Substitute for fennel

Substitute for fennel
Substitute for fennel

Fennel is a flowering species of plants belonging to the carrot family. This perennial, hardy herb has feathery leaves and yellow flowers. Fennel originated from Mediterranean shores nut is widely naturalized in several parts of the globe. This includes near riverbanks, dry soils, and sea coasts. The herb is highly flavored and aromatic that is used in cooking. It is used along with anise as ingredients of absinthe. Also, the herb acts as a food plant for larvae belonging in Lepidoptera species like mouse moth and swallowtail. It is rich in proteins, calcium, carbohydrates, magnesium, iron, fat, manganese, vitamins B, and dietary fiber. Here are the substitutes of fennel.

1. Celery

Celery is a type of marshland cultivated as a vegetable. Its stalks and leaves are used in cooking as well as eating. Seeds also serve as a spice and the extracts are significant in herbal medicine. Moreover, the seeds can be grounded then mixed with salt to give celery salt that serves as a seasoning in cocktails. Celery leaves are highly flavored and often used in meats, fried, baked fish, stews, or soups like chicken noodle soup. They can be mixed in salads, garnish, or eaten raw. Nutritional value in 100g include 67kj energy, 2.97g carbohydrates, 0.17g fat, 0.69g protein,40mg calcium, 0.035mg copper, 0.20mg iron, and 11mg magnesium. Also, 0.13mg zinc, 80mg sodium, 260mg potassium, 95.43g water, and vitamins like C, D, E, and K. health benefits of celery are reducing blood pressure, prevent cancer, inflammation, asthma, fever, gout, rheumatic disorders, and vomiting. It also helps in preventing bronchitis, jaundice, liver diseases, skin disorders, and urinary tract obstruction.


Celery looks like fennel and both have similar structure and texture. Try celery if you are not a great fun of other substitutes. It gives amazing results when stirring fried vegetables, vegetable soups and making salads. You can Steam celery in order to retain a lot of nutrients.

2. Onion

Onion is a vegetable that is widely cultivated. It is closely related to garlic, leek, shallot, chive, and can replace fennel. Its bulbs consist of compressed, shortened, and underground stems that have fleshy leaves. They are available in fresh, pickled, canned, frozen, caramelized, and chopped forms. Most onions are chopped and used in warm dishes and the main ingredient like creamed onions and French onion soup. Some are versatile and are baked, braised, fried, grilled, sautéed, roasted, and eaten raw. Nutritional values in 100g are 9.34g carbohydrates, 166kj energy, 0.1g fat, 1.1g protein, 89.11g water, and vitamins. Minerals values are 23mg calcium, 0.21mg iron, 10mg magnesium, 0.129mg manganese, 29mg phosphorus, and 146mg potassium. Health benefits are reducing the risk of gastric cancer, heart health, promote digestion, and regulate blood sugar. Also, it increases bone density in the elderly, and acts as an inflammatory agent.


Onion almost resembles fennel bulb hence it is a perfect substitute. It offers an aromatic and sweet flavor when sautéed or grilled. You can get red onions because it has mild taste. They are best in sandwiches and salads. However, they can lose flavor when used in cooked meals. Most cooks prefer white onions because they bring sweet flavor to dishes. You can use them in sauces and salads.

3. Bok choy

Bok choy is a Chinese cabbage with green leaf blades and light bottoms. They belong to the family of Cruciferae or Brassicaceae. Nutritional value in 100g is 54kj energy, 2.2g carbohydrates, 0.2g fat, 1.5g protein, 95.3 g water, 45mg vitamin C, and 46mg vitamin K. minerals are 105mg calcium, 0.80mg iron, 19mg magnesium, 65mg sodium, 252mg potassium, and 0.16mg manganese. Bok choy is packed with health properties like fights oxidative stress and inflammation. It reduces the risk of getting heart diseases, anti-cancer compounds, and builds strong teeth and bones. Besides, it releases symptoms of pain, constipation, and diarrhea.


This special white cabbage looks like celery. Bok choy is Perfect substitute for fennel bulb especially when preparing savory recipes. Even though it is slightly stronger, it has similar texture like fennel. Get amazing results in dishes such as stir fried vegetables and vegan soups.

