‘Creamy’ Roasted Fennel Puree

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A few weeks ago, someone uttered one of the worst things a person could say to me. He didn’t call me out my name. Or crack on my momma. He didn’t insult one of my physical features or retell some politically incorrect joke. He said, and I quote, “for a foodie, you sure are pretty picky.” I was taken aback, but then I realized that he was kind of right. Kind of.

While I still think ‘picky‘ is a bit harsh :), I do realize that I am less open than I’ve convinced myself of otherwise. And I have come up with the reason why… I am holding on to old notions of what tastes ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ Notions formed in childhood, overheard through listening to others’ conversations, conjured up in my imagination. So, I’ve decided to abandon these old schemas, in favor of more adventurism. All of the foods that I think that I ‘do not like,’ I am committed to try again, at least once. Then, and only then, will I declare that I do not like something.

It started with the coconut-lime flan. Yes, folks, prior to last week, I would have told you, “I do not like flan.” But lo and behold, I made a flan that I not only liked, but shamelessly devoured at poker night. Next was this Ingredient Monday Challenge (IMC). Oh yes, last week, I would have told you, “I do not like fennel.” But now I know that I do like fennel, if its robust licorice flavor is mellowed through roasting.

I am sure that in my quest to re-taste the foods that I have convinced myself I do not like, I’ll come to realize that I just really do not like certain things (ahem, collard greens), but revisiting my “do not like” list has been pretty fun so far, and in pushing my culinary boundaries, I feel kind of liberated.

In terms this dish, my first thought was, I’m definitely not going to prepare something with raw fennel–the flavor is too much for me, even wearing my new adventurism hat. I immediately thought of roasting–I would mellow out the licorice flavor and pull out the natural sugars. But then what? Originally, I considered making a vegan au gratin with carrots and parsnips and a “bechamel” with cashews and cauliflower. But, in the end I decided against this because I thought that all of these flavors would completely overshadow the roasted fennel. When I woke up Sunday morning, I had it… a puree. Elegant, flavorful, complex, silky, and smooth, this puree highlights a mellow fennel flavor and pairs perfectly with other roasted root veggies!

Also, check out the other posts from this ICM at:

Dixie Chik Cooks


And Love It Too!

Marci Gilbert

From The Little Yellow Kitchen

‘Creamy’ Roasted Fennel Puree (Printable Recipe)


3 small to medium fennel bulbs (save the fronds)

1 small red onion (or two shallots)–chopped

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons earth balance (or butter/margarine)

1/2 cup raw cashews–soaked 5 hours to overnight

1/2 cup almond milk (or preferred type of milk)

1/2 cup vegetable broth

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon lemon zest

olive oil


white pepper

carrots and parsnips (to serve on the side)


*Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash parsnips, carrots, and fennel. Peel carrots and parsnips, cut off ends, add to large baking dish. Cut off tops of fennel bulb (save fronds). Remove the outside layer of the fennel bulb. Cut in half. Add to baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil (~ 1/8 to 1/4 cup depending on size of vegetables). Sprinkle with salt. Roast 15 minutes, turn carrots and parsnips. Roast another 15 minutes, then remove carrots and parsnips. Turn the fennel, roast just the fennel for a final 15-20 minutes or until fennel is soft and caramelized.

*Chop onion. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in small frying pan over medium/medium low heat. Add onion. Saute onion slowly just until translucent and soft. Set aside.

*Heat earth balance over medium low heat in a medium saucepan until it fully melts. Add flour. Mix to incorporate. Cook 2-3 minutes (do not let your roux turn brown). Add broth and almond milk. Mix to completely dissolve the roux (the mixture will thicken). Cook for approximately 5-8 minutes stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens slightly. Turn heat to low.

*Drain and rinse soaked cashews. Add cashews to food processor. Pulse until they become meal-like. Add a few tablespoons of the broth-almond milk mixture and pulse. Keep adding broth-almond milk mixture and pulsing until the cashews are fully smooth and have a paste-like consistency similar to hummus (you will not use all of the broth-almond milk mixture).

*Add the pureed cashews to the remaining broth-almond milk mixture and mix to fully combine. Add 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, mustard powder, pinch of salt. Keep on low. Stir occasionally.

*Add onions to food processor, along with roughly chopped roasted fennel. Blend. Add 1/2 cup of cashew-broth-almond milk mixture. Blend. Add another 1/2 cup of cashew-broth-almond milk mixture. Blend. In total, I added 1 1/4 cups of the cashew-broth-almond milk mixture and had about 1/4 cup of cashew-broth-almond milk mixture leftover. In hindsight, I probably could have used it all. Basically, keep adding it until you get your desired consistency.

*Adjust seasoning (salt/white pepper). Serve with roasted parsnips and carrots. Garnish with lemon zest and fennel fronds.

Written by

Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!


  1. Que delicioso! So would you eat that as a side dish or use it like a dip?

    • I ate it as a side dish, but from all of the comments, I’m now thinking it could totally be a dip!

  2. This sounds amazing I love the almond and cashew bechamel must taste lovely with the fennel. Shame I used all of my homegrown fennel in the risotto, have to buy another one now as I, too, am becoming more of a fennel fan!!

  3. My wife told me I was to picky as well. I told her that I am not picky, but after all these years of cooking I had a good idea of what flavors go together well and which ones don’t. I have also developed a list of products/brand names that I like and don’t like. If you want to call me picky because I am making the best possible dish that I can for you than go ahead and call me picky. I prefer to think of it as using my knowledge to create the best possible dinning experience you can have and you deserve perfection. Now she can’t argue with me being picky because I made it about her. 🙂

    • I couldn’t agree more!

