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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A great herb combination with cannellini beans is sage - so I would use sage in place of the dill and add in some roasted garlic.


Sounds and looks beautiful. I have some fennel in the refrigerator, but I'm not very familiar with it. Since I don't have baby fennel, can I use the fennel I have?


Suggestion for Deb: a good way to use those pink beans is to prepare a typical Chilean dish (porotos granados): Cook the beans with some cubed squash and basil leaves. Once they are cooked, you put the dish together with creamed corn (not too creamy, though) to thicken the broth and some sauteed chopped onion seasoned with a bit of cumin and paprika. You serve it with chopped fresh basil on top. It is like a thick soup, and delicious. You can also use sliced corn instead of creamed corn; in this case it is a more liquid soup, but just as good.


The Recipe sounds great! I would take it one step further and turn this into A Greek Dish by Frothing egg whites slowly adding fresh lemon juice and adding a bit of the cooked juices from the pan make sure it's warm not hot so as not to curdle, then incorporate with the dish by folding froth into the beans. Avgolemono Style!


Let me tell you Heidi, I think you do marvelous things with all ingredients. But you especially know your way around a bean. This is stunning. I've also enjoyed both your chipotle white bean recipe and your carrot, dill, and white bean salad. Sure I'm missing several other good ones too.

Katie @ Whole Nourishment

There is nothing like caramelized fennel. I love the buttery texture and the smokey sweetness. I just love the idea of eating this warm. Here comes Spring!

Gail {A Healthy Hunger}

Question for Heidi, and others, if you want to chime in. I was recently in the Bay Area for work and picked up a few bags of Rancho Gordo beans to bring back east with me. The bag of beautiful Scarlet Runners I have is staring at me from the pantry and I really want to do something special with them. They're big beans, and I imagine they cook up to a deep pink color. What kinds of veg and flavors go best with these beauties? Thanks for any ideas.


Que maravilha, belas fotos.


This sounds perfect! Especially love the sound of baking it in the oven with feta. Yum!

Emma Galloway

Oh this looks so lovely. I would love to spoon some of this over a big pile or herbed couscous or quinoa or something to soak up the juices for a complete meal. Absolutely gorgeous!

Christina @ but i'm hungry

This sounds like a splendid way to enjoy white beans, which is one of my favorite beans. The flavors sound delicious & I can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

Maui Girl Cooks

Oh, I love this. With warm, buttered crusty bread. So good.


As much as I love fennel I need to try this out! I usually eat fennel raw only. All I have combined it with so far is oranges and olive oil. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe with us :)

Rosa @ mediterranealicious



Always looking for new recipes for cannellini beans which I just love. This looks beautiful and I love the idea of a gratin with feta or maybe as a base for a vegetarian cottage pie type thing.

Caroline @ Shrinking Single

What a perfectly lovely springtime dish. When I think about how I'd like to eat this, I want to spoon it on some toasted rustic bread and eat it like bruschetta. : )

Crystal | Apples & Sparkle

I just recently fell in love with fennel, so this looks amazing!


This looks simply amazing! I love anything "Honey Kissed". Will try with the poached egg. Thank you for this post!

Vegan Woman

it's like you know me so well...


Lovely! I reckon dijon/lemon/garlic would be great too.


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