Fennel Risotto

Fennel is one of those veggies that often sits in the produce section under curious eyes or in the fridge crisper drawers of bewildered CSA members untouched. The question: What on earth do you do with fennel?

Well, until recently, I had this same question. I’ve eaten fennel in a lot of ways. . . roasted, in stir frys, chopped up, sliced, and raw. All of the ways I’ve had it before, I couldn’t seem to get past its characteristically strong licorice flavor. And then, I figured it out. The key with fennel is to cook it long enough that its licorice flavors mellows to a subtle, sweet, decadent flavor.

Give this gluten free, dairy free (optional), rich and creamy fennel risotto a shot. If you haven’t loved fennel before, it might just become one of your new-found favorite veggies!

Fennel Risotto Fennel Risotto | www.erinharner.com

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 60 minutes


1 1/2 cups arborio rice (also known as risotto rice)
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 onion, diced finely
2 bulbs fennel, chopped into ~ 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons organic butter or EVOO
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Fennel fronds, for garnish (optional)


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat rice and 1 cup of stock over medium heat. Stir frequently until all liquid is absorbed. Repeat with another cup of stock adding 1 cup of stock at a time.
  2. Heat another saucepan or skillet and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add garlic, onion, and fennel. Saute on medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes or until fennel is soft and sweet.
  3. When the fennel mixture is done, add it to the saucepan with the rice and stir to combine. Continue adding stock 1 cup at a time until all stock has been absorbed by the rice. Remove pan from heat.
  4. Add butter or EVOO and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.
  5. Serve immediately. Garnish with fennel fronds if you have them. Enjoy!
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Erin Harner

Erin Harner is an Integrative Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), author, and speaker based in Ithaca, NY. Erin melds functional medicine and culinary nutrition to help her clients uncover their unique diet and confidently cook healthy nourishing meals that meet the needs of their whole family. Learn about Erin's services and connect on Instagram.

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