This creamy roasted fennel soup is packed with flavour and easy to make - perfect for an elegant dinner party or a warming lunch with a hunk of fresh bread.
What a blustery week! I've been almost whisked away by the wind a few times today, and coming home to a steaming bowl of roasted fennel soup and some lovely fresh bread was such a treat.
I love experimenting with soup recipes, and one of the best bits is plunging in the hand blender and finding out what colour the soup will end up.
You never quite know until it is a silky smooth purée, and in this case the gorgeous pale green colour was a winner - I love it, (in fact I might take a bowl of it to a DIY store for paint colour matching, wouldn't it be a stunning colour for a feature wall!).
If you're a regular reader you will know that I love roasting soup ingredients rather than just boiling them - (like my roasted tomato and pepper soup, or roasted courgette soup). There is an intensity to the flavours you get in the oven that just isn't possible in a saucepan, and it really isn't much more effort overall.
This is a delicate soup, and it needs to be to make the most of the sweet roasted fennel and garlic. Green peas, creamy coconut milk and a little lemon juice are all that's needed to set off the flavours, without overpowering the fennel.
I had some pretty pea shoots in the fridge so used them to decorate the bowl with a swirl of coconut milk, and for lunch the next day I piled on some croutons made from stale ciabatta and they were fabulous too.
📝 What you need
Fennel bulbs Fennel has an aniseed flavour which makes it quite distinctive, and it is important not to overpower it. If you haven't cooked with fennel before this is a great recipe to start with - roasting brings out the sweetness and flavour of the fennel bulb.
Garlic cloves Roasting the garlic cloves in their skins is one of my favourite things to do with garlic - it takes away a lot of the garlicky punch and replaces it with a round sweetness which goes so well with the fennel. If you don't have fresh garlic you can compromise with ready-chopped garlic from a jar but it won't be quite as special as the fresh cloves.
Lemon is such a perfect partner to fennel - it really brightens up the flavour.
Vegetable stock A good quality bouillon powder or stock cube is ideal here - I go for the lower salt variety so I can control the seasoning a bit more. Always check the ingredients of vegetable stock as some aren't vegan.
Fresh parsley and baby spinach both provide a kick of freshness and boost to the lovely green colour of this soup. But any greens will work well if you don't have spinach - chard or curly kale would be lovely too, (though will need a minute or two extra to cook in the soup).
Frozen peas are sweet and delicate, so bulk out the soup without overpowering the fennel flavour. They also add a welcome boost of protein to the soup, great for vegans!
Coconut milk really finishes this off - both the texture, which adds a silky edge to the soup, and the hint of coconut flavour which sets off everything else. If you don't have any to hand, some dairy-free cream will be fine instead - I often use the Elmlea plant double cream which is very rich and delicious.
There’s no fancy equipment needed to make soup, of course, though to get a silky smooth texture you do need a way of blending it.
I use a stick blender which is so quick and easy as you just shove it in the saucepan, blitz for a minute or two, (it really is worth persevering for over a minute for a very smooth soup), and you’re done. They are reasonably priced, you can pick up a basic model like this one* for just over £10 these days, and if you make a lot of homemade soup you won’t regret it.
Mine is this Dualit model* which also has a chopping bowl and whisk, both of which I use a lot.
Alternatively, if you have a blender or food processor you can separate out half the soup, blitz that to a smooth purée then return it to the pan and mix into the chunky half.
❄️ Can I freeze my Fennel Soup?
Absolutely! This freezes really well so you can batch cook a lot at a time if you have a fennel glut, and freeze it in individual portions.
I do find that the lemony flavour is a little subdued after freezing, so would suggest adding an extra squeeze of lemon just before serving.
👩🏽🍳 What else can I make with fennel?
If you have a lot of fennel to use up - perhaps in a vegetable box or from your allotment, you might like to take a look at:
- Fennel and Apple Salad with bulgur wheat from The Veg Space
- Jane's Fennel and Wild Garlic Salad with Mustard Dressing from The HedgeCombers
- Chris' Orange, Fennel and Avocado Salad from Thinly Spread
⭐️ Reader Testimonials
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "My first time making fennel soup and what a great find! It is really delicious." Louise
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "Absolutely delicious. The fennel is quite subtle so tastes like the best pea soup you have ever had!" Liz
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "This was lovely and both my kids ate it (5 and 2), result! Thank you. I needed a recipe for the fennel in my veg box." Amy
🍽 If you liked that...
.... you might also enjoy these vegan recipes from The Veg Space:
Fennel Soup with peas & lemon
- 2 tablespoon rapeseed or sunflower oil
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 1 small onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 750 ml vegetable stock (check it is vegan)
- 200 g frozen peas
- 100 ml coconut milk
- ½ lemon
- handful baby spinach
- handful fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
- Trim the stem and tips from the fennel and cut it into wedges. Peel and slice the onion. Place both in a roasting tin or baking tray with the oil and garlic cloves (leave them in their skins, do not peel), and season with salt and black pepper.
- Roast for 25-30 minutes until the fennel is soft and turning brown.
- When cool enough to handle, squeeze the flesh of the two garlic cloves out into the roasting tin and discard the skins.
- Bring the vegetable stock to the boil in a large saucepan. Add the roasted fennel, onion and garlic, then the frozen peas and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and use a hand blender, food processor or blender to blitz to a smooth purée, (keep going for a minute or two, this needs to be really smooth), then add the coconut milk, lemon juice, spinach and parsley and blitz again. Taste and add more salt or pepper if required.
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