Grilled Fennel Dippers

by Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit) on July 22, 2011

You have 60 minutes before a group of your closest friends show up for a dinner party and you forgot to make an appetizer.

What do you do?

a) Run around the house like a chicken with your head cut off [an expression my mom always used... and lived constantly].
b) Head out to the local M&M meat market to buy random packs of processed appetizers.
c) Zoom over to the grocery store to pick up 1 fennel bulb, 1 can of chickpeas, and a handful of veggies.

If you picked c we’re on the same wavelength, because that’s exactly what I did last weekend!

I’ve never grilled fennel before. And combined with hummus?

Hubba hubba!


Grilled Fennel Dips with Veggie Hummus

Vegan, Gluten free, Dairy free, Sugar free, Yeast free, Corn free

Transform a fennel bulb into the perfect dipper! This 10 minute appetizer is made from simple ingredients and produces delicious results.



  1. Preheat your indoor (or outdoor) grill.
  2. To slice your fennel bulb for the perfect “dipper”, cut in half vertically. Then remove the core by cutting a triangle in the base of each 1/2 bulb. Begin removing layers as you would an onion and slice these layers into triangles. It wont be perfect, but I promise it will work out!
  3. Place fennel slices on the grill and sprinkle with herbamare. Close the top and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. You still want the fennel to be crisp, so don’t leave it too long.
  4. Serve on a bed of veggie hummus and enjoy!

Note: For a quick version of sauteed veggie hummus try replacing the olive oil, garlic, onion, celery, carrot, and red pepper with 1 packet of gluten-free dry vegetable soup mix, like this one (contains corn). It’s not ideal, but when you’re racing against the clock, you gotta do what you gotta do!


Have you cooked with fennel before? It looks like this…


It’s crunchy, slightly sweet, and adds an aromatic and refreshing taste to salads, soups, and grilled veggies.

My first experience with fennel was when I used it instead of onions in a batch of carrot soup, landing on what is now known as Vegan Creamy Carrot Fennel Soup.

I bet serving this soup cold with a couple of fresh veggie sticks would make for a fantastic summer meal!

And, did you know that this fun ingredient actually has some amazing health benefits, too?

  • Studies have shown that the phytonutrients in fennel may help lower inflammation, decrease risk of cancer, and strengthen our immunity.
  • It’s fiber content helps to keep your digestion rollin’ along, assists in lowering your cholesterol, and encourages detoxification.
  • High in nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, niacin [a B vitamin], calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus

When was the last time you could say that the cracker you dipped in hummus  did all that for your health?

We served these appetizers with our favorite earth friendly merlot; Fetzer, and took the opportunity to educate our guests on the health benefits of fennel.

I didn’t chat about the digestive tract too much… I swear our dinner parties are fun.


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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

I love fennel and have posted about it many times. I love roasting it in coconut oil and adding ginger. It’s just a great combo to me. I LOVE the looks of your dippers! Totally awesome work!


Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free

ohmygosh it looks so wonderful! I bet the flavor is fantastic. And sadly, I don’t think I have ever cooked with fennel before :( That should change soon now that I know what to do with it!



I’ve never used fennel. Perhaps I’ll have to give it a shot, this looks easy and yummy! I love your educational section :)



What a fun idea! I love the serving dish, too.


Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

Hummus is always my last-min party item, but I’ve never thought to go the fennel with it. Great idea!


Hallie @ Daily Bites

Awesome idea! I’m a fennel fanatic. :)


Aine @ Something to Chew Over

I love fennel but my boyfriend can’t stand it so I really only have it when eating out. Maybe I’ll make a batch of these for myself :)


Kristina @ spabettie

I would LOVE your dinner parties! :)

fennel is so tasty – I bought some to grill last weekend (so we ARE on the same page!) but grilling didn’t happen so I juiced it – YOW! :D


Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Juiced it? Holy heck… you’re hardcore. One day we shall have a dinner party, one day.


Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty

Oh awesome! I LOVE grilled fennel (or roasted). Well this confirms it, I must go and buy fennel – it’s been on my list for awhile now!


Leanne, first I marvel at your bravery. You were at the store and rather than grab an appetizer staple, you were drawn to the fennel and said “let’s dance.” Then, with five minutes left – you didn’t just slap it in a bowl, no you Iron Chefed it with that presentation for which I would give you the full 15 points. And to top it off, you gave us an even quicker version. Food hero! Just so you know my capabilities…I thought it said fennel diapers, which of course would come in handy after eating fiber-rich fennel. If you don’t mind, I want to link to your fennel dip. Thanks.


Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

haha diapers, too funny. Thank you for making my day :) I love the idea of “dancing” with food. I’d never thought of it that way, but that’s exactly what I do! Of course, please feel free to link!



Holy smokes! Yours is rapidly becoming my new favorite blog. Every day I look at my homepage and say “ooh that looks good”. Invariably its your post! So Thank-you for being awesome!

We love fennel at our house: sliced thin and raw in a slaw (dress with dill, apple cider vinegar, lemon, and vegan mayo), or in the winter our fave is roasted fennel, red onion, red/yellow/orange peppers, zucchini, and lots of garlic, on pasta with a balsamic vinaigrette, rosemary, and goat feta – we discovered the latter recipe from the incredible Rebar cookbook. (Rebar is an AMAZING local vegetarian-ish restaurant).


Lisa @ Healthful Sense

This is definitely a genius level idea!! Love the idea of using fennel for a dipper INTO hummus. Perfect!!



I have done something very similar. Not making something super fancy like this but forgetting an app and using hummus and veggies as it in a time crunch! Good thing I always have those on hand :) I don’t know if I have ever tried fennel, I am intrigued. I’ll have to try this sometime :)



I now know what I have to do with my half fennel bulb who’s dying in the fridge.



What a unique way to use fennel! I love to cook with fennel, but Ive never tryed this before! Looks fancy and yummy :D


Andrea @ Vegvacious

Yum! I love the thoughts of using fennel instead of some sort of carb to dip into the hummus. I’ve never cooked with it before, but I know I’ve seen it at the local grocery store, so I’m going to check it out!



Oh. Gosh. Your story about your mom saying ‘running around like a chicken with its head cut off’ reminded me of this one time my mom attempted to say that phrase but said instead, “running around with a chicken up your butt!” close enough though.


India-leigh @ aveganobsession

what a stroke of brilliance! I love this idea. I made roasted, stuffed fennel last week (first time) for my 7 day vegan meal plan and it was good. Your pics are so v.good.


Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen)

I would love going to one of your dinner parties! I wouldn’t mind hearing about my digestive tract the entire time! These look perfect!


Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

haha see! That’s what my guests tell me too, so I just blab about health until someone changes the topic!


Junia @ Mis Pensamientos

love the idea of using grille fennel as dippers! i call this schmancy entertaining :). i am in love with fennel lately.



I love fennel. What a pretty presentation!


Sara @ Saucy Dipper

I love the idea of fennel dippers. Outstanding idea. Bookmarking!


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