  4. This looks awesome! Now I want to run out and buy fennel.

    I’m in the same boat with the “picky.” I’ve learned to like a LOT of new things, but I will never, ever eat cooked broccoli. Ever.

  5. Good for you for trying things you think you don’t like! So much of it is mental, isn’t it? I thought I hated mushrooms, and then I had to eat them for work (long story) and told myself: You WILL like mushrooms, and guess what? I did! This fennel puree looks luscious, very subtle and nice.

  6. This looks great! I made lots of fennel puree for my daughter but never thought of cashews! I’m going to have to try this one! thanks!

  7. I would never say you are ‘picky’…you are way more adventurous than I am. I do like the idea of revisiting you do not like list. I think i need to do that as well. Think out side the box 😉 This recipe looks delish.

  8. It’s funny you should mention being picky. I thought I was flexible, but believe it or not, I HATE celery and I’m not a big fennel fan. BUT, I just love your idea of transforming this into a purée. You’re brilliant. Lovely flavours in there and sounds like this could change my mind about fennel.

  9. My mother, who I would have said was in the category of “ultimate foodie” is actually one of the pickiest eaters I know. I guess it’s all a perspective thing. I am loving that fennel puree. Sounds delicious!!

  10. Love the recipe, great idea for the side dish:)

  11. I´am agree with you, I think we need to taste again certain ingredients and dishes and then said if we like or not. Voy a probar este pure, luce delicioso. I´ll try these pure,look amazing

  12. Picky? I prefer ‘discerning’! Good challenge. I’d probably use this as a dip with some chips or crudités.

  13. OK, I’ll work on the open-minded to different foods thing. BUT, I’m never, ever going to like liver! BTW your Fennel Puree reminds me of hummus. Pita Bread anyone?

  14. WHAT.A.FABULOUS.IDEA. Wow! You could use it to dip pita chips, veggies, pretzels, etc. You have my mind going now. This is officially on my to-make list.

  15. I’m not a huge fan of fennel either, but I bet I would like it roasted too. Thanks for sharing, I will have to try this recipe!

  16. This sounds so delicious — the creaminess of the cashews must make for the best texture! I’m excited to try this — I love fennel in all forms, but most especially roasted. Yum! Theresa

  17. And here it goes… delicious recipe as always!!! Love it! 🙂

    • Your comments always make me smile Manu!

  18. What an amazing side dish! I love the cashews in the puree, very yummy!

  19. This sounds delicious! My hubby also doesn’t like fennel…or at least that’s what he thinks. I’m sure that if he tasted this puree he would change his mind! I’ll have to try it. The photos are gorgeous too!

  20. It’s a great new attitude to have, and that you are giving things a second chance. I for one should give fennel a second chance. I’ll try just about anything before rejecting it. Your puree does sound really good. Thanks for sharing.

  21. I like your open minded approach and I am sure you will find that you probably like way more than you think you do…

  22. I’m so glad you’re revisiting the foods you think you don’t like, haha. I think it’s a great idea for any foodie to really try and eat out of the box sometimes, challenge our palates. Tastes change, so it’s a good exploration. Glad that fennel made the “good” list 🙂

  23. I love roasted fennel!!! Your puree must have been wonderful!!!

  24. I love the idea of pairing fennel with cream cashews. Cashew butter/cheese ranks high in my list of greatest things ever invented. Thank you for your amazing recipe!

  25. Picky just means you know what you like and there’s nothing wrong with that in my book! I love the Ingredient Challenge because it forces me to experiment with things I’d never discover on my own, though. This dip/spread/puree looks amazing! Um, and how funny you’re at UNC too! What a small world. We’ll have to grab a coffee/tea some time!

    • Totally Elle! Another coincidence… you’re running a half and I’m running a 5K next weekend! 😀

  26. I hate to say it…but I’ve become a bit picky too! Us foodies just know what we like! But it is so good to stretch our taste buds. I’m glad that you were brave with this puree. It look and sounds great. Thanks for sharing your recipe with me. This was a great way to end my Monday. I hope you have a safe and happy week!

  27. I like your choice of ingredients. Your recipe looks so much fun. I do love fennel and I am glad you paired it with cashews.

  28. You’ve got a nice one here too, Tiffany! Thks for dropping by 🙂

  29. What an unusual dip. Great mix of flavors.

  30. Love the dip – What a great combination of flavors! I wasn’t really picky, just hesitant to try cuisine foreign to my own. Now I just dive in and take my family along for the ride.

  31. What a great combo! Looks yummy…

  32. This sounds and looks fantastic…what a wonderful blend of flavors, lovely!

  33. I think I can really love this dip! I would have never thought to do this with fennel… great idea, Tif!

  34. I am considered to be pretty picky too…heheh.
    And this is the first time i am hearing of this dip but anything with cashews and i am onboard 😀

    • It’s your first time because I made it up on the fly! (As I do with most recipes… he he!)

  35. What a truly original way to use fennel! And a healthy take on it too…

  36. Thanks for the comments everyone! Here’s to trying new dishes/ingredients! 🙂

  37. LOVE Fennel and have not seen a recipe with fennel quite as cool!! XO

  38. I like fennel in small doses…I think I’d enjoy this!

  39. Bravo for going through those “old” foods! I agree with this line, ” if its robust licorice flavor is mellowed through roasting,” with regard to that vegetable though. I hope you also are able to overcome the collard green thing someday. I felt the same way, but now that I live here in the south and have had it done really well, I love them (when done really well).