Caramelized Leeks with Fennel

Leeks are caramelized to release their natural sugars and then cooked with fennel for a sweet, licorice-like taste. Toasted fennel seeds add a more robust flavor. Fennel and fennel seeds are wonderful carminatives that soothe the digestive track.

Recipe created by Alison Anton, Natural Chef.


Photo and recipe from


2 Tbs fennel seeds

2 Tbs olive oil

4 cups sliced leeks

1/2 cup water or vegetable stock

2 large fennel bulbs, sliced, fronds reserved for garnish

1 Tbs fresh thyme

1/2 tsp salt, more for taste

1/2 lemon, juiced, more for taste


1. Heat a pan on medium heat. Add the fennel seeds and dry-toast for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the olive oil and leeks; stir to coast. Turn the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the water or stock, sliced fennel, thyme, and salt. Cover and cook for another 10-12 minutes, until the fennel is tender but still crisp.

3. Transfer to a platter and squeeze with the lemon juice. Garnish with fresh fennel fronds.