Fennel and apple soup: tasty, no-waste and detoxing recipe

 

Tasty fennel soup with pan roasted apple slices in a white dish

 

Time:        prep. 5 mins.
                  cook. approx 25 mins.
Difficulty: very easy
Yields:      3 portions
Cost:         low
 

Fennel and apple soup is a healthy, inexpensive and no-waste recipe: to make it, you need the parts of fennel that are usually discarded because they are too tough, such as the outer parts of the white bulb and the stalks.
In fact, fennel offers much more than the tender bulb that we usually enjoy in our salads (see here for a delicious suggestion: idea no.2); and it is a pity to throw away these other parts, because the stalks, the seeds, the outer layers of the bulb are all edible and delicious, provided that they are cooked well and put through a masher or a food processor.
In addition to being a great healthy way to start your meal, fennel soup allows you to use all the fennel, with zero waste: l
et’s see why.

 

The benefits of fennel

This vegetable, native to the Mediterranean region (and spread over time to various parts of the world, used as a culinary and medicinal resource), is a concentrate of phytonutrients and functional nutrients; and has potent antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antipyretic, antispasmodic, antithrombotic, apoptotic (in other words programmed cell death), chemo-modulatory, antitumor, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, antinociceptive (or useful in pain control), and bronchodilator properties[1].

To summarize, we can say without a doubt that due to the above reasons, the humble fennel turns out to be able to:

  • improve heart and liver health[2]
  • strengthen the well-being of the skin and scalp;
  • improve memory[3];
  • fight inflammation;
  • prevent gastrointestinal spasms, with a particular healing effect on infant colics.migliorare la salute del cuore e del fegato[2];

But we must also mention its benefits from a female perspective[4]; fennel has been shown to be particularly kind and considerate to us women at all stages of our lives, being effective in treating dysmenorrhea, polycystic ovary syndrome, relieving menopausal symptoms and even helping to increase breast milk production[4].

Last but not least, an additional benefit that makes everyone happy, regardless of gender, is that it helps to lose weight or at least keep it under control by providing satiety, thanks to its intestine-friendly fibers.

Finally, fennel is one of the plants with the highest concentration of potassium (414mg/100g), sodium (52mg/100g), phosphorus (50mg/100g) and calcium (49mg/100g).

In front of such a generous image, we should at least show our gratitude by not wasting a single bit of its treasure!

 

Ingredients for the fennel and apple soup

  • about 300g of outer layers of fennel
  • 1 onion finely chopped (or grated)
  • 1 apple diced and/or sliced
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 potatoes (or 1 sweet potato)
  • 350 ml of milk (normal or plant-based)
  • 350 ml of fennel, carrot, potato’s cooking water
  • 3 tablespoons cooked chickpeas (or other available legumes or nothing, they are optional)
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, pepper to taste

    To garnish

  • Fennel seeds
  • Flax and/or black sesame seeds (optional)
  • A few bread croutons (optional)
  • Fennel fronds to taste


Directions for Fennel and Apple soup

Step 1. Making fennel and apple soup is very simple. Clean the fennel well and cut off the outer layers, or use a whole fennel if you don’t want to eat raw the inner and smoother part of the fennel bulb.
Step 2. After slicing it, boil it in 2.5 cups of water together with 2 potatoes (you can also opt for a big sweet potato) and 1 big carrot; for this step, if you use a pressure cooker, the cooking time will be halved and, consequently, the cooking water will also be halved: in this case, 300 ml will be enough.


FIND OUT HERE IF COOKING WITH A PRESSURE COOKER IS HEALTHY


Step 3.
Pour 1 tablespoon of evo oil into a frying pan and fry the diced and/or sliced apple and fennel with a few fennel seeds until golden brown and fragrant; then transfer them in a bowl until ready to serve.

Step 4. Meanwhile, in the same pan, fry the onion (or a leek) in 1 tablespoon of evo oil over low heat, adding the fennel, carrot & potato’s cooking water (if necessary), until soft.
Step 5. When the potato is cooked, drain it, along with the carrot and fennel pieces, saving the cooking water; then transfer the cooked vegetables to a high-sided saucepan.
Step 6. Whisk everything together with the browned onion until you have a velvety cream.
Step 7. Dilute with the hot milk and the fennel cooking water: I have indicated 750 ml of liquid in total, but you can reduce or increase the degree of density as you wish.
Step 8. Serve the fennel soup in bowls and garnish with a little black pepper, the apple cubes, croutons, a few flax seeds or black sesame seeds, and some fennel stalks. Trust me, you will never want it to end!

Bon appetit and good revolution to all!

 

Bibliography
1) Rafieian, Fatemeh et al. “Exploring fennel (Foeniculum vulgare): Composition, functional properties, potential health benefits, and safety.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 1-18. 19 Feb. 2023
2) Ozbek H, Uğraş S, Dülger H, et al. Hepatoprotective effect of Foeniculum vulgare essential oil. Fitoterapia. 2003;74(3):317–319
3) Koppula S, Kumar H. Foeniculum vulgare Mill (Umbelliferae) attenuates stress and improves memory in wister rats. Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research. 2013;12(4):553–558
4) Mahboubi, Mohaddese. “Foeniculum vulgare as Valuable Plant in Management of Women’s Health.” Journal of menopausal medicine vol. 25,1 (2019): 1-14. doi:10.6118/jmm.2019.25.1.1

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