I've helped several people take on the Whole30 this past year, and with a relatively high success rate.  The Whole30 is what got me interested in nutrient-dense food and the way it impacts every other part of our lives, and I love when people ask me to help them complete their first round of such a positive program.

One of the pieces of advice that the authors, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, mention is to make sure you don't get into a "healthy food rut."  Specifically, they discuss how the two easiest ways to fall off track with any eating regimen are to fail to prepare and to become bored with what you do eat.  We start viewing certain foods or ingredients as "off-limits," but we forget to remember all of the amazing things we can include on our plate.  The number one point I remember from this part of their book, It Starts With Food, is their suggestion to try to buy a vegetable each week that you have rarely or never had before.  This seems so simple, but it brings back the fun of learning something new and gets your body a new nutrient complex  that breaks the norm.

That is one piece of advice that I make sure to pass on to those I've helped through a Whole30, and I've been terrible about following it myself lately.  I can blame it on a multitude of things, as anyone could, but instead I made sure that this week I would change.  So as I browsed the veggies at the grocery store, I finally settled on trying fennel.  I really had no idea how it tasted or what a "normal" use of it looked like, but I didn't let that stop me.  And dang, I'm so happy with that decision!  This recipe is the result of my fennel experiments through the past week, AND it just got my non-paleo family's approval.  I'd call that a weird-veggie success!

Roasted Carrots & Fennel

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: 20 minutes   Total time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings



1.  Preheat the oven to 400ºF and prepare ingredients as listed.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, toss together the carrots, melted coconut oil/clarified butter, 1 Tbsp of rosemary, 1 Tbsp of thyme, and fennel leaves.

3.  Spread the seasoned carrots along a greased baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes.

4.  After the 8 minutes, remove the carrots from the oven and mix the fennel, 1 tsp of rosemary, and 1 tsp of thyme in with them.  Crush garlic cloves evenly over the top, and bake for another 12 minutes.

5.  Remove from the oven once carrots have reached desired softness and serve.

4-6 large carrots (about 3 cups), sliced

1 fennel bulb, layers peeled apart and sliced

2 Tbsp coconut oil or clarified butter*

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tbsp + 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary, divided

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, divided

1 Tbsp fennel leaves, chopped

*If you want a slightly sweeter outcome, use coconut oil.  I personally preferred how it brought out the sweetness of the fennel and carrots.  However, I have also made this with clarified butter and the yield is just a bit more savory.  All up to personal preference!