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Seasoned simply with olive oil, salt and pepper and finished with nutty shavings of parmesan cheese, buttery Grilled Fennel is a vegetable side dish you’ll crave.

Grilled Fennel on an oval white platter photographed from above.

This quick, no-fuss recipe is perfect for all kinds of backyard BBQs and summer get-togethers. Artfully arranged on a platter, it’s the ideal side dish for just about any grilled meat, fish or seafood.

Ingredients You Need to Make Grilled Fennel

Grilled Fennel Ingredients on a white marble board.
  • Fresh Fennel Bulbs: Look for large bulbs (with at least some fronds still attached) that are heavy for their size and without splits, discoloration or bruising.
  • Olive Oil: good, extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper:
  • Parmesan Cheese: ideally Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano
  • Fennel Fronds: for garnish, optional

If you’re not familiar with fennel, you might be interested to know that it’s related to carrots. And although it’s native to the Mediterranean basin, it’s now widely available worldwide. It’s at its peak in late fall to early spring, but many grocery stores carry it year round.

Grilled Fennel on an oval white platter.

You can serve it raw, to add interest and delicious crunch to a raw vegetable platter or chop it up for salad, but I think it’s even better when braised or grilled. Cooked fennel has a mellow licorice / anise flavor and a silky rich texture. Finished with good olive oil and shaved ribbons of parmesan cheese, it’s elevated to a side that just might outshine every other dish at the table.

How to Cut Fennel Bulb for Grilling

Trim off the fronds and thick stalks from the top of the fennel bulb (reserve the feathery fronds for a pretty, flavorful garnish). Then trim a thin slice off the bottom of the bulb, taking care to leave the core intact. Turn the bulb upright and carefully slice it lengthwise, top to bottom, into ~1/2-inch wide slices.

Serve With

A few great pairings:

Grilled Fennel

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Total: 18 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Calories: 81
Servings: 8 people
A simple and perfect summer side dish for fennel lovers!

Ingredients  

  • 4 large fennel bulbs cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling on at the end
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 ounce shaved Parmesan cheese or more to taste
  • chopped fennel fronds optional garnish

Instructions 

  • Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat.
  • Arrange fennel slices in a single layer on a platter or baking sheet and brush each side generously with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill 3-4 minutes per side until just tender (leave undisturbed on each side to get those great grill marks). Arrange on a serving platter; lightly drizzle with olive oil and top with parmesan cheese shavings. Garnish with fennel fronds if desired and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 81kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 118mg | Potassium: 488mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 184IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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12 Comments

  1. Liz says:

    I love roasted fennel and I don’t know why we haven’t grilled it. This looks fabulous (and easy)!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      It really is easy, Liz! And I think you will love it.

  2. Valentina says:

    Hi Marissa! I love fennel and think it often gets left out from the more popular veggies. So yay! This recipe sounds delicious, especially with the char from the grill. And the Parmesan is perfect. 🙂 ~Valentina

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Thanks so much, Valentina!

  3. Ben | Havocinthekitchen says:

    I am a huge fan of fennel throughout the cold months of the year, but I kind of neglect it in summer. This looks wonderful, such a perfect summer side. Loving the addition of parmesan, too!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Thanks, Ben! I hope you’ll give it a try.

  4. David @ Spiced says:

    5 stars
    What a fun idea! I’ve grilled a lot of things over the years, but I’ve never grilled fennel. In fact, I think I’ve only ever used fennel in winter stews/roasts. I’m intrigued! This sounds like an easy and delicious recipe…and a fun way to mix things up a bit, too!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I’m excited for you to taste it, David! Since you enjoy it in stews etc., I know you’ll love this summer version.

  5. angiesrecipes says:

    Such a lovely side dish! I love the aroma and taste of fennel. I find raw as salad also very delicious.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Thanks, Angie! I agree 100%.