Braised Fennel with Saffron & Tomato


This last week has bean surreal. In a very good and absolutely mind-blowing way. We have been in London meeting lovely blog readers, signing books and doing more than a few magazine interviews. We had coffee on Columbia Road, Indian food at Broadway Market and Elsa danced her feet off to an Italian street band performance. We finally got to eat at Ottolenghi, it was just as perfect as we expected. We also tried The Gate, and it was almost as good. Food for thought was precisely as cozy and delicious as we’ve been told. We found our book in a real, old fashioned bookshop and actually felt like authors for a while. And when we thought our week couldn’t get better, we received an email telling us that Green Kitchen Stories is a finalist for Saveur Magazine’s Best Food Blog Awards, in the Special Diet category. We are accompanied by some of the most creative and talented bloggers that we know, so it is all pretty insane and unbelievable.

If you would like to cast your vote on us we would be MADLY grateful. Click here to vote! You need to sign in or register first, but it only takes 30 sec (and they promise not to spam you). Polls closes Friday, April 19. Thank you so much for your support!


And now on to the food. We have had Vegetable Literacy on the top of our book pile for a while. But just before we left, we finally got around to trying a recipe from it. Our eyes immediately fell on this braised fennel that is cooked in a tomato sauce and flavored with fennel seeds and saffron. It is one of those recipes that makes total sense, all the flavors are perfect together, it tastes sweet, warm and comforting. A truly wonderful dinner. Our only regret is that we didn’t come up with this recipe ourselves. Since we are a hungry family we also braised zucchini and added to the pan, and used ghee instead of olive oil for extra yum. The zucchini worked perfectly together with the fennel. We served it with brown rice, but quinoa would be great too.

Vegetable Literacy, by Deborah Madison, is a wonderful and beautiful book. It is all about putting the vegetables in focus and reminds us slightly of Tender, by Nigel Slater, another of our favorite books.



Braised Fennel Wedges with Saffron & Tomato
Slightly adapted from ‘Vegetable Literacy‘ by Deborah Madison

1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 1/4 cups water

1 large fennel bulb
a large knob of ghee or olive oil
1 zucchini
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp (0,5 g) ground saffron
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup water
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 handful fennel greens or flat-leaf parsley

Rinse the rice thoroughly, drain and place in a medium sauce-pan together with the water. Bring to a simmer, cover and lower the heat and cook for 40 minutes. Drain any excess water. Ready to serve.

Trim off the stalks and greens from the fennel bulb. (Minces the greens for a garnish, if there are none, you can use parsley.) Halve the bulb lengthwise and cut the halves into wedges about 1, 5 inches/4 cm at the widest part. Halve and divide the zucchini and cut into wedges.

Heat the ghee in a wide sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and fennel seeds, saffron and thyme and cook for a few minutes while stirring occasionally. Add the fennel- and zucchini wedges and cook them until golden, turning them and the onions occasionally. Once they are well colored, add the garlic, stir in the tomato paste, and then add the water and salt & pepper. Scrape the pan to release the juices, then cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Serve with brown rice and fennel greens.


PS. Here are a few links to some book related media clips and interviews from last week.
• An interview with Four Magazine.
• A Q&A with The Lifestyle Editor.
• Our book was “Cookbook of the week” in The Telegraph.
• Talked on the phone with The Lady.

Saveur Best Food Blog

Thank you for voting!


