This is a special treat and is one of the easiest (and tastiest) grilled veggie side dishes you will make. Grilled Fennel with a Lemon Vinaigrette is so simple to whip up, but it feels like you’re eating at a five-star restaurant!
Tired of making your same old veggies on the grill? Give this a shot. There is a mild licorice flavor that your kids will love!
🍽️ Why This Works
Easy | You really can’t get much easier. A simple cut, direct heat grill for a few minutes and a tasty vinaigrette and you’ll be in the money for this great grill.
Delicious | If you have never cooked fennel before, don’t worry. It is a very mild veggie that has a hint of a licorice smell and taste. It is crunchy and works perfect on the grill. It may not be one of your go-to vegetables in the produce department, but give it a shot, and I bet it will be.
Fast | This side dish takes about 10 minutes is all to make so adding this one to grilled chicken, pork or even a hearty burger can be done in no time.
Fennel Bulb: The star of the show is the fennel bulb which is a part of the carrot family offering lots of fine, airy green leaves. These come with some leafy greens still attached and are readily available in the supermarket. Although there is a bulb, it is not a root vegetable like it appears. This veggie is 100% edible that tastes like a mix between celery and a mild licorice. Keep them refrigerated until you are ready to use.
Vinaigrette: This is an extremely simple three-ingredient dressing. You probably have all of the ingredients at home already and it offers a tart lemony flavor that complements the sweet fennel bulb.
Step One: Trim the fennel bulb by cutting off the leafy greens and trimming the base. Discard any outside layers that appear to be dry or hard. Chop the bulb into quarters as shown in the photos.
Step Two: Brush the fennel with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. The oil will minimize sticking on the grill.
Step Three: Heat the grill to 400 degrees over direct heat. Add the quartered bulbs and let them cook for about six minutes on each side. They will still be firm and crisp.
Note: I highly recommend using a GrillGrate for this dish. The aluminum fins become super-heated on the grill and leave amazing sear marks. Additionally, they protect the food from any unplanned flare-ups. It is a great investment and will be a game-changer for your grilling!
Step Four: Combine the oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk it to combine.
Step Five: Remove the fennel from the grill and place them in a large bowl. Drizzle the vinaigrette on top and toss to make sure they are evenly covered. Serve and enjoy!
❗ Expert Tips
Hot and Fast | You want to grill these quickly. Too much time on the grill and they risk being mushy or burned. I like the texture when they are still crispy.
GrillGrate | This tool (seen in the photo below) is the best accessory for my Big Green Egg. I love the way it cooks and is easy to clean up. Best of all, it protects from unwanted flareups.
Uniform Size | Cut the fennel to similar sizes. This will allow them to be fully cooked around the same time.
Pair this with another quick grilled recipe such as butterflied chicken or even a nice, hearty ribeye.
The most common answer you’ll see is that it tastes like black licorice. But that isn’t totally fair. It is extremely mild and you’ll taste just a hint of an aftertaste with that anise flavor. It has a texture similar to celery, with a fresh, crisp and crunchy.
These are amazing as garnish for soups/salads and veggies. Consider drying them in a dehydrator as well. Others have used these to make a small pesto as well.
Absolutely. Simply cut as show above and add to a sheet pan. Set the oven to 400 degrees and drizzle with olive oil/salt/pepper. Cook for about 25 minutes or until fork tender.
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Grilled Fennel with Lemon Vinaigrette
- 2 Fennel Bulbs
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- 3 tbsp Lemon Juice
- dash Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat the grill to 400 degrees and put on a GrillGrate to get those awesome sear marks.
- Cut off the fronds from the fennel as well as the bottom and remove any bad/hard areas on the outside.
- Cut the bulbs into quarters and spritz with olive oil spray on both sides before placing on the grill. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Grill the fennel for about six minutes each side and remove from the grill. They should still be firm and crisp.
- Combine the olive oil and lemon together in a small container. Add dash of salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Drizzle on the fennel after they have cooled slightly.