It’s been super warm this first week of March, but I love this light and refreshing potato fennel soup any time of the year! All of the ingredients are Whole30 and paleo compliant, and making this soup vegan by using vegetable broth is a great way to feel full and feel good about what you’re putting into your belly! I often make a double batch of this soup because it’s not only popular in my house, but is also a great recipe to dehydrate for backpacking.
I didn’t actually know fennel existed until a few years ago when a friend brought one home from the grocery store. At first I was put off by the slightly liquorish smell that it gave off, but soon realized that that smell quickly calms down in recipes. If you already are a fan of black liquorish, then maybe you’re super stoked to hear that there’s a veggie that can give you hints of that in your food, but for me, the hints are more than enough to keep my tongue entertained and keep me eating foods that make me feel good.
If you’re unfamiliar with fennel, it looks something like a cross between celery and carrot tops, but has a ton of health benefits that make this recipe a great addition to your rotation of foods. Since all parts of the fennel plant are edible, there is little to no waste!
Health benefits of fennel
There are so many ways to get the benefits of fennel. It is sometimes used in teas to aid in digestion and help prevent constipation, and can help aid against infections. There are also a number of capsules and creams that can be found in a variety of health food stores, but since I really only consume fennel in my food, I don’t have much to say on the subject of commercially produced fennel products.
Fennel is a great source of nutrients that keep your bones healthy, including phosphorus and calcium. Additionally, fennel is high in Vitamin K, which has been linked to healthy bone matrices and helps your body absorb more calcium. If you are a strict vegan, fennel is a great plant to keep your bones strong without animal products.
Fennel also has a bunch of anti-everything properties. Meaning, it’s anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and has a bunch of antioxidants. And as a bonus, it also is extremely low in calories, meaning that it is a great vegetable to have around for heart health and other cardiovascular health.
If you’re female, fennel has amazing benefits for you. Fennel is a natural source of a chemical that mimics estrogen in the human body, leading some studies to conclude that fennel might help with menstrual pains and symptoms of menopause. It might also aid in child birth and breast feeding, although there are a number of sources that are unsure whether consuming fennel is safe for anyone who is pregnant. Of course, chatting with your doctor is always the best option, so make sure you check in with your physician about if it’s safe for you to ingest fennel. If you are not pregnant and if you’re looking for some natural ways to help regulate and navigate the female hormonal system, the science has shown that fennel might be a promising home remedy!
How to make Potato Fennel Soup
This recipe is extremely easy to make, making it idea for a weeknight meal when you don’t feel like spending a ton of time at the stove cooking. Peeling and boiling potatoes can be the bane of my existence, but I usually have no problem mustering up the strength for this recipe because it is so tasty. If you have an Instant Pot, you can cut down the timing of this recipe significantly because it reduces the boiling time for the potatoes.
What you need to make Potato Fennel Soup:
- pot for boiling potatoes
- potato peeler
- large skillet
- immersion blender (preferred) or blender
- Optional – Instant Pot for boiling potatoes
This is also a staple in our house because we often have most of the ingredients on hand. I’m all for cooking simply out of your cabinets on a weeknight!
- yukon gold potatoes
- olive oil
- vegetable or chicken stock
- garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
Normally, I start this meal and then go do other things – clean, work out, or get ready for the next day – before returning to the stove to finish making it. Although I don’t currently mind standing at the stove a few times a week to cook, I really have come to value those meals that do not need my continuous attention to be a tasty dinner.
Start by peeling your potatoes and cutting them into smaller pieces to be boiled. Gold potatoes are often smaller in size so it might night be necessary to cut them all into smaller sizes, but there are a few that need to be cut up. They shouldn’t be more than 2 1/2- 3 inches wide to help them cook faster. Place them in a pot filled with water to let them boil. If you would rather use an Instant Pot to cook the potatoes, that’s a great way to save some time!
While the potatoes are boiling, cut up your fennel and onion to be sautéed. All parts of the fennel are edible, so leave in those green bits!
Heat your skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the olive oil is heated, add in the chopped onion and fennel. Add in some salt, pepper, and the garlic powder, and stir occasionally until both the fennel and onion are cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. The onion will be translucent and the fennel will be fragrant. Once cooked, set aside.
Once the potatoes have boiled, drain out the water and place them back into the pot. Set aside a few potatoes to be added after you blend the other ingredients. Add in your chicken or vegetable broth to the pot of potatoes and turn the stove onto high. Once the broth and potatoes are boiling, add in the cooked fennel and onion and allow it to cool for a few minutes before blending with an immersion blender.
If you don’t have an immersion blender and love soups, I highly recommend getting one. I have probably have had my immersion blender for about a year now and I sincerely do not know how I lived my life without it. Having a super tiny kitchen means that I have to choose my kitchen appliances with care, and an immersion blender is now at the top of the list for best things that I own. I highly recommend!
In any case, you can still use a normal blender to blend this soup, but it might take a few batches in your blender before you get through it all. The potatoes that you set aside earlier are then ready to be cut up in smaller bite-sized pieces. Add them into the blended potato soup and stir. Then you are ready to eat! Serve with more salt and pepper. I love adding extra garlic powder also for an extra savory treat.
As an active outdoors person who loves going camping and backpacking, having a dehydrator is a gift. For anyone who has been backpacking or camping, you know that food is another complexity that can make or break a trip. Planning meals is a skill in itself! When I made a shift into a more Whole30 and paleo lifestyle a few years ago, I had to completely relearn how to pack food for camping and backpacking. It was either learn how to make my own meals, or pay exorbitant prices for pre-made paleo backpacking meals.
This is an easy soup to dehydrate and use later! Set aside the portion of the soup that you’d like to dehydrate, and put it on low. Stir occasionally with a spatula, making sure to get off the thicker soup bits off the bottom of the pan. Once the soup is more of a thick stew, you’re ready to dehydrate!
If you have a soup liner for your dehydrator, obviously use that. If you are using an Air Fryer Oven, line the trays with parchment paper before putting the soup onto the trays. Dehydrate at 150° F for 10-15 hours. The amount of time will depend on how much liquid you have in the soup before you place it in the dehydrator. They should dehydrate into large “chips.”
Store in a sealed container until ready to use. To reheat, I’ve found it’s best to soak in water for about an hour before heating. I’ve found that is the best way to determine the consistency for the soup that you’re making. I also love taking this soup in the backcountry because it’s a great way to get some fiber into your diet — any backpacker knows that getting enough fiber definitely helps make your trip more enjoyable.
Potato Fennel Soup
- immersion blender
- 2-3 lbs gold potatoes peeled
- 1/2 bulb fennel
- 1 onion
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel potatoes and cut into 3 inch pieces
- Place cut potatoes in a pot of water. Bring to a boil.
- While waiting for the potatoes to boil, chop the onion and the fennel.
- Heat a skillet with olive oil over medium heat.
- Once olive oil is hot, add in diced onion and fennel. Cook until onion is translucent and fennel is fragrant.
- Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the mix. Stir gently with a spatula to prevent burning.
- Once potatoes have boiled and are easily pierced with a fork, drain water from the pot and place potatoes back into the pot.
- Set aside a few potatoes (3 or 4) to cut and use later.
- Add chicken of vegetable broth to the potatoes, and bring to a boil.
- Once the broth, potato and vegetables have come to a boil, turn off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Once the soup has cooled, use an immersion blender to blend what is in the pot. If you do not have an immersion blender, blend the soup in a normal blender.
- Once the soup is blended, chop up a few of the set aside potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Add them back into the soup and stir in.
- Add salt, pepper, and more garlic powder to taste. Serve and enjoy!
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