Vegan in Three: Lemon, Fennel and Potato Stew with Rita Serano

Be it for love of nature, animals, environment or body, there’s no denying that Veganism is having a moment.

There’s no denying the nutritional benefits of eating a more plant-rich diet, but many have the wrong impression about the practice of veganism—it’s too difficult, too expensive, too time-consuming, lacking in taste… all misconceptions that vegan chef Rita Serano aims to tackle with her book Vegan for Good.

Cleverly divided into four chapters: Weekday, Weekend, No Time at All and Sweet Celebrations, this wonderful vegan recipe book is anything but limiting. Filled with all things saucy, spicy, crispy, and of course, healthy, Rita’s inspired dishes are fresh, colourful and crave-worthy. To prove it, we’ve whipped up a three-part series of her recipes for you to try—a healthy, lemon, fennel and potato stew, a filling polenta porridge and a vibrant spring salad.

First up, the stew! A recipe from Vegan for Good’s ‘Weekday’ chapter, this recipe serves two as a main and takes no longer than 30 minutes to prepare.

“Not only does this stew taste super-fresh, it also comes with great health benefits. Lemon is a fruit with high vitamin C content, which helps to improve skin quality and boost your immune system. Fennel has healing properties that have been used by natural healers and practitioners for hundreds of years.

“Wild fennel grows abundantly in my garden in France. The moment the fennel flowers or seedheads form, I pick some and start making a recipe with them. It has a distinctive sweet smell and fresh flavour, reminiscent of aniseed and liquorice, which I just adore, and it pairs fantastically with lemon. These flavours will make you dream of hot and sunny days even when it’s cold outside!”

What you’ll need

  • 500g fennel bulbs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5 lemon slices
  • 450ml vegetable stock or water
  • 400g of potatoes (you want a variety that keeps its shape, such as Charlotte), sliced
  • ½ teaspoon chilli flakes, plus extra to serve
  • 240g (drained weight) cooked butter beans
  • 70g pitted black olives
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

How it’s done

  1. Wash the fennel and cut off the stalks and green tops (keep the feathery tops as garnish). Slice the fennel bulbs from top to bottom into thin wedges.
  2. Put the slices in a pan with the bay leaves, garlic, lemon, stock potatoes and chilli. Bring to the boil, then turn down and let summer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the butter beans and olives and continue to simmer for a further 5-7 minutes until the fennel is soft and the potatoes are cooked.
  4. Serve with fennel tops, parsley and a few extra chilli flakes.

Got a taste for the good, green stuff? Pick up your copy of Vegan for Good here.