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How to Make a Veggie Burger Gourmet

Cooking By Color – Green

Today’s Cooking By Color food is fennel. Fennel is an unusual herb that doesn’t get a lot of love. It’s sort of green and white. I think people are a little freaked out by it at the store and have no idea what to do with it. With it’s bulbous bottom, long protruding tops and fronds abound it’s no wonder no one touches it. My roommate snuck in while I was preparing this dish and shyly asked “Can I eat this raw?”…crunch, crunch, crunch. I personally love fennel raw and cooked. Slice super thin and toss in salads or dice it up and throw it in a soup for a nice zing. It has a somewhat licorice or anise flavor to it.

After doing a little wikipedia research it turns out fennel has medicinal properties as well. It helps with gas and bloating, can improve eyesight, be used as a potential treatment for hypertension, and fennel tea can help with respiratory issues. Who knew!? It’s got vitamin C, fiber, and folate making it a great addition to your other culinary herbs.

fennel chopped

A fancy pants way to use fennel is to caramelize it like you would do with onions and serve it on a veggie burger. To caramelize the fennel you need quite a bit of oil and continue to saute over a medium high heat until translucent. I use less oil and add a touch of water when the fennel sticks to the pan. For my no-oil peeps you can probably use veggie broth or water instead of oil completely. I’m all for making veggie burgers from scratch but I always have some store-bought ones on hand for emergencies.

Burger with caramelized fennel2

Veggie Burger with Caramelized Fennel and Cashew Basil Aioli
Makes enough toppings for 3 burgers

High heat oil
About 1 cup packed fennel thinly sliced
Pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar

Cashew Basil Aioli
Makes about 1/2 cup

1/4 cup cashews, soaked 1 hour
2 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Dash sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Heat cast iron skillet over medium high flame with a dash of oil. Add fennel with a pinch of salt and saute until translucent. If fennel begins to stick add a touch of water. Stir in the vinegar and continue to saute until no liquid remains. This whole process took about 10 minutes.

Drain cashews and blend with the remaining aioli ingredients except basil. I used a magic bullet to make this since it’s such a small amount of sauce. Blend until smooth and creamy then blend in basil. Season to taste.

Cook veggie burger and toast bread. Top burger with a handful of caramelized fennel and spread aioli all over the bun. Enjoy!

How do YOU like to prepare fennel? Tell us what are your favorite burger toppings?Β 

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  1. I’m a recent fennel convert and I love caramelized onions on a veggie burger, so this looks really tasty! My favorite fennel dish is the Basil Scented Fennel Gratin from Vegan Planet. Made with homegrown tomatoes in summer, it will blow your mind! I made it for Christmas with canned tomatoes and it was still pretty damn good.

  2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE fennel. Probably one of my fav veggies. I got started on it when I made a veggie soup years ago for Thanksgiving. I really don’t know how to cook so this recipe I make A LOT!

    It’s a sweet potato soup that starts with sauteing 1 fennel bulb, 1 jalapeno, 1 onion, 1 or 2 stalks celery. When ready then put in about 5 sweet potatoes. For year I didn’t know the difference between sweet potatoes and yams so I did 1/2 – 1/2 just in case πŸ™‚ Then about 8 cups of water (I have to find recipe). Cook it all up, use immersion blender and of course come cayenne – I use Allepo (city in Armenia) pepper that my Armenian friends got me hooked on which goes in all salads and everything I cook practically. Decorate with roasted pecans pieces and the green fennel sprigs (I use them in salads along with fresh dill too.) It’s a hot and sweet and nutty soup. I’ve taken to parties, I’ve had alone, people rave about it. They actually think I am a cook! The fennel is so sweet and faint, but definitely necessary in the recipe. I just learned a month ago you can eat it raw (who knew???) so I am going to try that soon. Warning, if you grow it like I did in my garden then forget about it and let it grow…like 5′ tall which I did by accident (it was a crazy year!) you will get THOUSANDS of pincher bugs crawling all inside, your garden and into your house. I learned my lesson then πŸ™‚

  3. I so appreciate the different blogs I subscribe to because you all are introducing me to new veggies. πŸ™‚ I have heard of funnel but never tried it. I will have to look for these in my supermarket and try it out.

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