Bright and Zingy Sorrel and Fennel Soup

The sweet anise flavour of fennel is joined by the tartness of sorrel in this zingy soup that is perfect all year round!

Portrait image of a sorrel and fennel soup served in a white bowl with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkling of paprika

A Soup For All Seasons.

Fennel is an ingredient that is often available for much of the year, maybe with the exception of the height of summer.

The bright and zingy flavours in this recipe make it great for brightening up a winters day. But it is also light enough to be a perfect summer soup.

I love fennel, that sweet anise flavour features here in recipes as diverse as my fruity fennel chicken thighs to being used raw in this orange and fennel salad.

The sweetness of fennel often needs something a little sharp to counteract it.

I often pickle fennel as in the lentil side dish for this pan-fried salmon recipe.

Here I use sorrel, a delicious leaf that looks similar to spinach but one with a wonderful tart flavour.

Portrait close up image of sorrel and fennel soup served in a white bowl with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkling of paprika

Ingredient Guide.

When buying fennel you want bulbs that feel tight to the feel. They should also be free of blemishes and bruises.

The root end of the fennel should cover most of the base of the bulb and it should be white.

If it is starting to brown it will not be fresh, whilst it will be safe to eat it will have lost much of its flavour.

Getting fennel with some of the fronds on offers a fab garnish opportunity.

The potatoes should be a floury variety because they exist to add body to the soup.

As a result, look for a variety like King Edwards or Russet, although an all-rounder like Desiree would also work.

Finally, the Sorrel should look green and vibrant ad the stalks should snap when you bend them. If they are soggy your sorrel is well beyond its best.

Portrait angled image of sorrel and fennel soup served in a white bowl with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkling of paprika

Recipe Hints and Variations.

The first thing to mention about this recipe is to warn you against throwing in sorrel too early.

Sorrel browns as it cooks and it looks really quite unsightly. It still tastes great, but if you want a verdant green make sure you add it right at the end.

Also if you are struggling to get sorrel you can add spinach and replace the tartness with lemon juice.

Just squeeze it in at the end to taste.

Finally, if you want to avoid some washing up this soup is also great served as a chunky soup.

I find finely shredded sorrel offers the best experience if you want to serve it like this.

Sorrel & Fennel Soup Recipe

Sorrel & Fennel Soup Recipe

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This fennel soup recipe is bright, vibrant and packed full of summer flavour. The aniseed flavour of the fennel is perfectly complimented by almost citrus like sorrel making it the perfect summer soup!


  • 50 g Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds
  • 200 g Fennel
  • 75 g Onion
  • 75 g Floury Potato
  • 75 g Sorrel Leaves
  • 500 ml Vegetable Stock
  • Salt to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Sour Cream
  • Pinch of Paprika
  • 2 Tsbp Olive Oil


  1. Dice your onion, fennel and potato into a rough 1cm dice.
  2. Heat the butter over a medium heat in a large heavy based pan.
  3. When the butter begins to foam add the cumin seeds and, stir for a minute or two until fragrant.
  4. Throw in the diced fennel and onion and saute for 5 minutes until the onion turns translucent.
  5. Then add the diced potato and the stock and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat and simmer with a lid on until the fennel is thoroughly cooked, this will take about half an hour.
  7. Remove from the heat and add the sorrel and then blitz in a blender or with a stick blender until smooth.
  8. I like to serve this with a dollop of sour cream, some fennel fronds and a pinch of sweet paprika.


This serves two comfortably with a wee bit left over for the obligatory seconds.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 433Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 1222mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 4g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

26 thoughts on this Recipe:

  1. Wow, Brian! Not only is this soup gorgeous, it sounds amazingly delicious and is so healthy! Can’t wait to give it a try! I have yet to try growing fennel, our season isn’t very long and we have heavy clay soil, so I’m not sure I could pull it off! Thanks for the shoutout!

