Before I began eating a plant-based diet, I often ate fennel roasted below whole chickens and filets of salmon. Something about the sweet, earthy taste of fennel bulb perfectly complements the meaty flavor of poultry and salmon. When beans and legumes replaced chicken and fish as my main source of protein, I realized that fennel was no longer making it into my kitchen and, more importantly, onto my taste buds.
Lucky for me, fennel has the versatility to be paired with a variety of plant-based dishes. It tastes wonderful sautéed with onions, tossed into soups, and shaved on top of bright, citrusy salads.
Before I joined the Tucson CSA, I was used to conventional grocery store fennel: huge, often tough, and bland bulbs with stalks no smaller in diameter than a flag pole. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. What I’m trying to say is, although the fennel bulbs from the CSA are much smaller than the average commercially-available fennel bulb, their sweetness and flavor is much more concentrated and fresh.
This week, I chose to use the fennel from the CSA harvest to make a hearty and flavorful hash. This Sweet Potato, Fennel, and White Bean hash also showcases a few other items from this week’s harvest: sweet potatoes, garlic, and Glendale gold onions. The combination of these local ingredients produces an incredibly fresh-tasting and nutritious farm to table meal.
While I enjoy eating this dish as a meal of its own, it would also be incredible alongside eggs or poultry. However you decide to eat it, I can guarantee that it will bring a satisfied smile to your face.
Shelby Thompson is a recent graduate of the University of Arizona. When she isn’t working her day job, Shelby can be found practicing in the yoga studio, playing ball with her black lab Cola, and cooking in the kitchen. Her blog, thesunandthespoon.com, aims to provide nutritious, plant-based recipes for fellow food lovers. She greatly enjoys the wide array of local food and talent in Tucson.