Contrary to popular belief, there are actually some foods I dislike. But my philosophy is that with the right preparation, you can learn to love just about anything. And no recipe demonstrates it better than this fennel salad.Back in the spring, our team Wonder Valley (including our favorite olive oil) for dinner in the desert. As we were preparing dinner, we started talking about ingredients we didn’t like. Just as Alison was serving a beautiful olive salsa verde, I immediately said olive. Oops!
Luckily, I quickly recovered from my mouth-to-mouth failure and continued the conversation in the car on the way home. Will there be another ingredient on my hit list? Fennel. Something about that licorice bite has never caught on for me. However, the declaration was received with many surprises. No one seemed to understand why I wasn’t a fan.
The Fennel Salad That Changed Everything
A few weeks later I found myself in London. Kuro Eatery made me want to have a salad with the honey and cheese flatbread I ordered. Alas, the only option was the fennel salad. Call it fate, you might call it, but it was as if the universe was telling me I needed to uproot my underground bet on fennel.
So I ordered it, devoured it, and asked the waiter for all the deets so I could recreate it at home. That’s how we got here. Former fennel haters changed with this easy, fresh, and delicious fennel salad.
Ingredients for fennel salad
This fennel salad is light on the ingredient list, so be sure to choose fresh herbs and top quality ingredients to make everything even tastier.
- fennel. Sliced very thin with a mandolin. This is a delicious base for this recipe. Don’t knock until you try it.
- herbs. That is, it contains a lot of herbs. Combine dill, coriander and mint for a trio of flavors.
- lime. Both the peel and the juice add acidity and soften the fennel’s licorice flavor.
- Olive oil.use good stuff.
- Honey. A squeeze of honey completes the punchy, bright flavor.
how to make fennel salad
It’s a simple recipe, but there are some tips and tricks to make it even easier and tastier.
- Use a mandolin for fennel. Leave the tops of the fennel bulbs attached. This way, you can safely grip the fennel as you move it over the mandolin blade. (Always remember to be very careful when using a mandolin!) If you don’t have a mandolin, I recommend using a vegetable peeler instead of a knife and slicing it as thin as possible.
- With the exception of herbs, less is more. I am famously not a fan of vegetable based salads. I almost always use a bed of herbs as a veg rather than a bowl of spinach. Fennel is primarily meant to create heaviness and texture, but herbs add a little more roughness and flavor. The umami of coriander, the freshness of dill, and the slightly sweet scent of mint are harmoniously balanced. We highly recommend using all three.
- freshly ground pepper. I always preach that freshly ground spices make a big difference in flavor.
- wait for the last salt. Just like adding salt to any vegetable, adding salt to fennel will cause it to lose a lot of water. The limes already add enough moisture to this salad, so it’s a good idea to wait until you’re ready to eat before adding the salt.
How to Customize This Fennel Salad
I think the simplicity of this coleslaw is what makes it perfect, but there are so many ways to customize and add to it to make it your own.
- Adding crunchy vegetables such as celery and cucumber will make it even more refreshing. You can also add some thinly sliced green apples for added sweetness.
- For extra volume, add a slice of avocado or crunchy pistachios.
- It can also be added to sandwiches with a touch of mayonnaise in salads for a fresh, crunchy side dish or to be eaten with. Summer salmon or your favorite burger.