Grilled fennel bulbs, parmesan, olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice

grilled fennel bulb recipe

Now that the rains have subsided and sun’s warm rays have nurtured all the seeds in the garden to peek outside the soil, we’re seeing some exciting things. Granted, there’s our lion’s share of weeds popping up randomly in every nook and cranny that they can invade, but there’s some wonderful little surprises as well. Spontaneous vegetables and herbs are now making home to various parts of the garden.

All the seeds from the herbs and vegetables that we left to go to seed last season are now full grown specimens, all ready to eat and enjoy.

Thanks to the wind and the birds, all the seeds from last years fennel bulbs are now grown and perfect for harvest. The small little ecosystem in our backyard is in continuous cycle and the best part is that we didn’t have to spend any money on these beautiful fennel bulbs.  We’re addicted to these licorice flavored bulbs and when they’re slow grilled to perfection, they melt in the mouth like pure licorice candy.


Something as simple as this is the perfect precursor to Summer. Simply caressed with a bit of olive oil, and hugged with the warmth of the grill, these fennel bulbs make the perfect vegetable side dish to any grilled meat or seafood dishes. Splash on a touch of fresh lemon juice, sprinkle them with some parmesan cheese and these grilled fennel bulbs are the “ease to please.” The bright flavors of citrus, delicate umami of parmesan cheese, all seasoned with sea salt is why we can eat a whole platter full for ourselves.

A huge army of basil and other herbs are battling each other in the garden too. Again, all the seeds from last year are now competing for ground space and attention. Unfortunately, we’ve had to thin out our vegetable plots so heavily that it left us with such heavy guilt to have to pull out so many plants. But we figure that they’re all give to us as a gift from the last plants and there’s sure more to come.

All the citrus trees are coming to a close with their flowers and all the fruit is heavy with sweet juice. We’ll probably wait a few more weeks to pick them because the longer the citrus fruit sits on the tree, the sweeter they become. It’s tempting to pick one every morning, but the longer the wait, the sweeter the reward. We’re both trying our best to be good kids. It’s not easy.

The radicchio, carrots, beets, cucumbers, watermelon and chili peppers are growing at a fast pace. We had some issues with disease with our first batch of tomatoes and had to re-plant them with some stronger varieties. Our soil and cooler climate aren’t too kind to heirlooms tomatoes right now. Their weak resistance to disease has made them lose their battle. But no worries, there’s more and stronger varieties of tomatoes in the ground again. And this morning our queen dragonfruit awakened with her first two blooms!

We want to hear how all your gardens are doing! Share with us what is growing well or what you’ve  started. What are you growing now?

Come visit our Victory Garden!


Grilled Fennel Bulbs Recipe

Yield: Serves 2-4

Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • about 2-3 Fennel bulbs
  • olive oil
  • parmesan cheese
  • sea salt
  • lemon juice
  • vegetable oil for oiling bbq grate


  1. On grill or bbq, make sure the grate is clean. With paper towel , dip in some vegetable oil and oil the grate on the bbq or grill. Heat the grill.
  2. Wash fennel bubs and cut the stems and root, leaving only the bulb. If it's a very young and tender fennel bulb, you can eat some of the stem. But most of the mature fennel bulbs that you buy from the market have tough, unedible stems.
  3. Cut the bulbs in to about 2 in wedges. Toss  with olive oil and place on grill.
  4. Grill each side of bulb or bulb wedges for about 10-20 minutes (depending on toughness of bulb) . The fennel bulb will become soft and tender.
  5. Remove from grill, drizzle with a little more olive oil, salt, some lemon juice and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Recipe Source:

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.


{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Mel

    This is a wonderful fennel recipe. Care to submit it to and my battle fennel for December? Join the fun 🙂

    For more info:

  2. White on Rice Couple

    Thanks for visiting and all the lovely comments everyone.

