I am sure that each blogger has a favorite approach to getting their posts prepared. The Bewitching Kitchen has been around for almost 5 years, and I more or less settled on a pace of two posts per week, which suits me  well. It is not too stressful, and allows me to work on new articles exclusively during the weekend.  For the most part, I  have a backup of 8 or more posts lined up, so the recipes you see on my blog were probably at our table several weeks earlier… but sometimes I make something so tasty that I feel like blogging about it right after finishing the meal.  It was the case for this soup, simple ingredients, quick to prepare, but it feels like something worthy of a Michelin-starred restaurant.  Creamy, luscious, without a single drop of heavy cream in it.  I had noticed the recipe on Cooking Light, and even jotted down the ingredients on my shopping list.  But the weather turned a little warmer, and soup left my mind. What changed all that? Steve’s post at Oui, Chef…  His description of this fennel entity left me craving for a bowl, no matter the temperature outside. End of story.

(slightly modified from Oui, Chef)

1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups sliced fennel bulb (I used two large bulbs)
1 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar (I added 1 tsp)
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons small fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 ounce grated Parmigiano cheese

Heat a dutch oven over medium heat.  Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat.  Add fennel, onion, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 1 minute.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook 6 minutes or until crisp-tender (do not brown), stirring occasionally.

Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 1/2 cups water, vinegar, and beans.  Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.  Place half of mixture in a blender.  remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender.  Place a clean towel over opening in the lid.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into a large bowl.  Repeat procedure with the balance of the mixture.

Combine almonds, mint, zest and cheese.  Divide soup among 4 bowls; top with almond mixture and if desired drizzle a little olive oil before serving.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  You know one of my greatest pet peeves?  Soups that are finished off with a load of heavy cream.  A couple of years ago, while watching a show by Pioneer’s Woman,  I literally screamed at the TV when she shared a recipe for the “best ever” cauliflower soup.  I swear that her version was 5% cauliflower, 15% butter, 20% cheese, 20% milk, 40% heavy cream. Heck, you can omit the cauliflower, add powdered rocks instead and people will be licking their spoons!  And now that I elegantly stepped out of my soap box, I can tell you that this soup takes the exact opposite approach.  Using white beans to improve the texture is a trick I shall not forget. The fresh mint they had at the store was not looking very good,  so I used some dried mint instead (added it together with the beans) and topped the soup with minced fennel fronds. Fresh dill would be great there too.

At Oui, Chef you can see a gorgeous photo for the soup, with mint leaves floating on top, quite artistic. Pay Steve a visit and say hello…  He is an impressive guy: father of five (!!!!), with a cool one-line bio…

I’m a blogger on a mission to encourage parents to teach their kids how to cook and eat well”.

But don’t take that statement lightly, he spent two years in France, got “Le Grande Diplome” at Cordon Bleu, and also studied at The Ritz Escoffier,  Lenotre, and Bordeaux L’Ecole du Vin. Beyond impressive.  If that was not enough, he is also a fan of Tony Horton’s P90X. See? P90Xers are slowly taking over, one food blog and one pull-up at a time…  😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Green Curry Pork Tenderloin

TWO YEARS AGO: Farfalle with Zucchini and Ricotta

THREE YEARS AGO: Slow-baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme

FOUR YEARS AGO: Hoisin Explosion Chicken


  1. I’m still a fennel novice, actually I’ve never tasted it, but this soup sounds pretty tasty and it’s not too warm to make a pot of soup. I don’t mind a bit of cream but if you can still get a rich, creamy consistency with beans, go for it.🙂


    • Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a bit of cream either, in fact I think that a little bit of cream adds a lot. What I hate is its excessive use. Same for butter – a famous dish of mashed potatoes served in a top notch restaurant is in fact a suspension of potatoes in butter. I have no interest in this type of recipe, to me it covers up the flavor of the real, main ingredient.


  2. I usually don’t get too excited about fennel, but this soup has me on the edge of my seat! Love that it’s super creamy without the cream. (And I feel that way about all of pioneer woman’s recipes. they are basically all cream and butter!)


    • Let’s be fair, she uses bacon too 😉

      I happen to love fennel, but I think even if it’s not your favorite veggie, you will enjoy this soup – btw, I tried a veggie burger recipe last night that was amazing.. Will send you an email about it, as it will probably take me over a month to blog on it


  3. I’d be very lucky if I can post twice a week, but yes I can relate to your story. I too, sometimes feel can not wait to post dishes that so delicious, and feel like I have to share it as soon as I finished eating it. But, of course in most cases, that rarely happen to me. Well, I should not complain too much about it, since I always manage to take photo her and there, then share it with my FB friends.

    This soup is of course sounds delightful.


    • Yes, I always see your stuff on FB and wonder when it is going to show up on your blog… but life is busy for everyone, and I am sure your gardening takes a huge amount of effort and commitment…


  4. Love your post in more than one way!! Use fennel often and it seems to be in season here now – such a good time to try the exciting recipe! But also appreciate your links – interesting to notice Michelle Bridges’ name used as a reference as she is well known in Australian weight loss circles . . . .we may be far away but seem to cross the ponds OK😉 !


      • Not to worry, Sally – it came up on the ‘Cooking Light’ link – a publication I do not know . . . . Michelle Bridges is hugely popular on TV here on weight loss programmes and also has a healthy eating/exercise programme going a la Jane Fonda . . . . has made millions . . .


  5. The flavor and texture combo in this recipe intrigued me. I can’t eat fennel, so I swapped it out for celery. It worked a charm! ….and variations on celery soup are rare. Celery being a ” use it up” item in my household, I’ll certainly make it again. I also visited Steve’s site and made his caramel pudding for afters, as I had “use it up” half and half (he used heavy cream). It was very good….maybe too good….I’ve been valiantly fighting the nudge for seconds.


    • I so agree with you on the celery business, it is a seriously under-appreciated veggie, but so tasty, I am not surprised it worked well on this soup, and now I’m left craving a bowl 😉


  6. Sally – Thank you for the lovely shout out, and I’m sure Tony H. thanks you too. So glad you tried this soup right away, it is SO GOOD and should go along way to help turning our readers onto fennel! Have a great holiday weekend. Cheers – S


    • Great to see you here! A real winner in soup form, thanks for trying it first and writing such an enticing post about it – I will be following your footsteps…😉


  7. This would work with a stick blender rather than a regular one, right? I hate dirtying up my blender if the stick one will do.


    • I think it would work fine – especially if you don’t mind a little extra texture, as the blender will liquefy it a little more efficiently. I actually like soups pureed with a stick blender too


  8. Sally, this sounds really lovely! Thank you for sharing… pinning for our warmer months.


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