assumed I wouldn’t like fennel either. I once accidentally bought some Tom’s of Maine toothpaste with fennel in it, and it was gross. But I may have to give it a chance cooked. I’d love to make a quiche!!!

  8. Cyn said

    I’m not crazy about fennel either, but now I don’t mind it in salads or whatever. You should try it on pizza, it’s really delicious!

  9. Ricki said

    Now I’m thinking I should re-think fennel–not really a fan! The “tuna” sandwich sounds fabulous, though. 🙂

  10. t said

    Wow, that pasta looks luscious! And I’ve been meaning to try a vegan quiche, yours looks great!

    Isn’t it fun when you discover a new veggie?!

  11. Melisser said

    I’m still fennelphobic, but you make it sound good!

  12. Diann said

    Not a fennel fan either, but your dishes sound wonderful!

  13. Vegetation said

    Fennel surprised me too! I’m not much of a liquorice fan (unless it’s covered in chocolate!) but I really like fennel. I generally either roast it or just braise it in a non stick frypan. Mmmm. I love your creations!

  14. Caroline said

    I have the same fear of fennel…maybe I’ll give it a try one of these days…

  15. cassie said

    I’ve never made a tofu quiche before and am intrigued. Looks and sounds delicious. That chickpea salad sounds wonderful too, and what a good idea to add in nori.

  16. Jodye said

    I’m a fennelphone, myself, but you just may have convinced me to give it a try! your meals look delicious!

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