When it comes to choosing the best herbs for your kitchen, there are few choices as excellent as fennel: a perennial herb that comes from the Umbelliferae family, fennel is highly aromatic, has a unique flavor and offers a variety of culinary and medicinal uses. No matter how you use it, the fennel plant is known for its health benefits: the bulb, for example, is rich in Vitamin C and fiber, which promotes a healthy immune system and can reduce cholesterol levels. Adding to these benefits, fennel can also be used in many different ways, with recipes calling for the bulb, fronds, fennel seeds, or fennel pollen, the most potent form of the herb, which offers the maximum amount of flavor. 

But despite these different options and benefits, this herb can still be an intimidating choice, especially for those who are unsure of what goes with fennel. Fortunately, fennel is a versatile plant and can be used in a variety of different ways. Read on to learn what goes with fennel and how you can use it in your kitchen!

From the plant to the pollen, fennel can be paired with vegetables in soups, salads and other dishes. Try combining it with radish, beans, olives, spinach, onions, and more! A good fennel recipe to start with is a shaved salad, which pairs crunchy, fresh fennel with your favorite vegetables and a citrus dressing. You can also get creative by making a winter tabbouleh.

Fennel also pairs well with various fruits, resulting in unique desserts for special occasions or a simple night at home. The herb pairs especially well with citrus, so test it out with lemons and oranges, particularly blood oranges. Apples and fennel can also be an interesting, delicious choice. However, if you prefer something more savory, all forms of fennel also work well with tomatoes, allowing you to create wonderful soups, salads and more.

Meat and Fish
Cooks love pairing fennel with pork, chicken, and sausage, and the more daring will even add it to lamb dishes. The herb in all of its forms is also a popular choice for almost every type of fish, including shellfish. A popular ingredient in Italy and Tuscany, fennel is a common ingredient in crab and mussel risottos. Many cooks who try these recipes report that the fennel is often a vital component to the dish. Whether you're pan-frying fish or meat, or adding these healthy sources of protein to a pasta dish, fennel should be a go-to choice.

While fennel's role in Italian risottos and other dishes has already been discussed, its use in pasta recipes is too good to be ignored. Whether you're cooking a bolognese or a simple dish of spaghetti, try adding some fennel with some lemon, white wine, tomatoes, olives or other great ingredients. Experimentation is key!

Have you used fennel in your kitchen before? What goes with fennel, in your opinion? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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