    We wanted to answer a couple of your questions.
    Katie – Shiso we will usually use fresh in salads, spring rolls, or other misc dishes. That is how we predominantly use our Viet herbs and the shiso is great along side them.

    Brooklynn – We’ve been hammered with mildew as well. It’s this long lasting June Gloom. It’s killing us. We don’t have sandy soil where we are at. It is a miserable hard pack clay soil. For the veggie and herb sections we continually amend the crap out of it, adding compost once or twice a year. For many things though, we’ve had much better success building raised planters or utilizing pots.

    Thanks again for all of the sweet compliments and comments everyone. Happy gardening! -WORC

  3. Brooklynn

    Hi there fellow Costa Mesan’s.

    This year I am growing 3 different kind of tomatoes (although all of them have been hit by mildew), cucumbers, bell peppers, lettuce and garlic.
    My biggest challenge has been the sandy soil. How have you two combat this?

    Happy Gardening!

  4. The Purple Foodie

    So envious that you can pluck fennel from your garden and start cooking! This fennel dish sounds like something I’d love to try. Parmesan makes a whole lot of things so much better!

  5. Angry Brit

    I love fennel. Have become addicted to it. This recipe sounds perfect. Amazing. Thank you for sharing it.

  6. Sprouted Kitchen

    So glad I found your site! I wish you both all the greatest in this journey of yours. I love fennel, all sorts of preparations, and this looks wonderful! Keep in touch, visit our blog, I feel we have similar intentions !

  7. Katie

    What do you do with the shiso? I am so intrigued!

  8. Katie

    Ahhh…I started seedling heirloom tomatoes ( you can see the process on my blog). They were doing splendid until we transplanted into the yard. Funny thing – my hubby made me a bed…the ones in there are NOT doing well. The ones we stuck here and about in various other flowerbeds are doing GREAT! I wasn’t home when he did the soil and am suspicious the ratio he used of manure is too high…we are going to add more soil and try to rake it in this weekend…do you have a good soil ratio of ideas for tomatoes?

  9. Jeff

    Don’t mind me just here to drool over garden porn pics. Have to say your soil looks amazing!! Loving the little tomatoes too. Hopefully in another month I will have something other than a stem to show from my tomato plants.

  10. Jen Yu

    Oh, you know I swoon whenever I see garden porn!! Especially when it’s coming from YOUR garden. I would need to supersmart experts such as yourselves to help me figure out what to grow and how to grow it up here! Then again, I do have a nice tent. I could just set it up in the middle of the lawn there at your place… I’ll walk, feed, wash, and play with the dogs (and guard the strawberries) in exchange for fresh garden loveliness?? 🙂 Just unzip the tent and reach outside for a nibble when I get hungry at night… xxoo

  11. matt wright

    so jealous. Our beets are still tiny, and fennel is so small the bulbs are yet to form! LOVE grilled fennel, my favorite way to eat em.. I would normally boil them first to help the tenderness, but I will certainly try this slower grill way, they look bloody fabulous!

  12. Srivalli

    Beautiful garden pictures…my garden right now has just spinach and mint!..

  13. pam

    You’re so lucky to have all that reseeding going on! About the only that reseeded here were the chives, and they have gone crazy.

  14. Lori @ RecipeGirl

    I’m entirely jealous of your gardens. It seems that you grow so many wonderful things to play with in the kitchen! Nice that you have two of you tending to it. My husband would never help me!! I have a few lemon/lime trees, lots of herbs and potted tomatoes. Other than that… haven’t had much luck.

    Your fennel is fabulous!

  15. Hélène

    Looking at your beautiful pics I miss gardening so much. Great idea to grill the fennel. Are your neighbors going nuts with the smell of your dishes? 🙂

  16. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    I’d never grilled fennel bulbs before last summer, and I fell in love with the smoky flavor and sweetness of fennel cooked that way. How wonderful that you have fennel in your garden!