4. Parsley

Parsley is a flowering plant species found in the Apiaceae family. It originated from the Mediterranean region of Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy and Lebanon. African countries include Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. It is cultivated as a vegetable and herb. Parsley is used widely in Middle Eastern, European, and American cuisine. It is divided into three categories of curly leaf, flat-leaf, and root parsley. The curly leave act as garnishes many dishes. On the other hand, flat-leaf parsley is simple to cultivate and produce a strong flavor. Root parsley is popular in eastern, southern, and central European cuisines. Roots are widely used as a vegetable in stews, soups, and casseroles. Nutritional value in 100g are 151kj energy, 6.33g carbohydrates, 0.79g fat, 2.97g protein, 133mg vitamin c, 0.75mg vitamin E, and 1640mg vitamin K. Minerals available are 138mg calcium, 6.2mg iron, 50mg magnesium, 0.16mg manganese, 58mg phosphorus, 58mg sodium and 1.07mg zinc. Parsley is rich in antioxidants, improve heart health, anti-cancer substances, protect eyes, and support bones.


Parsley is most accessible replacement and has a nice flavor. Add it to cooked dishes and salads. Choose the ones with bright green leaves. Cut them into fine pieces to enhance taste. They can also be cut coarsely to add more flavors to salads.

5. Leeks

Leeks are vegetable eaten on the stalk or stem. They are versatile, sturdy, and flavorful with various uses. Real cooks use them in soups, omelet fillings, and stews. They are mild and taste like onion thus can replace fennel. Nutritional values in 100g are 255kj energy, 14.15g carbohydrates, 0.3g fat, 1.5g protein, 47mg vitamin K, 0.92mg vitamin E, and 12mg vitamin C. minerals are 59mg calcium, 2.1mg iron, 28mg magnesium, 0.481mg manganese, 35mg phosphorus and 180mg potassium. They are rich in vitamins that help in blood clots and minerals that help red blood cells. Furthermore, they also help to regulate nerve and brain function as well as a source of dietary fiber.


They give sweet flavor when cooked. Leeks are best in casseroles and soups. Choose the ones with unblemished lower parts, crunchy texture and bright green parts seeing that they are fresh. Wash them properly because they are dirty thus it can stuck in middle of the leaves.

Summary Table

Item Calories (per 100g) Total Fats (g) Carbohydrates (g) Proteins (g) Source Works Best In
Garbanzo Beans 164 2.6 27.4 8.9 Legume Hummus, salads, stews
Russet Potatoes 79 0.1 17.5 2 Root vegetable Mashed, fries, baked
Eggplant 25 0.2 5.7 1 Vegetable Grilled, roasted, dips
Sun-Dried Tomatoes 258 2.6 54.4 14.1 Fruit Pasta, salads, sauces
Zucchini 17 0.3 3.1 1.2 Vegetable Sauteed, grilled, breaded
Soy Sauce and Tofu Approx. 60 0.6 6.5 10 Soy Stir-fries, Asian dishes
Tofu Approx. 144 8.1 2.7 15.3 Soy Stir-fries, curries, scrambles
Tempeh 193 11 9.4 18.5 Soy Sandwiches, salads, stews


What can I use if I don’t have fennel?

If you don’t have fennel, you can use a combination of other ingredients to replicate its flavor. A mix of celery, anise seeds, and a touch of dill can provide a somewhat similar taste profile to dishes that call for fennel.

What is fennel the same as?

Fennel has a unique flavor profile, often described as having a mild licorice or anise-like taste. While there is no exact equivalent, anise seeds or star anise can provide similar aromatic and licorice notes.

Can I use coriander instead of fennel?

Coriander has a different flavor from fennel, as it has citrusy and slightly spicy undertones. While it won’t replicate the distinct flavor of fennel, it might still add an interesting element to your dish.

How do I substitute anise for fennel?

Anise and fennel have similar aromatic and licorice-like qualities. If you’re substituting anise for fennel, use smaller anise seeds, as they have a stronger flavor. Remember that anise can be more intense, so adjust the quantity to your taste preference.

Mei Lin Zhang

Written by Mei Lin Zhang

I love to writes about stories and cooking. I really enjoys creating new recipes and taking pictures of my food. When I am not writing, you can find me in the kitchen or snapping photos of my tasty creations.

Substitute for celery

Substitute for celery

Substitute for mushrooms

Substitute for mushrooms