Farro Pilaf with Fennel

Farro Pilaf with Fennel is deliciously unique take on a pilaf.  We use farro, which is an ancient form of wheat ( sometimes also called emmer wheat), instead of the more traditional rice.  This pilaf is slightly sweet and licoricey because of the apple cider and fennel.  The fresh mint finishes the dish perfectly, and pairs well with fish, chicken, and veggie dishes.

Apple cider out of season? Try using either apple juice, or vegetable broth.

A plate with farro pilaf on it, ready for serving, garnished with fresh mint and a fennel frond.

What does fennel taste like?

If you’ve never had it before, then you might be wondering what fennel tastes like. To put it simply, fennel tastes a lot like muted black licorice. It’s not as strong, or as sweet, but it’s distinct and noticable.

I LOVE black licorice. If you don’t – let’s be honest, it’s a really divisive flavor! – then this farro pilaf recipe maybe isn’t for you. For real. You might want to try the Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf in this recipe instead. You could also try substituting a total of 1 1/2 – 2 cups of other vegetables you do like – celery, carrots, and bell peppers come to mind as good substitutes.

Or, if you love fennel, try Broiled Grapefruit and Fennel Salad!

What does a fennel bulb look like?

A fennel bulb standing upright.
A fennel bulb

Sometimes grocery store produce isn’t overly photogenic, but now you know what you’re looking for. In the United States, some grocers will label it as anise instead of fennel.

How to cut a fennel bulb

How do we even start to cut this alien-looking veggie? It’s easier than you might think! Just follow these four simple steps:

Infographic on how to cut a fennel bulb. Step 1: wash the bulb and cut off the tops to reserve for garnish. Step 2: slice the bulb in half, top to bottom, cutting through the core. Step 3: cut out the core from each half, using a triangular cut. Step 4: slice or chop the fennel as needed.

This recipe goes great alongside fish, chicken, and vegetable dishes. Salmon with dill in particular would be a great complement! If you lean more toward vegetarian cuisine, you might want to pair it with my Lemon Pepper Tofu, which mimics the flavor and texture of fish a bit.

You also might like these other whole grain recipes:

If you try Farro Pilaf with Fennel, let me know in the comments! I also appreciate your ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating!

A plate with farro pilaf on it, ready for serving, garnished with fresh mint and a fennel frond.
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Farro Pilaf with Fennel

Farro pilaf with fennel is a unique take on the more traditional rice pilaf. the farro is cooked gently in apple cider, and then tossed with sauteed fennel and onion, so it goes perfectly with poached fish or grilled chicken!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 297 kcal
Author Laura Yautz


  • 2 Cups Apple Cider
  • 1 ½ Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Farro, uncooked
  • 2 Tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, diced
  • 1 Medium Fennel Bulb, diced
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped, fresh Mint
  • Fresh Fennel fronds for garnish, optional


  1. Bring apple cider and water to a boil on high heat and add Farro. Reduce heat to medium and boil until grain is tender; about 30 minutes. (read the instructions on your farro package, as cooking times can vary!)

  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium pan and sauté onions and fennel until onions are translucent and fennel is soft.

  3. Add farro to fennel mixture and combine.

  4. Turn off burner, and stir in mint.

  5. Serve hot, garnished with fennel fronds, if desired.

Nutrition Facts
Farro Pilaf with Fennel
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
Calories 297 Calories from Fat 32
% Daily Value*
Fat 3.5g5%
Saturated Fat 0.6g4%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.8g
Sodium 73mg3%
Potassium 882mg25%
Carbohydrates 63g21%
Fiber 11g46%
Sugar 18g20%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 20IU0%
Vitamin C 18mg22%
Calcium 94mg9%
Iron 2.8mg16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
A plate with farro pilaf on it, ready for serving, garnished with fresh mint and a fennel frond. Text overlay: Farro Pilaf with Fennel.

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