I was skeptical of the fennel bulb, having never cooked with it before and especially since it smelled like vile black licorice. But 99% of the smell and taste cooked off - zero licorice taste. It's a nice crunchy alternative to celery. The consistency came out similar to the onion.
I'm not one for a lot of prep, and this soup fit the bill. All there was to chop was onion and fennel bulb. Next time I will definitely chop up the baby spinach because it clumps a bit. Between the barley and the mashed beans, this was very filling as a main dish. Tasty!
I got 5.5 servings - filled up five 2.5oz square Ziploc lunch containers and had a smallish bowl left over.