Fennel isn’t exactly an ingredient you run to the grocery to hunt down. It’s having its moment, though, and I see it more and more on menus at restaurants and to flavor drinks and teas. I’m Italian and fennel was part of my childhood although it took many years of eating it and into adulthood before I actually began to like the taste. So fear not, if fennel doesn’t sit well with you right away, it’s okay! When eaten raw, it tastes like mild black licorice. When cooked, it gets even milder.
This salad calls for just a few shaved pieces of fennel, making it a good introduction to this unusual bulbous vegetable. I love the sweetness and crunch it adds to the many other ingredients of this salad. And I kid you not, you will feel like your skin is glowing and your teeth are whiter after eating it. It’s that healthy, which is why I also add shaved parmesan cheese and a creamy dressing to make it a bit more fun. I like to slice the bulb paper thin, it’s a bit like an onion where you don’t need much. Add some grains, (I used farro here, but wheat berries would be nice as well), walnuts, avocado, orange, diced shallot or red onion, basil, parmesan, and generously dress with a tangy lemon dressing.
The most interesting part about fennel are the fronds! Their texture is similar to hair and the way they grow in the field reminds me of something found in a tropical jungle. I haven’t really found anything to do with them other than sprinkle a few tiny wisps on a salad, but if you have ideas send me a message!
Shaved Fennel Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing
- 1 Bulb of Fennel, shaved
- 1 head of lettuce of choice, chopped
- Half Cup of Chopped Walnuts
- 1 Cup of cooked Farro (or wheat berries)
- 1 Avocado, Sliced or cubed
- 1 orange, peeled and diced
- 1 Shallot finely diced (or a couple tablespoons of diced red onion)
- Shaved Parmesan Cheese (add as much as desired!)
- 3 Basil leaves, julienned
- Boil a pot of water and cook your farro or wheat berries.
- Clean your fennel first by soaking in a bowl of water to loosen any residual dirt.
- Chop off fennel fronds, leave only the bulb.
- Slice fennel as thin as your knife will allow. A mandoline would work best.
- Chop/add lettuce, walnuts, avocado, orange, shallot, parmesan cheese, and basil.
- Drizzle with lemon dressing (recipe below) and enjoy!
Creamy Lemon Dressing
- Juice of a quarter of a Lemon
- 1/2 Cup Olive oil
- 1/4 Cup of Creme Fraiche
- 1 Shallot minced (a microplane works well!)
- 2 Tablespoons Honey
- 1 tiny pinch of salt
- 1 pinch of ground pepper
- Add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake well
- Drizzle over Salad and enjoy!