lemon fennel soup

Spring has sprung! It’s been gloriously sunny and about 75 degrees here for the past few days, allowing us to celebrate the first day of spring by spending all our time outside! I was thinking about how we humans have our own circadian rhythms and noticing that the cozy down energy I feel during the post-holiday rush is now gone, replaced by an almost anxiety to get my hands in the dirt outside. The cathartic feeling I get wielding the rake gleefully on leaves and dead plant matter blanketing our garden beds is so fitting now when it would have felt incongruous just 2 months ago.

I also find that I’m looking for different food these days. And while I’m putting a serious dent in the box of dates I brought home from my food coop pickup (I can’t resist them dipped in almond butter!) most of the time I’m looking for something light  and fresh. So with that in mind:

One of my all-time favorite raw recipes is based on the lemon fennel soup in Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen: Easy, Delectable Living Foods Recipes. Simple ingredients, no fancy equipment required, and ingredients I adore in all one place. This is a cold or room temperature soup, so it’s great for the summer, and yet with my modifications (the addition of oodles of garlic and a pinch of cayenne) it’s incredibly warming. I could gobble this up every day, and often do when I’m feeling sickness lurking around the corner.

Lemon Fennel Soup

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 bulb fennel, sliced
  • scallions, chopped

Whisk together lemon juice, water, olive oil and salt. When ready to serve, pour into bowls and garnish with chopped fennel and scallions.

lemon fennel soupFor me, this is not lemony enough, and has waaaay too much olive oil. I put the water, more lemon juice (at least double — the 8 lemons pictured was what I started with for a class of 20 people — I usually use around 4-5 to make dinner for my family of 4), olive oil (2-3 Tbs or so), and salt into a blender with lots of garlic (4+ cloves) and a dollop of honey. I blend this to emulsify (any old blender will do for this, and I used to make it in my food processor too, tho the max liquid issue caused some trouble once I realized how yummy this was), and once it’s a lovely creamy opaque liquid, I pour into a bowl. I like to add chopped greens (usually kale, this time spinach) as well as sliced red onion and fennel before serving. I also add minced garlic to the bowl with the greens, onion and fennel — can you tell I loves me some garlic? If there are leftovers (infrequently) the greens wilt even more and the flavors meld nicely to make a subtler, less fiery soup. I also add cayenne if I”m feeling the need for some extra heat, but I often am adding enough raw garlic that sometimes that warms it up enough for me. Oh, and once we start having fresh herbs outside again, I must say that I love this soup with some basil chiffonade. Parsley, dill, cilantro, thyme, many herbs would work. In fact, I’m waiting for my mint to rear it’s head in the garden so I can try it with that.

Between the greens, garlic, onion and lemon, this soup packs a powerful immune-boosting punch loaded with vitamins and minerals. We like to eat it even when we’re not feeling wretched, and the kids cheer for this one. We like to bring this with the dolmas and a green salad for a cool summer picnic — easy to prepare ahead, and light for a hot day. Can’t wait for more hot days like the 75 degree March days we’ve been having this week! Happy Spring!

What’s your favorite light meal recipe or idea?

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1600940005?ie=UTF8&tag=crunchybits-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1600940005″>Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen: Easy, Delectable Living Foods Recipes</a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=crunchybits-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1600940005″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />


  1. Anne Marie says

    The soup itself is not blended up? Is this almost like a salad, where the veggies are chopped and in with an emulsified ‘dressing’? Sorry I missed the class, or perhaps this would be self explanatory.thanks, keep it all coming!!

  2. sioux says

    You blend or whisk the wet ingredients, and that becomes your soup base. I found that whisking let the ingredients separate before we were ready to sit down and eat it, while blending keeps them mixed longer. You could stop there, but I like to chew my soups, so I add the chopped greens, garlic, onion and fennel to the broth and voila! Soup!

  3. Sabrina says

    This is such a refreshing soup. The first time my husband tried it was when I served it at Christmas dinner this past year. He said, with eyes wide, “wow! It feels like there is a party in my mouth!” He loved it as did the majority of our dinner guests! I have also made and frozen this soup and it defrosts perfectly which is nice to just have on hand. Enjoy all!

  4. Theresa says

    This turned out great but I found I liked the crunchiness of the chopped fennel so put the entire bulb in it. I used some shredded spinach and no scallions. I used just over 1/2 cup lemon juice and 3 small cloves of garlic and I did put it in the blender. Also, I’ve never used fennel before can you do something else with the greens?

  5. crunchybits says

    I toss both the greens, sliced stalks and bulb into salads — green or otherwise. Fennel and carrot are a good combo. I would imagine they would be lovely in a green smoothie too — maybe with apple?