When I was in Italy last year, I happened upon a small cafe in Turin with an extensive juice and smoothie menu. I was particularly excited to see that they had a smoothie with fennel in it. Since I love the subtle sweetness of fennel in savory dishes like risotto, I thought the combination could really work well when paired with the right fruits in a fresh smoothie. Sadly though, when I ordered it they informed me that they were out of fennel and I left empty handed.
Inspired by this little cafe and motivated by my disappointment, I returned home determined to add fennel to my smoothies. After adding it to a few smoothies, I found that I loved it. The fennel provides an earthiness that helps to round out the flavors and reduces the overall sweetness. Include a few fronds and you get a mild licorice or anise spice flavor that can provide a lovely complexity that plays well with acidic fruits.
We love the versatility, ease of preparation and immense depth of flavor of fennel. Adding it to smoothies is just another fine option for this wonderful winter vegetable that’s available most of the year.
For my Fennel Smoothie I started with a coconut water base, added fresh fennel for that lovely earthy flavor, included frozen pineapple for the cool sweetness and finished with fresh lemons for their tanginess. Add flax seeds before blending if you want a thicker smoothie with extra nutrients. I also like to occasionally top this smoothie with hemp hearts.
Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender (Vitamix) until smooth. Fennel is fibrous, so you may need to run it a bit longer.
My preferred coconut water is Harvest Bay but there are a number of good coconut waters on the market. Just be sure to purchase one that is 100% coconut water and not made from concentrate. There's no reason for coconut water to have added flavors or sweeteners.
If using fresh pineapple chunks, add a bit of crushed ice to help chill the smoothie.