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Braised Fennel and Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

Braised Fennel and Zucchini in Tomato Sauce Recipe

When we make the decision to eat a Paleo diet, there’s usually a lot of questions about typical “grain replacements,” especially for certain cuisines. This comes up a lot when talking about Italian food. One of the things that we’ve learned over the years is that it is possible to enjoy almost any kind of food genre by working with the ingredients you have, being creative, and opening yourself up to new ways to serve your favorite meals. We think this recipe serves as a great example of this in action. This Italian-esque side dish, drawing on the subtle flavors of zucchini and fennel, works beautifully as a main course accompaniment when you’re doing an Italian night.

This recipe uses few ingredients, so focus on buying high-quality, fresh produce when you shop for this dish. Fennel bulbs aren’t the most common produce item, so you may need to search specialty food markets or a local farmer’s market for them. Look for bulbs that are white (without bruising or browning), firm, and crunchy. These tasty stalks pack a ton of Vitamin C and phytonutrients; it’ll be worth the search!

This dish pairs well as a side or base to an Italian-themed main course. Some ideas for what to serve alongside this include the spicy shrimp and sun-dried tomatoes (for a seafood meal), porchetta (this is a great, more formal pork dish), or a more traditional meatball recipe. This side is so versatile – try something new when you serve it!

Braised Fennel and Zucchini in Tomato Sauce Recipe

Serves: 4Prep: 20 minCook:20 min

Protein: 3g / %

Carbs: 17g / %

Fat: 7g / %

Values are per portion. These are for information only & are not meant to be exact calculations.

Add to Meal Plan  


  • 2 fennel bulbs, wedged
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into wedges
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Fresh dill (to garnish)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Zucchini Preparation


  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion, fennel seed, and garlic; cook 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini and fennel bulbs; cook another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring once in a while.
  4. Pour in the tomato sauce, dried thyme, and dried oregano; stir everything together.
  5. Cook 10 to 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  6. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; serve topped with fresh dill.