Crispy Baked Baby Fennel

Crispy Baked Baby Fennel

This crispy fennel dish makes an ideal bar snack.  The delicate flavor of the fennel is complemented by a hint of balsamic vinegar for a lovely, addictive munch.

This dish came about by happy accident.  During my early years in Johannesburg, I experimented a lot with fennel.  It was a new vegetable to me, and I was eager to get to know it.

So, I had a lot of fun trying different flavors and combinations.  Once, I even made an entire meal with fennel in every course — including dessert.  Due to its naturally sweet, anise-like flavor, fennel works particularly well in desserts.

Crispy Baked Baby Fennel |
This crispy baby fennel is a great alternative to chips and fries. A very addictive and healthy pre-dinner snack.

On an unusually busy weeknight, I was supposed to be braising fennel in the oven.  However, I cut the fennel too fine and left it in for too long.  By the time I pulled my lovely side dish out of the oven, it was anything but braised!

However, it was crispy and smelled appealing — despite its dark brown color.  So, I couldn’t resist taking a bite.  It was delicious!  With a few tweaks, my side dish became a rather addictive snack.

This crispy fennel is a great alternative to chips or fries.  It satisfies the craving for salt and crunch, and makes a lovely happy hour nibble.  Plus, being made with fennel — rather than flour or potatoes — it is practically guilt-free.


Crispy Baked Baby Fennel

Crispy, Oven-Baked Baby Fennel |
Jeanette Marie
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3 ratings
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Prep Time:  10 minutes - Cook Time:  30 minutes Servings:  6

This addictive appetizer is a healthier, more elegant take on the classic fries with salt and vinegar. Baby fennel is sliced thin and baked until crispy, then seasoned with a hint of sea salt, black pepper and balsamic vinegar.

  • 800 g baby fennel
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black Pepper, to Taste
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 190° C
  2. Trim leaves and branches from fennel, keeping them aside for another use. Slice fennel bulbs in two lengthwise, remove the cores and slice into long slivers. Place the fennel slivers in a medium size mixing bowl.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the fennel and toss to thoroughly coat the pieces with the oil.
  4. Place fennel pieces in a single layer on a parchment or silicone-lined baking tray and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
  5. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until just starting to brown.
  6. Remove from oven. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and return to the hot oven for another 8-10 minutes, or until fennel is nicely caramelized and crispy. Serve immediately.

Nutrition label for Crispy Baked Baby Fennel

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