How to Make Grill Roasted Fennel

A hot grill mellows the flavor of raw fennel and caramelizes its sugars, making it even more delicious.

If you've never grill roasted this vegetable, here's a simple recipe to get you started. Add whatever herbs, spices, and seasonings you like.

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sliced raw fennel

I love putting this grill roasted fennel on Sausage Pizza. You could also serve the fennel as a side dish or mix it into cooked pasta.

Course. Lunch. Dinner. Side Dish. Vegetable.

Cuisine. Italian. American.

Makes. About 2 cups

Takes. 5 minutes prep. 25 minutes roasting.

Special tools. Large vegetable grilling basket


1 1/2 pounds (680 g) fennel bulbs

1/2 lemon

1/4 cup (59 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon (1.25 g) fresh thyme or oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon (3 g) fine sea salt

1/8 teaspoon (0.25 g) freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon (0.25 g) red pepper flakes


1) Fire up. Prepare a grill for 2-zone cooking. On a charcoal grill, place a chimney full of lit charcoal briquets to one side of the grill's charcoal grate in order to create direct and an indirect cooking zones. You want one side scorching hot and the other side at about 225°F. Add 2 to 3 chunks of your favorite smoking wood to the charcoal for flavor. On a gas grill, adjust the temperature knobs so that one half of the grill is as hot as possible and the other half is approximately 225°F.

2) Prep. Cut the fennel bulbs into quarters lengthwise, then cut out the cores from each piece. With the cores gone, cut each piece of fennel lengthwise into slices about 1/4 inch (0.3 cm) thick. You’ll end up with a bunch of short fennel strips.

3) Move the fennel into a medium bowl and squeeze in the juice from the lemon (through your other hand to catch the seeds). Cut the lemon rind into 4 pieces and drop them in the bowl. Add the oil, thyme, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Mix well to coat everything. Taste a piece of fennel and add any seasoning if you think it needs it.

4) Add a large vegetable grilling basket to the hot side of the grill and preheat it for 2 to 3 minutes.

4) Grill roast the fennel. Add the seasoned fennel to the grilling basket and shake it into a single layer. Move the basket to the cooler side of the grill, cover the grill, and grill roast until the fennel is tender and lightly browned at the tips, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring now and then to prevent burning. When done, let the fennel cool in a basket.

5) Serve. Use immediately or refrigerate in an air­tight container for up to 4 days. Reheat any leftover fennel as a vegetable side dish or mix it into pasta.

Dave Joachim Editor David Joachim has authored, edited, or collaborated on more than 45 cookbooks including four on barbecue and grilling, making him a perfect match for a website dedicated to the “Science of Barbecue and Grilling.” His Food Science column has appeared in "Fine Cooking" magazine since 2011. 

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