'Fennel' is the bulb of the 'saunf' plant and if you can find them, I'd heartily suggest making this yummy, delicately flavoured veg stew.
The flavor was delicate, and I loved this soup. When I made it, I doubled the amount of garlic. I am a huge fan of fresh fennel, fresh basil, and garbonzo beans. However, if someone did not enjoy even one of these ingredients, they would not like this soup. I found that 1 cup chopped fresh basil is equal to about four ounces. Be sure to chop the fennel and the onion; being lazy here makes the soup look rather sloppy (this happened to me). Also, this soup makes 17 cups, so the 6 servings is a generous estimate. (Per 1 cup, there are 125 calories, 2 g fat, 21 g carb, 6 g fiber and 6 g protien). - 25 Apr 2005 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
This soup is wonderful! I halved it and still had way plenty for 2 of us for 3 meals. I couldn't get dried garbanzos, so I used canned (1 large or 2 regular size). To accommodate this change, I sautéed the onions, red pepper and fennel for a few minutes in a little olive oil, then added 4 cups of veg broth and simmered for 15. I added the canned beans (juice and all) and the tomato/garlic/basil mixture and finished for 5 minutes. Not only does this work well, it takes far less time and planning! I'll make this again for my vegetarian friends. - 15 Nov 2007 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
Oh my goodness! This was so delicious, I'm almost at a loss for words. My boyfriend the soup junkie is my litmus test for soup recipes, and he loved this. I'm not sure I'd agree with other reviewers that you wouldn't like this if you didn't like fennel--I thought the flavors blended seamlessly, with no one taste standing out. However, if you don't have fresh basil and/or fennel, don't even think about substituting dried; it wouldn't even be close to the same stew. - 03 Dec 2006 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)