  2. Mmmm I’m very difficult with soup but yours looks delicious Brian. I love the aniseed flavor of fennel whether raw or cooked and always keep 1 or 2 in my fridge! I’ll try to make it tonight!

  3. I’m not quite sure I have tried fennel like this but I like fennel roasted and raw. I’m sure I would love this soup. What a great looking dish and that colour!…absolutely superb ?? I will definitely give this a try. Thanks for the inspiration Brian.

  4. Just as I take hot showers in the middle of summer, I eat soup at all times of year. Not doing so would be madness. My proof is my instagram feed, which is peppered with ramen and pho noodle soupsβ€”even in the dead of summer. I love that the veggies for this soup were living in your garden just before making the tasty transformation. I’ve never tried sorrel before, but you’ve definitely intrigued me, as I find spinach a bit boring as well. I just bet that the sour cream garnish takes the already glorious flavors over the top! You’ve made my computer screen look delicious…

    • I know right? I’ve just cooked a hot and sour soup coming up in a couple of weeks πŸ˜€ You really must try sorrel, unlike spinach it has a very strong flavour and is almost citrus like in flavour which makes it a great summer recipe ingredient!

  5. It may be a British thing Maggie, summer soups are almost un-heard of, glad you like the recipe… Let me know how you get on making it, I love it, vibrant and zingy everything summer should be πŸ™‚

  6. Refreshing and delicious! Beautiful flavors for a soup and love that pretty color green. I just made a light and delicious Chinese soup with loads of veggies today and it was perfect. I agree that soups are not just for winter. Just pinned!

    • Thank you very much… I love this type of cooking, head into the garden find what is good put it together and job done, especially when it turns out like this πŸ™‚

  7. This is a beautiful bowl of soup! I love fennel but have never tried it in this form. Lovely blog – what a wonderful adventure you and your wife are enjoying!

    • Thanks Tricia, the soup is wonderfully fresh and light and as for the adventure… Life you be pretty dull without them πŸ˜‰

  8. I’ve always been afraid to cook with fennel. I am not sure I like the flavor. But people tell me I should like it!

    • Fennel is a big flavour and I know lots of people are not so keen on aniseed as a flavour profile, I love it, I could eat them like an apple… But I have kept the fennel flavour as a back note in this soup and lightened it with loads of sorrel which gives a lovely vibrant lemony freshness with just a hint of aniseed and cumin… A perfect place to start for someone who is not sure if they like fennel if you ask me πŸ˜‰

  9. We began to earnestly cook with fennel last year and yes, it’s typically associated with hardy and savory cool-weather dishes – something that has always seems a paradox to me as it is readily available as freshly harvested produce at our summer farmer’s markets. Thanks for this great summer soup idea; it looks and sounds wonderfully summer.

    • It does seem something of an odd one, the fennel season definitely runs right through summer into early autumn but it does get associated with more robust dishes although it is certainly becoming more popular in salads in the UK which is a good thing as far as I am concerned.

  10. Thanks Paige, yes the potato just adds that little bit of body that holds the whole thing together, let me know what you think… I loved it πŸ˜‰

  11. Mmm, I don’t think I’ve ever tried fennel in a soup before, but the flavours in this sound wonderful! I love the addition of cumin and paprika. They always work so well together. I will definitely have to make this!

    • Excellent, thanks Harriet… I live in Hungary so am duty bound to say that Paprika makes everything taste better ha ha πŸ™‚

  12. Now that is a summary soup!!! As a child I never liked fennel… It’s amazing how taste buds change.. I will try this soup soon πŸ˜‰

    • I don’t think I ate fennel until long after I left home but I love it now, the fennel flavour is quite subtle in this with the cumin and fennel giving the back flavours and the zing and lightness all coming from the sorrel, but you could flip that around by playing with the balance really easily.

    • Fennel salad really is a thing of great beauty, I love it finely shaved and then served with peaches and mozerella cheese and a bit of orange juice based dressing simple and wonderful!


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