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This fennel salad is like a dance party for your tastebuds. The addition of toasted nuts, dried fruit bits, and a lemon-mint dressing gives it full-on flavor and texture.
Fennel is kind of a hidden gem. Because its appearance looks somewhat intimidating, many people don’t know how great this vegetable really is.
It has a licorice flavor, the texture of celery, and can be eaten raw or cooked. When cooked or tossed with dressing, its licorice flavor becomes less pronounced.
Plus, the entire vegetable from bulb to leaf is edible (a great way to reduce food waste). Now that you’re in on the secret, let’s talk about ingredients!
- fennel bulbs – thinly shaved fennel bulb acts as the base of the salad and provides a crisp texture and freshness
- pistachios – dry toasting them adds a nice crunch
- dried apricots – these chewy bits add more texture and natural sweetness
- extra virgin olive oil – a flavorful base for any vinaigrette
- fresh lemon juice + zest – adds lots of brightness and tenderizes the fennel
- white wine vinegar – a splash of this helps to round out the dressing
- raw honey – helps balance out the tartness of the lemon juice
- fresh mint – complements the fennel and lemon really nicely and adds freshness
- salt & pepper – to taste
How to Make Fennel Salad
Clean up the fennel. With a sharp knife, slice off the tough bottoms of the bulbs. Set the stalks and dill-like leaves aside. (The stalks can be used in soups or homemade broth and the leaves can be added to salads or fish en papillote.)
Cut & core. Cut the bulbs in half and remove the triangular hard core (as shown below).
Thinly slice. Thinly slice the fennel bulbs until you’ve used them all up and add to a large bowl.
Prep the other ingredients. Chop your dried fruit into small pieces and toast the pistachios over medium heat in a dry pan until aromatic. Remove from heat, roughly chop and add both to the bowl of fennel.
Make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice & zest, white wine vinegar, honey, finely chopped mint, salt, and pepper. Drizzle over the fennel salad ingredients and toss to combine.
Make It Your Way: Ingredient Substitutions
Please remember that recipes are meant to be used as guides.
How can you make this fennel salad using what you already have? Here are some ideas…
- No pistachios? ➝ Almonds, pecans, or walnuts are all great options.
- No dried apricots? ➝ Dried apples, ginger, pears, or cherries would all work.
- No white wine vinegar? ➝ Champagne or apple cider vinegar will also work.
- No mint? ➝ Substitute another fresh herb like basil, (flat-leaf) parsley, rosemary, tarragon, or thyme.
Fennel salad couldn’t be easier to make. It comes together in about 15-20 minutes and is the perfect way to add more veggies to just about any meal.
What makes it even easier though is using a mandoline slicer.
This is my preferred tool to get those thinly sliced fennel shavings. A mandoline blade is razor-sharp and has an adjustable dial to control the thickness. This helps you achieve ridiculously thin, even slices every time.
You could also make it work using the slicer attachment on a food processor or a sharp knife.
What to Serve Fennel Salad With
Fennel Salad with Lemon-Mint Dressing
- 2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup pistachios, toasted
- ¼ cup dried apricots or fruit of choice
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice + zest of small lemon
- ½ tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 tbsp fresh mint, minced
To Make the Salad
- With a sharp knife, slice off the tough bottoms of the bulbs and the stalks and dill-like leaves. Cut the bulbs in half and remove the triangular shaped core. (see photos from above).
- Using a mandoline, thinly slice the fennel bulbs until you've used them all up. Add them to a large bowl.
- Chop your dried fruit into small pieces and toast the pistachios over medium heat in a dry pan until aromatic. Remove from heat, roughly chop and add both to the bowl of fennel.
To Make the Dressing
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice & zest, white wine vinegar, honey, mint, salt, and pepper. Drizzle over the fennel salad ingredients and toss to combine.
- Store in the fridge, covered, for at least 30 minutes (ideally an hour) before serving.
- Keep in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.