Sunday, May 29, 2011

I LOVE all Parts of Fennel [Fennel Frond Pesto Recipe]

A trip to the farmer's market energizes me. I can't help, but walk with an extra bounce in my step as I wander from stall to stall. I drool and oogle at the bright vibrant greens that are calling out to me. The orange carrot with its fluffy healthy green glowing hair. Pearly white fennel bulbs that are unmarred along with tall fronds and stalks that scream "I'm healthy and fresh, BUY ME!" I can't help, but gather the carrots, fennel, and a couple heads of organic broccoli. I can't believe the gorgeous loot I obtained without effort.

As soon as I arrived home, I decided to roast the fennel as toppings for our salad. Since we bought organic fennel, I didn't want to waste the fronds and stalks. In the end, my mom used the stalk to make soup and I used the fronds to make pesto. When I googled "What to do with fennel fronds?", I was surprised that I could use it to make pesto. I gathered my ingredients, reached for my food processor, gave all the ingredients a whirl, and a lovely shade of green spread appeared.

A step by step tutorial with the full recipe written at the end.

Gather pistachios.

Grate Parmesan cheese. I got lazy and minced my cheese instead. >.>

Juice half a lemon, wash and rinse the fronds, and roughly chop up 3 garlic cloves.

Dump pistachios, cheese, garlic, salt, and cayenne in food processor.

Give it a whirl until it looks like this.

Put fennel frond in food processor.

With the machine running, drizzle in olive oil and stop it when it resembles a paste.

Use the fresh pesto to make a pesto pasta salad! Yums~

Fennel Frond Pesto
adapted from Recipe Interrupted

Notes: This recipe can easily be substituted to make traditional pesto. Replace 2 cups of fronds with basil and pistachios with pine nuts (This part is optional). For more ideas about what to do with the pesto, read this post.

1/3 cup pistachios, toasted
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups lightly packed frond
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced

  1. Blend pistachios, garlic, cheese, salt, and cayanne pepper in food processor until mixture is minced.
  2. Add fennel into food processor and drizzle in olive oil with the machine running. Stop when the mixture has the consistency of a paste and is spreadable. Add lemon juice to taste. 
Use within a few days. For longer storage, wrap portions of pesto in saran wrap and store in freezer.  


  1. Thanks so much for posting this recipe! I recently discovered I love fennel, but I had no idea what to do with all the foliage. I can't wait to try this out!

  2. Michele,

    I'm glad I helped you out. Thanks for your kind comment. =)


  3. thanks, beautifully documented. great idea



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