  17. White on Rice Couple

    Manggy – Sorry to hear about your gardening woes. Each climate has is own difficulties. Here we’ve found most of our herbs are better in filtered sun, even though most guides will say full sun. We’ll savor everything extra more just for you.

    Julie – We haven’t tried cooking the root yet. Might be something to play with, thanks for the idea. Sounds like your garden is at the same growing state as ours. Can’t wait for the cucumbers to get going!

    Caitlin – We were lucky to have small balconies in our first two apartments. Our poor roommates lost it all to our first gardening attempts. It worked great for herbs and a dwarf tangelo lime. We still have that tangelo.

    maybelles mom – Luckily when we thin the fruit tree branches we still get to use those for BBQing.

    Carol – You get to come over any time you are in town. We’ll grill extra fennel just for you!

    angela – We totally agree!

    Darci – Welcome to WORCland! Cindy wrote such a cute article. We loved it. Thanks for all the well wishes. Sounds like you have a great garden.

    Lori Lynn – We beat the big dog to the strawberries this morning. We win!

    Cynthia – Fennel is one of our favorites. Raw or cooked it’s tasty!

    Dana – We love fennel & lemon. Sliced thin and raw, with a little sea salt. Tasty!

    Gastronomer – That’s just how our first two places were. Each time we get a little bigger space. We were so lucky to find this place when we were buying.

    Rachael – One of the few drawbacks to traveling, not being able to cook from the markets. You hit a sweet spot in the Ferry building! Your herbs and tomatoes look so healthy. If you can, try to find the sun gold cherry tomatoes (orange color.) They are as sweet as candy.

    Marvin – We can’t wait to have you guys over again. You’ll be amazed how much it has taken off since last fall. It’s gone crazy. Or maybe we’ve gone crazy.

    denise – We love that, too. There is nothing like seeing fruits and veggies in their natural state. Sounds like your previous spot was incredible!

    Abigail – You’re a wee bit funny. You made us laugh when we read that this morning. The weeding is worth it. It isn’t too bad now. When we first got the house we it was 80% weeds. We could barely stand up after weeks of weeding.

    Holly – Our tomatoes are hit and miss this year, too. A couple hardier varieties are doing well (knock on wood) but we’ve already pulled 3 plants out and replaced them with 8 more. Our math is a little off 😉

    Thanks for visiting and sharing your gardens, everyone. Happy growing! -WORC

  18. Holly

    I have fennel but not as large and beautiful as yours. My tomatoes were doing well but we had a bout of vog (volcanic haze – Hawaii) which is has acid in it and makes all the fruit fall. I do see some more flowers coming. Cucumbers do real well. Strawberries, although they are not very sweet. Papayas coming soon. Collards, Kale and Arugala grow like weeds. Happy Gardening!! and eating!

  19. Abigail

    Oh, you should see my wee Japanese balcony space. Not even enough space to wee! 😉 I’ve got my laundry hanging out there at all hours and I do gymnastics and major contortions to get around the poles (my poor hubby is 6’2″ and can hardly even go out there – lucky bloke, hey, he doesn’t have to do much laundry). So yeah, I’ve got a few small pots of herbs and 3 cherry tomato plants that have bloomed and then…nothing…no baby tomatoes to be seen. It just doesn’t seem meant to be – in years past the tomatoes have either been hit by typhoons (poor babies) or totally withered in the sun trap (even with loads of watering). My potted hydrangea is happy right now, and my cherry sage is blooming and smells heavenly, but not sure how much I’ll be able to grow to actually eat, other than the other herbs (Italian parsley, basil, cilantro). I envy you your gorgeous garden, but I guess I’m a bit relieved, too, that I don’t have to endure all that weeding! 🙂

  20. denise (chez danisse)

    i like your fennel photographs. i’d like to see more “raw” photos of food like the images in your post. most fruits and vegetables look fabulous before they are scrubbed and trimmed. we had a huge space last year and grew just about every fruit and veg known to man, but now we are back in the city. i miss my garden…

  21. Marvin

    Even though I’ve seen your garden up close and in person, I’m still always amazed at the variety of things you two seem to coax into growing there! I’ve still never had fennel, but I’m sure like everything else, it’s great grilled.

