Italian Tomato Stew with Fennel, Mushrooms and Spinach


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Italian Tomato Stew with Fennel, Mushrooms and Spinach recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

When I discovered how frequently fennel is used in Italian cooking, that was all the reason I needed to put together another variety of Italian soup. Did you know that the entire fennel plant can be eaten?

I wanted to use the rest of the fennel from my CSA Box, so I saved the stalks and leaves from the fennel bulb I used earlier this week and put them in this soup. I used some of it to make Fennel with Mushrooms.

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This is closer to chowder or stew than a soup. If you prefer more broth in your soup, simply add a few cups of broth and adjust the seasonings as needed.

The flavors in this soup worked really great together. I absolutely loved what the fennel provided in combination with the other vegetables.

Normally, sausage is a pretty strong flavor in a soup (and I really like that!) however, the vegetables were dominant this time. We all liked this soup and I will definitely be using fennel this way again.

Italian Tomato Stew with Fennel, Mushrooms and Spinach recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

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Italian Tomato Stew with Fennel, Mushrooms and Spinach


  • 1 lb hot sausage
  • 1/2 red onion chopped small
  • 1 scallion chopped finely
  • stalks and leaves from 1 fennel bulb stalks sliced thinly and leaves roughly chopped
  • 6 large mushrooms roughly chopped, about 1 cup pieces
  • 1 large tomato chopped small or 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can Italian stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves add a bit more if not using kale with the spinach
  • Optional: 1-2 cups chopped kale I used the last of my peacock kale
  • generous amount of finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmesan cheese


  • In the bottom of a large pot or Dutch oven, cook and crumble the sausage. Add the onions and fennel and cook a few more minutes, just until the onions start to soften. Add all remaining ingredients, EXCEPT for the kale and spinach. Simmer for half an hour. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  • Add the greens and stir to combine. Simmer for just a few minutes, until they are slightly softened and wilted. Top individual servings with plenty of shredded cheese. Enjoy!
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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Joanne says

    I had NO idea that you could use the leaves of the fennel also! This choweder/stew sounds amazing. I love all of these fresh flavors and it's totally something I'd crave!

  2. sportsglutton says

    With my wife Liz being half Italian/serious foodie I have learned to enjoy fennel in my daily life and in a few Italian dishes. I'll be sure to share this recipe with her, as it sounds fantastic. 🙂

  3. Becki's Whole Life says

    I hate to say that I have never cooked with fresh fennel – sad:-(. Love the taste of it though in sausage and I very often the seeds to my lasagna. Beautiful picks and again – love all the veggies you packed in here, Mary.