Filled with sliced apple, fennel, arugula, walnuts, and cheese, this fennel apple salad is bright, tangy, and full of texture and flavor. Serve it as a side to the protein of your choice for a healthy and balanced meal.
While fennel may not be the first ingredient that comes to mind when you think of salad, it works incredibly well. With its crisp, crunchy, and hearty texture, it’s a wonderful addition to a salad as it holds a dressing very well, and its anise or licorice-like taste is a wonderful pairing for the sweet and tart taste of apples and peppery flavor of arugula. So, if you have yet to try fennel salad, I highly suggest you do!
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What You’ll Need
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this fennel apple salad:
- Fennel: You’ll use fennel bulbs, stalks, and fronds in this salad.
- Apple: While I used a sweet apple, specifically the Honeycrisp apple, you can use any type or color of apple you like, such as Gala apples or Granny Smith apples.
- Arugula: To add some dark leafy greens and a peppery bite. Feel free to use spinach if you’re not a fan of arugula.
- Pecorino Cheese: Feel free to use parmesan cheese if you can’t find pecorino, just be sure if freshly shaved or grated.
- Walnuts: You can use full, halved, or chopped walnuts, or swap them for the preferred nut of your choice. Almonds or pecans would also work well.
- Olive Oil: To add some healthy fats and make the dressing.
- Lemon Juice: The juice of a fresh lemon works best. You can also use apple cider vinegar if needed.
- Salt: To season the dressing and salad.
- Pepper: Some freshly ground black pepper to finish the dish.
Although I didn’t add any, many apple fennel salad recipes will add celery, so feel free to include some of you like – the more veggies the better!
How to Make a Fennel Apple Salad
While it looks a little fancy, this apple fennel salad is very easy to make and can be done in less than 15 minutes. Here’s how you’ll make it:
- Mix. Begin by mixing and whisking the dressing.
- Toast. Cook the walnuts in a pan until lightly toasted.
- Slice. Thinly slice the fennel and apple.
- Toss. Add the ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine.
- Dress. Drizzle the salad with dressing and toss until everything is well coated.
- Season. Top the salad with walnuts and pecorino, serve, and enjoy.
The complete instructions can be found in the recipe card below.
Red’s Nutrition Tip
This salad is a great source of fiber and healthy fats, however, it’s not considered a complete meal on its own. Be sure to add a source of protein, such as chicken or tofu, and a source of complex carbs, such as bread or crackers, to ensure you’re consuming all macronutrients.
Raw fennel has a mild anise or licorice flavor, with hints of citrus and mint. Once cooked it has a slightly milder and much sweeter taste.
Yes, the fennel bulb, stalks, and fronds can all be eaten raw. All parts of fennel are edible, can be eaten raw, boiled, roasted, grilled, or steamed, and can be added to salad, soup, pasta, or enjoyed as a simple side dish.
You can use all parts of a fennel bulb for a salad. It is best to remove the fronds first and, using a knife or a mandoline, thinly slice the bulb and stalks and roughly chop the fronds before adding them to a salad.
What to Serve With Apple Fennel Salad
This apple fennel salad is primarily a source of fiber and healthy fats, which makes it a wonderful side dish to protein and/or complex carbohydrates for a complete and well-balanced meal. I’d suggest serving this salad with chicken, such as my lemon pepper chicken thighs, salmon, steak, pork, specifically my herb-crusted pork tenderloin, shrimp, or tofu.
Leftover salad with dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours, left any longer and the salad will get soggy. Alternatively, you can prepare the salad and dressing separately ahead of time, and store them in the fridge in airtight containers for up to 3 days and add the dressing to the salad when you are ready to eat.
More Fennel and Apple Recipes:Print
Fennel Apple Salad
Crispy, crunchy, tangy, salty, and sweet, this fennel apple salad is full of flavors and textures and makes a wonderful side dish for any dinner.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: By Hand
- Cuisine: American
- 2 bulbs fennel
- 1 red apple
- 4 cups arugula
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 ounces pecorino or parmesan cheese
- In a small bowl or jar, combine olive oil, lemon juice, a generous pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper, and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, and then set aside.
- Heat a small pan to medium-high heat, add the chopped walnuts to the hot, dry pan, and cook, stirring them frequently until lightly browned and toasted, then remove from the heat and set aside.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the root off the fennel bulbs and remove the fronds, setting them aside. Using a mandoline or knife, slice the fennel bulbs as thinly as possible, and then roughly chop the fronds with a knife.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the apple 1/4 to 1/2 inch away from the center stem, then turn 90 degrees until you have cut a total of 4 pieces and only the core remains. Dispose of the apple core and, using a mandoline or knife, slice the apple pieces into thin slices.
- In a large bowl, add arugula, fennel, apple, and fennel fronds, and toss to combine. Drizzle with the dressing and toss again until everything is well coated. Taste and taste salt and pepper seasoning as needed.
- Top the salad with toasted walnuts and, using a vegetable peeler, shave the pecorino or parmesan cheese over the salad.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 249 calories
- Sugar: 3 grams
- Fat: 23 grams
- Carbohydrates: 7 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 8 grams
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