Mediterranean sautéed fennels

Made with fresh fennels, tomatoes, lemon, and black olives from the souq, this a sunny Mediterranean recipe I adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi in Plenty More (page 143) for one of our meatless meals.

Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C, and a very good source of potassium, dietary fibre, molybdenum, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and folate. It is also a good source of calcium, pantothenic acid, magnesium, iron, and niacin (vitamin B3).

The quantities in the recipe are for 2. It’s ready to eat in 40 minutes or so.


  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut lengthwise into thick slices
  • Salt (I use Himalayan salt)
  • Black pepper
  • 9 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed (unwaxed) lemon juice (between half to a whole lemon) (Before juicing, zest the lemon – see below)
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 medium tomato, diced into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of capers, drained and rinsed
  • 10 wrinkled black olives, pitted and cut into 2
  • 1 teaspoon of demerara sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ teaspoon of grated lemon zest


In a skillet (with a lid) over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the fennels, season with salt and pepper to taste, and sauté the fennels 3 minutes on both sides. Remove the fennels from the skillet and reserve.

In the same skillet, add the garlic and sauté tossing often for about 3 minutes, or until golden-brown. Reduce the heat to medium, carefully add the lemon juice and red wine vinegar, and cook for 2 minutes more until reduced.

Add the tomato, capers, olives, sugar and thyme, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cover with the water. Bring to a simmer for 2 minutes, and add the reserved fennels. Cook covered (turn once at mid-cooking) until the fennel is tender and the sauce has thickened, 12 minutes or so.

Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon zest, and serve at once!

I served these Mediterranean sautéed fennels with brown rice.