Giant Lemon Fennel Beans Recipe

Baby fennel, big white beans, sliced lemon, a honey-kissed in-pan white wine sauce, all finished with a shower of chopped dill.

Giant Lemon Fennel Beans

Baby fennel, big white beans, sliced lemon, a honey-kissed in-pan white wine sauce, all finished with a shower of chopped dill. If any of you are in a side-dish rut, I'm going to lobby for trying this. It's fast, it's good, and as a base idea, it's flexible. You can make the beans as instructed below, or use the recipe as a jumping off point. Add a poached egg on top to make a complete one bowl meal. Or, add a few cups of water (or herby broth), season well, and you have a bright, substantial stew. If you make it in an oven-proof skillet, you can top it with feta, chopped olives, and breadcrumbs, and bake it into a crunchy-topped gratin.

Giant Lemon Fennel Beans

Let me know if you have other ideas of where to take this. The last time we did a collective brainstorm, for guacamole, I loved it. So many great variations I never would have thought of. I have a favorites list on-deck next. Lots of good reads to come! xo -h

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Giant Lemon Fennel Beans

HS: Large corona beans, or gigante beans are my favorite here, but white cannellinis are also a great option.

4-5 small fennel bulbs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
Half a lemon, scrubbed and sliced or cut into wedges
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups cooked white beans (corona, cannellini, etc)
1/2 cup water (or reserved liquid from cooking the beans)
1/2 cup roughly chopped dill

To prep the fennel, remove each bulb's tough outermost layer. Trim each bulb's
base, and slice along the length into 1/2-inch thick wedges.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When the oil starts to ripple and move away from the center of the pan, add the fennel. Scatter the wedges across the surface of the pan rather than gathering them into a clump, and let them sit without stirring until the sides touching the pan caramelize and brown a bit, roughly 2 minutes or so. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until the fennel has cooked through. Add the honey, lemon, salt, and wine to the pan, stirring to combine. Let the wine heat and reduce for a minute or so before adding the beans and water. Cook until the beans are warmed through, about 5 minutes.

These beans are good at just about any temp- hot, warm, or at room temperature. Serve topped with a big handful of chopped dill and a drizzle of your best olive oil.

Serves 4.

Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 10 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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It's like you knew I had just cooked off tons of gigante beans and needed something to do with them! I loved this recipe and will surely be making it again and again. Thanks, Heidi.


Hi there, I've recently become a vegetarian and am so glad to have found this site. I've been wanting to explore different food options and these recipes are amazing, Heidi.


I love the champagne cork in your first photo...its presence suggests a simple, elegant meal - this lovely bean dish & a glass of champagne...a toast to Spring! We enjoyed your Shredded Egg Salad this week. Shredded eggs...genius! So light and fluffy and, as for fresh dill, well, it's going in and on just about everything these days. As always, many thanks.

Kristin | The Dinner Concierge

I love fennel, so I am eager to give this a try...can anyone comment on using canned beans?


I made this tonight with giant lima beans and preserved lemon. I went the crunchy top gratin route with goat cheese crumbles, chopped olives, and buttered breadcrumbs. Yum!

Anne Marie

We tried it tonight for dinner and absolutely loved it! The combination has a very unexpected depth of flavour – is it the honey, the dill, or the lightly caramelised fennel? Not sure, but the whole has a fantastic sweet nuttiness...We didn't have any white wine on hand, so I just used a splash of apple cidre vinegar – I think it worked very well here, too. Thanks for this, x Valeria


Made this today with scarlet runner beans-- it was both beautiful and so delicious. I served it on soft polenta. Whew was it good. This is a new fav for sure.


Well this is all kinds of perfect and I can't wait to try it! As a variation I might, skip the honey & add slow roasted tomatoes and anchovies for a rustic Italian dish.

Gwen @simplyhealthyfamily

Beans are one of my great loves. Fennel, we're still early in our relationship. We're still trying to figure each other out, see how well we play together. Maybe a double date will help fennel and I get to see the best in each other. Or maybe it will just make things terribly awkward.


I made this tonight--absolutely delicious! I don't care for big beans, so I used great northerns. Came out great and so easy.


So happy the fennel season has kicked off here in Australia. I'm a big fan of the bulb vegetable. Must say, I love it in a gratin.

Michelle Reedy

The gratin sounds delightful. Anything with fennel in the spring just sounds fresh and lovely. Thank you so much!


Oooh I love the combo of gigantic beans and baby fennel, and the flavors are perfect for early spring! I look forward to trying this soon.

la domestique

For Deb: I recently did some of those exact beans, and after a good overnight soak, they still needed simmering for several hours, so beware of this. I added green garlic sautéed with chopped kale & mustard greens in olive oil to the bowls before serving, and topped off with beans-- they are quite 'meaty' and yummy....and this recipe of Heidi's is awesome, will be doing it soon!


What a lovely dish, baby fennel and cannellini seems like perfect pairing. I’d toss in some spinach or kale and some broth to make soup. It’s raining where I am :-)


I'm thinking fresh favas from my garden


Oh my lord, these beans are HUUUGE! What a lovely, simple dish! :) Thanks for sharing. So easy to adapt, too.

Katie @ Produce on Parade

I'm thinking this beautiful fennel dish would also be very delicious with the addition of very thin slices or dices of half of a preserved lemon. As my first batch is ready to enjoy, I've been adding them to everything from hummus to grain salads to vegetable tagines.


These beans sound fantastic! I never know what to do with fennel--a raw salad is a little too much for me--but braising it? Genius. My ideas for variations are pretty simple--like subbing green beans for the fennel, adding some tomato to the broth for a semi-Provencal-y soup, or serving the whole business on a piece of toast, adding a parmesan breadcrumb, and sticking it under the broiler for a minute. Yay!


What is your source for Corona Beans? It is sometimes difficult to find them dried that are not a hundred years old. Or do you just use canned?


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