Fennel is an integral ingredient to many cuisines around the world, so make sure you read about these fennel substitutes. These fennel substitutes are especially handy since the spices or herbs are generally available throughout stores, and they just might save your recipe.
Cooking a fennel recipe can be challenging, especially if you run out of fennel, so have a look and make sure you have some of these fennel substitutes in your kitchen. Just in case.
You can cook it, fry it, boil it and even roast it. In addition, you can also eat raw fennel in the form of a salad. All in all, fennel is a tasty aromatic ingredient that has the ability to jazz up almost any dish.
It's far from being a plain green vegetable, and it has very specific flavour, so be careful what you combine it with. Fennel marries well with many fish or poultry dishes, however, it can be tricky to combine well with red meat.
what is fennel and what are the best fennel substitutes
Believe it or not, but fennel is an aromatic herb that actually belongs to the carrot family. No, fennel is not orange, therefore fennel substitutes will be nothing like carrot substitutes. Visually speaking, fennel has a large white bulb with green stalks (which are also edible).
Out of the stalks, you'll see leaves that resemble green feathers. If you see it grow wild, you can recognize it by its vibrant 'umbrella like' yellow flower heads. These are often used for pickled recipes; for example it would be the perfect flavor enhancer to this courgette pickle recipe.
You might also know fennel as finocchio in Italian, or feniculum in its Latin name. Surprisingly enough, the Greek term for fennel is marathon, which refers to the famous place of the battle of Marathon. Fennel is home to the Mediterranean region but today it is cultivated all around the world. Especially near sea shores and coasts with drier soils.
Fun fact, did you know that fennel is the primary ingredient of the infamous alcoholic drink called absinthe? No need to worry though, the fennel will not give you any hallucinations or hangovers, as long as you simply use it to cook delicious food.
To learn more about fennel, click right here.
top fennel substitutes that you need to know about
Fennel is a vital part of Mediterranean cuisine, especially French and Italian. If you have ever been to a local market in Italy or in the south of France, you will probably have seen the massive heaps of fennel for sale. The locals simply cannot stop buying them.
Fennel is particularly good for fish and seafood dishes. Whether you use it raw or cooked, the anis flavour is perfect with any type of white fish. For example, you can stuff the fish with sliced fennel and chopped fennel top and oven bake it. Or you can use the fennel thinly sliced in a salad to go with the fish. You can even pickle the fennel for a bit of acidity.
Fennel is not an easy vegetable to substitute. especially not if you are looking for that same crunchy texture that the fennel has. In fact, it can sometimes be difficult to cut out a fennel because of its hard core. However, in terms of flavour there are some herbs that can offer a substitute for fennel when you need it.
what is the best fennel substitute
Before looking for the best fennel substitute, you need to figure out in what form the fennel should have been used. If you need a raw fennel substitute, you have to look at the fresh herbs. Fresh vegetables can be hard to substitute as I learned from looking for escarole substitutes.
ground fennel substitutes
The fennel itself is not dried up and ground to produce a spice. For this purpose, the fennel seeds are used. If you need a ground spice to substitute ground fennel seeds, these are the best.
As a matter of fact, many ground spices can substitute one another. To learn more, you can have a read through my paprika substitutes.