  • Martin
    I just cooked this recipe and it came out amazing. I ended up using four small bulbs and one and a half small zucchinis (that's all that would fit in my cast-iron pan) and it ended up feeding three people with a fourth serving as leftovers.
  • M
    Hi, This recipe looks delicious, I can't wait to try it out. I was just wondering how many people it's makes enough for? Thanks!
  • I love to cook different recipes, and I am thinking to try this recipe tonight dinner.
  • Ronja
    It tasted great! Thanks for this recipe that made me recognize that I underestimated fennel... :)
  • ola
    It was delicious! And equally good eaten cold, on a toast.
  • Michal
    Hi guys, I just made this for dinner and it went down a treat. Me and my girlfriend have been enjoying your recipes immensely. We are both meat eaters but there is something rather special about dishes we have cooked so far. They have all been divine. Thanks you.
  • Eileen
    I just made this for dinner and it was like nothing I had ever made before. Thank you!! I served it with a simple risotto made with just rice + vegetable broth and I was in heaven.
  • Caitlin
    This is a great recipe! The dish is full of flavor. Super delicious. I used an organic Moroccan saffron I purchased from Amazon, which enhanced the flavor of the dish. If you are interested, you can check it out here: Thanks! Keep these great recipes coming!
  • I made this last year when I used to work at a yoga retreat centre. It was a smash hit! Just delicious.
  • Michelle
    Is this the amount for 2 servings or more?
  • Kelly
    Hi there from New Zealand! I've been following your blog for a while - thank you for posting amazing recipes! Great incentive to lead an inspired, healthy life. I just made this for my husband and I for supper - so good! We went for some wholemeal couscous with pine nuts + sultanas instead of the brown rice. Thank you again for the recipes - keep them coming!
  • thank you very much for recipe! Delicious .
  • An amazing dish with beautiful ingredients! Congratulations! We will definitely try this! Also, if you like saffron, try the Greek Red Saffron (Krokos Kozanis) if you can find some. It's expensive, but you need less as it is stronger in taste/flavour. And higher in antioxidants. Thank you for sharing!
  • Looking at your photos mouth is watering... and I know my kids' will too once it's on their plates.
  • Oh yum.. Just ordered the book today - we're trying to start a family and I thought, what better foundation for a healthy start than this beautiful, earthy, wonderfully healthy book of bursting goodness..
  • Your dish looks incredible I can't wait to try it! I love the book Vegetable Literacy! It's an encyclopedia of wealth it's now my veggie bible. Tonight I am making her cauliflower curry coconut tumeric lime soup - it's still a little chilly here today so totally appropriate. Congrats on being a winner!
  • Inés
    I made this for my Mum and myself today and it was absolutely fantastic! Actually we made a bit too much, but we ate it all up bit after bit, as it was just so very delicious! Just as good as it looked in the pictures and even better maybe ;-) I hope I'll discover many more amazing recipes around here =) Thank you!
  • Simply yum. I definitely gonna try this and put a version of mine in my blog. And surely will link to your post mentioning my inspiration! Keep up the good work!
  • Congratulations and well deserved!!! Beautiful food can always be found here.
  • julia
    yum! i just made this. substituted roma tomatoes for the zucchini. really really lovely dish.
  • I just received Vegetable Literacy from Amazon a few weeks ago, and I can't wait to try this recipe. It looks absolutely divine! What kind of onion did you use for this? I am curious to know.
  • ali
    I bought fennel today and immediately thought of your recipe. Fennel is usually destined for my juicer, but not today! This dish turned out so wonderful, I really enjoy all the subtle, interesting flavors. Thank you!
  • Bell
    soooooo yummy!!! i just made this and i was scrumptious!!! i put some almonds on top because i do so on everything and it added a nice crunch!!
  • baker_d
    I made a variation of this on Saturday evening to accompany some linguine with peas and ramps and it was so great! Thanks for a great post and terrific recipe. I think next time we'll give it a go as you suggest- over a whole grain. Best to you!
  • A beautiful meal, I love fennel, and the hole thing reminds me of a a good italian dinner ;).. last year I made a fennel soup with olive gremolata (with amazing "olive taggiasche") and since then, I just adore this kind of vegetable..
  • This looks sooo scrummy. I will attempt it this weekend. And many congrats on the nomination :)
  • Helen in the UK
    We had this for dinner last evening using our lovely fresh organic fennel and courgettes from our Veg Box delivery. It is a beautiful and tasty way to use fennel, I used Ghee which I only really use when cooking Indian food - great ideas as it did add a nice richness. Using tomato puree makes the dish come together quickly so you still have the freshness of the veggies but the depth of flavour from the tomato - delish! Oooh, I also added a little white wine (whilst drinking some of it too!) in place of some of the water. I also wanted to say we are loving your book too, it arrived just after publication and I've got lots of pages marked to try out. Next time your are in London there is an amazing restaurant (they have 2 places) called Saf (vegan) they make really beautiful food, interesting, gorgeous to look at and great to eat. Thanks a million. Good luck in the Blog Awards too.
  • Romy
    Awesome and Easy Food! Thats what i love about ur blog! Just had this yesterday, sooo yummy tasty and healthy!
  • Inspired to write for the first time as loved the braised fennel - absolutely fantastic and will make it again and again. Next time you are in England suggest going to Brighton to Food for Friends and Terre a Terre. Both have great cookbooks too. Loving your website and looking at getting the book if I can fool husband that not buying yet another cookbook!

Leave a comment