Legacy of Passion

Easy Sautéed Fennel with a Citrus Thyme Pesto Sauce

Take a moment to pause and mull over those last four words above – Citrus Thyme Pesto Sauce. Does anything sound more wonderful than the marriage of citrus and thyme? To top it off, we’re drizzling the heavenly sauce over a bed of perfectly sautéed and silky fennel. Oh right, the best part – the recipe is actually easy. Here’s how to make it.

Recipe by Allie McDonald

Allie is the blogger behind Miss Allie’s Kitchen. Miss Allie’s Kitchen was created to provide home cooks with recipe inspiration and guide them to living healthier and happier lives. Her recipes focus on minimal ingredients with short prep time.

Serves: 6
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 min



  • 2 large fennel bulbs, with the leaves or fronds
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped cashews
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • ½ tsp salt, divided
  • ¼ tsp pepper


1. Begin by chopping the fennel. Trim the stalks from the bulb and cut the bulb into quarters. Slice each of the quarters and set aside. Remove the fronds or leaves from the stalks and chop. Set aside ¼ cup of the fronds for the pesto.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Once hot, add the fennel and sauté for 8-10 minutes or until the fennel has softened and browned at the edges. Toss the fennel with ¼ teaspoon of salt and the pepper while cooking.

3. Add the basil, the reserved fennel fronds, cashews, parmesan cheese, thyme, garlic, lemon juice and zest, orange juice, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt to a food processor or blender. Begin to process the mixture and gradually stream the remaining ½ cup of olive oil into the pesto sauce.

4. Once the fennel has cooked and the pesto is smooth, drizzle the pesto sauce over the fennel and serve. Enjoy!