Bill and I love going out to new restaurants to eat, but doing that more than a couple times a month can really add up!
Sometimes, we choose to create our own meals at home for a fraction of what we would have paid at a restaurant.
Plus, we don’t have to worry about tacking on a tip to the meal or running late (which never happens… 🙂 )
Out to dinner at Woodberry Kitchen, one of our favorite restaurants, for our one-year anniversary
When we were figuring out what to make for dinner the other night, we decided to try a new vegetable. It keeps the meal exciting and makes it more like a true restaurant experience.
Not only that, but the vegetable we used has some serious medicinal/healing properties that help our digestive system work better (bonus!).
As I’ve been working on healing my digestion over the past few years (it’s a process!), I’ve learned a thing or two about what foods make it work best. After years of going from doctor to doctor, surgery to surgery and pill to pill to “fix” me, I finally feel like I have some answers…and let me tell you, it has been a really empowering experience and confidence-booster!
Apparently, the combination of all of the antibiotics I took as a kid and the 10 years of daily acid reducers as an adult, along with the lifetime impact of eating lots of processed, packaged foods and what turned out to be problem foods for me (dairy and wheat) did a number on my digestive system.
I didn’t know it at the time, but they were also some of the reasons I used to get sick so often, struggled with 15-20 pounds that just wouldn’t budge, and why I had lots of bloating, gas, and other digestive frustrations. Sounds like a party, right?
I had no idea that 70-80% of my immune system was located in and around my digestive tract, mainly my intestines. By healing my digestion, I would start to heal (and energize!) my entire body. Who knew??
The main reason I’m such a fan of this lesser known veggie is because of how healing it is for the stomach and rest of the digestive system.
It’s also a potent cancer fighter.
Funky-looking fennel bulbs!
Fennel is a plant that most of us have heard of but few of us have actually bought/prepared/eaten. It has a very mild licorice flavor and is subtly sweet.
You’ve probably walked by it at the grocery store, given it an odd look, and thought, “What the heck is that, and what do I do with it??” I’m here today to tell you!
Fennel and licorice are both known as digestive soothers, and many people (especially those with reflux/heartburn/indigestion) find that drinking fennel tea, and taking either digestive enzymes containing fennel or DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) tablets before a meal promotes improved digestion. My mom now swears by DGL tablets, and I’ve had lots of success taking them myself.
DGL tablets create a soothing coating that lines your digestive system prior to eating, which calms and soothes your digestive tract and reduces the likelihood you’ll have to deal with indigestion, gas and bloating. Pretty cool, right?
Click this link or this one to order DGL tablets and learn more about them. Talk to your doctor or to a functional medicine doctor about whether these could be a good option for you.
Now, back to the veg!
Fennel tastes delicious when roasted, so that’s how we prepared it today.
We served the roasted fennel with some local, grass-fed beef tenderloin along with broccoli that was lightly steamed and then sautéed with roasted red pepper flakes, garlic, and some sea salt and pepper. It was a very tasty meal!
There you have it. Now you no longer have an excuse to ignore fennel at the grocery store or farmer’s market...and have lots of reasons to try this super healthy, medicinal veggie!
Easy Oven-Roasted Fennel
Roasted fennel with beautiful caramelization!
- 1 pound fennel, quartered lengthwise (I used 2 bulbs)
- 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, more to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- Optional: sprinkle some freshly chopped rosemary on top before roasting
- Preheat oven to 475F.
- Follow the step-by-step pictures below to prep and quarter the fennel. Cut off the green stalks and a 1/2″ disc from the bottom of the bulb, and remove any discolored outer leaves from the bulb, so you’re just left with the white/light-green fennel bulb to quarter and roast.
- In a medium bowl, toss the fennel quarters with your choice of oil, sea salt and black pepper.
- Put the fennel on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet, cut-side down, so they’re evenly spaced out. Roast for 15 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Flip the fennel to the other side and continue roasting until they are browned, about 10 more minutes.
Place the fennel back in the bowl you tossed them with and squeeze the juice of half a lemon on top of the fennel. Toss to coat evenly.
Chop off the bottom tough disc – about 1/2″
Chop off the green stalks. You can save them and throw them into soups as you would celery. You can save the fuzzy parts (AKA fronds) and use them as decoration like you would dill.
Chop the white bulb into quarters
This is what the bulb looks like inside once you’ve quartered it
Give it a nice drizzle of coconut or olive oil along with some sea salt and black pepper before putting it in the oven to roast!