  22. Rachael

    I almost forgot to mention my garden! In Tokyo, I started a small balcony garden. You can read about it here:

    Someone is taking care of it while we are away for the summer. I’m hoping it is all still intact when we come back!

  23. Rachael

    This looks really tasty! We are in San Francisco right now and stopped by the farmer’s market at the Ferry Building this morning. There was some beautiful fennel there and I so wanted to buy some, but alas, no kitchen in our hotel room to use… Sometime this summer I will have to give this recipe a spin!

  24. Gastronomer

    On the little balcony behind our apartment, we’re growing a bucket of basil and another of rosemary. I can’t wait to have a real backyard. In the mean time, I’ll just have to admire yours. It’s so very perfect!

  25. Dana Zia

    Yum! I have never ever ever thought of grilling fennel bulbs before. Gets the ole wheels turning! I just did a post on fennel and lemon as well. I made a fennel tzaziki with grilled rock cod in fennel and lemon. It was pretty tasty, but I HAVE got to try this recipe. Thanks for always being an inspiration. Dana

  26. Cynthia

    I’ve never had fennel but since I am currently visiting in the US, I’ll definitely buy some and try this.

  27. Lori Lynn

    Absolutely love all the photos from your garden. Sierra is a good dog, she doesn’t eat the strawberries? Our Tiger used to eat all of them…
    The fennel recipe sounds heavenly too.

    Sierra is good. Our other one, the hound dog Dante, is another story. We have to get up pretty early to beat him to the strawberries. Although he does prefer them as an after breakfast snack, so it gives us a little time. Silly puppies. -WORC

  28. Darci Goodman

    I just read about you guys in the Register! I too love to grow my own food. I live here in North Tustin, I follow organic pricipals and I have a ton of luck with “Lasagna Gardening”. I am not sure why my friends don’t try it, it is so simple. Anyway, right now I am enjoying Fava Beans from seeds I purchased last fall from my favorite small store in Piazza Santo Spirito in Florence. I went to the Slow Food “expo” in Torino first, it was amazing! Good luck with all your endeavors, I will enjoy watching!


    Parmesan, olive oil, salt and lemon are the best quartet for fresh garden fare. Really, who needs anything else to sing in the satisfaction of your own garden?

  30. Carol, Simply...Gluten-free

    I live a gardner’s life vicariously through you! LOVE,LOVE,LOVE grilled fennel.

  31. maybelles mom

    I have the same guilt about thinning the plot. (though of course we are ages behind you in Ohio in terms of planting weather.) We have some fennel from last years that is just about 2 weeks behind these. Can’t wait.

  32. Caitlin

    I’ve never had fennel, but you’re inspiring me to give it a try! As for my garden… I’ll get that the minute I’m out of a cramped little apartment and into a house with some decent land. Until then, the farmer’s market is my garden 😛

  33. Julia

    The fennel has such a cool root structure… is it edible? I love your little eco-system… to me, that’s one of the great joys of gardening.

    All is well is my garden — just seeing the first tomatoes, and harvesting tons of kale and fresh herbs. Still a ways to go for the cukes and zucchini, etc… but it’s fun to watch it all come along.

  34. Manggy

    Oh no. Not doing too well I’m afraid! The rains just keep on coming, but before that, the sun burned my basil to a crisp (I wanna cry….). I definitely could use some soldiers from your “army” 🙂 I have a lime plant that seems to be doing well, but its tiny fruit don’t want to grow bigger for some reason, even though I think I’m nourishing it well enough!
    So okay, I’m reeaaaally jealous of your garden, k?!?!? 😛

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