Fennel Frond Pesto

dressings & sauces recipes snacks Feb 09, 2019

Over the Christmas holiday, my mom whipped up a fennel and grapefruit salad as a healthy option for an “eat it up” night of leftovers. The result was a delicious, fresh and tangy “detox” that we all needed after waaaaay too many cookies and cocktails that week.

Once I returned home to Austin, I was dying to recreate the salad myself (I’ll share the recipe soon). But I realized something while slicing up my fennel bulbs. There is a TON of waste from these veggies! The majority of the fennel gets discarded when using the bulb in recipes. And something I truly hate and avoid at all costs is food waste.

So I decided to keep the leftover fennel fronds and transform them into something new, useful and tasty. Pesto is one of my go-tos whenever I have any greens on hand that need to be used up, and fennel fronds are the perfect substitute for traditional basil. And as this was a spur of the moment creation, I used other ingredients I had on hand, such as walnuts for this pesto.

Enjoy this healthy “use it up” version on pasta, topped on salmon or chicken breasts before roasting or in any way you use traditional pesto!


 YIELDS10 Servings
 PREP TIME10 mins TOTAL TIME10 mins


  •  3 cups loosely packed fennel fronds
  •  1 cup walnuts, toasted
  •  1  lemon, juiced
  •  2  cloves of garlic
  •  3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  •  1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  •  ½ tsp black pepper (or more if you wish)


Toast walnuts in a sauté pan for 3-5 minutes or until lightly brown and fragrant.
Add fennel fronds, walnuts, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper into a food processor until it reaches your ideal consistency.
Taste and add more lemon juice, olive oil, salt or pepper if you choose.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge. This pesto also freezes well for later use.


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