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Fennel Pasta with Orange and Pecan Nuts

This vegetarian fennel pasta recipe combines sweet aniseed flavours with its classic companion, orange, it is bright, light, and delicious!

Portrait image of fennel pasta made with pappardelle served with pecan nuts and red onion served in a white pasta bowl

A Quick Fennel Recipe.

Regular readers will know that I am no stranger to playing around with fennel here on my site.

I adore the sweet aniseed flavour and think it is a woefully underused vegetable.

It appears in recipes as diverse as my squid ink pasta with prawns, fennel & chilli to being a key flavour driver in my shepherdess pie.

Here it sits in a simple pasta dish. A dish that is heavily inspired by the classic flavours of a fennel and orange salad.

It is a light but filling and nutritious meal that is a perfect shift away from tomato or creamy pasta sauces.

Portrait overhead image of fennel pasta made with pappardelle served with pecan nuts and red onion served in a white pasta bowl

Using Other Pasta Types.

This fennel pasta recipe does not really have a sauce, it is much more similar to a vinaigrette.

As a result this dish works best with thick and wide types of pasta.

I use pappardelle but tagliatelle and fettuccine work just as well.

The mafaldine pasta that I use in my fresh salmon pasta with tomatoes would also be perfect.

If you wanted to think really out of the box, cook up some lasagne noodles and layer them up like an open lasagna!

Portrait close up image of fennel pasta made with pappardelle served with pecan nuts and red onion served in a white pasta bowl

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to use pecan nuts?

Not at all, other nuts that work equally well in this recipe include walnuts, pine nuts and lightly crushed hazelnuts.
All bring something slightly different to the dish.

Can I use prepared mustard instead of wholegrain mustard in the dressing?

I would advise against doing this, often prepared yellow mustard is very “pokey” and will overwhelm the flavours in this recipe.

How much salt should I use in pasta water?

The secret to most pasta dishes lies very much in the seasoning of all of the elements. The area where it goes wrong most often is the seasoning of the pasta water.

It is often said that your pasta water should be as “salty as seawater”, which is let’s face it, not particularly helpful!

I work on a tablespoon of salt for every 4 litres of water then add a good pinch more for “luck”. For the remaining elements, add a little salt and taste as you go.

Square image of fennel pasta made with pappardelle served with pecan nuts and red onion served in a white pasta bowl
Yield: 2 Servings

Fennel Pasta Recipe with Orange

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This simple and quick vegetarian fennel pasta recipe combines the classic flavours of a fennel and orange salad with the versatility of noodles, you'll love it!


  • 1 Small (175-200g) Fennel Bulb
  • 1 Orange
  • 50g (1/2 Cup) Pecan Nuts
  • 50g (1/3 Cup) Red Onion
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Whole Grain Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 175g (6oz) Pappardelle Pasta
  • Salt to Taste
  • Pepper to Taste


  1. Bring a pan of well-salted water to the boil
  2. Remove any fennel fronds from the bulb and set them aside for garnish later then cut the root off the bulb and slice as finely as you can, a mandolin really helps here.
  3. Peel the red onion and cut it into rings using the same setting on the mandolin.
  4. Zest the orange.
  5. Place the shaved fennel in a large flat bowl and add the olive oil and season with salt.
  6. Drop the pappardelle into the boiling water and cook as per instructions (approx 7-8 minutes).
  7. Heat a frying pan over a high heat and when hot add the oil-coated fennel keeping as much oil in the bowl as possible.
  8. Cook for 4-5 minutes trying to get a nice sear.
  9. Add the mustard, orange zest, and vinegar to the bowl we had the fennel in and stir in the sliced red onion.
  10. Throw in the pecan nuts for the final minute of cooking.
  11. When cooked drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the vegetables and stir to coat.
  12. Pour in the red onion and mustard mix combine and serve with the reserved fennel fronds.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 534Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 405mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 6gSugar: 10gProtein: 9g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

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