Recipe: Fennel Bulb and Frond Gratin

What better way to celebrate this month’s Well Being Challenge, which invites you to explore the world of misunderstood vegetables than with fennel? To learn more about the misunderstood vegetables, visit

Fennel Bulb and Frond Gratin

This lighter twist on a classic gratin uses both the fennel fronds, which are delicious but often discarded, and the bulb. The strong licorice flavor of fennel mellows with cooking.

Serves 6 – 8


  • About 3 – 4 fennel bulbs with fronds
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, diced
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (optional)

To Prepare

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a casserole pan.
  2. Cut off the fronds and stems of the fennel bulb. Dice 1 cup stems and fronds and reserve the remainder for other uses such as broths and soups. Quarter bulbs and cut into 1 – 2 inch slices. Discard woody core.
  3. Boil bulbs in broth for about 5 minutes, until tender. Drain and reserve broth for future uses. Toss with diced fronds, stems, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  4. Blend 1/2 cup Parmesan with thyme and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (optional). Mix this into the fennel. Add fennel to casserole dish and top with remaining Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Cover and bake for 20 – 30 minute. Increase oven temperature to 425 and bake another 10 minutes, until browned. May be garnished with fennel fronds.