Fennel, Pear and Cranberry Salad

Do you like fennel?

I know I do. I really, really do!

However, I don’t eat it as much as I’d like to.

Why?

Well, because frankly, I lack the inspiration as to what to do with it.

Apart from this classic Paper Thin Fennel Saladwhich I’ve made and enjoyed on a few occasions in the recent months, the only other way that I’ve ever had fennel, I think, was in the form of a braised vegetable, always drenched in booze and olive oil, basically deprived of all its nutrients… Of course, that was in my past life, but that’s probably the reason why I’ve never been tempted to give that method a try…

Now that I think of it, I think it would be a great idea for me to try and make a lighter version of this dish that I remember to be fantastically delicious.

But the truth is, fennel is a vegetable that I am a little intimated with, because I don’t know how to prepare it, or rather, what to prepare with it. It’s one ingredient that I am simply not familiar with.

However, I recently decided to use it in a salad… in a different salad, that is. I just let my imagination guide me, and this is what it came up with.

Pretty isn’t it?

If I told you it tasted even better than it looked, would you believe me?

I had a friend over for dinner that night, and his comment was “this dish has the perfect balance of everything”.

And all I can do is agree with him.

This salad is fresh, it’s crispy, it’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s tangy, it’s zesty, it’s… well, it’s super well balanced. ;)

So really, if you like fennel, try it for yourself and let me know what you think.

Oh, and if you happen to have suggestions as to how to use fennel? Please share!

I’d be more than happy to hear them!

FENNEL, PEAR AND CRANBERRY SALAD

INGREDIENTS
(serves 2 as main -4 as side)

  • 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped (save  some of the leaves to use as garnish)
  • 2 carrots, diced (I used one yellow and one light orange carrot)
  • ¼ radicchio, shredded
  • 1 large pear, diced
  • 2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp liquid honey
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add all ingredients to large mixing bowl and toss to combine.
  2. Refrigerate for about an hour to allow flavors to blend.
  3. Garnish with fennel leaves and walnut halves.
  4. This salad can be made up to a day in advance and will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

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Comments

    • says

      Sweet! I hope you mom likes it. Growing fennel isn’t a bad idea at all… can’t be too hard, now, can it? I think I’ll give that a try next year. I’m not too good at growing fruits and veggies, but I have a good feeling about that one! ;)

  1. says

    What a light and lovely salad! I love the ingredients and it looks so fresh! Pear and cranberry are such great fall ingredients, add fennel and you have a delicious salad – nice job!

    I too have been a little intimidated by fennel…I’ve roasted it and sprinkled with parmesan and used it in a grapefruit and caramelized onion salad based off Giada’s recipe a while back, which was REALLY good! I’ll have to make it again…it’s more of a summer salad but maybe I can keep the warm weather alive with it? :)

    • says

      Fennel and grapefruit! Oh my, yum! Now this, I really like. Not that I’ve ever tried it, but I love what it tastes like in my mind! ;) Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a summer salad in the middle of winter… providing you can get your hands on the necessary ingredients, that is, and that said ingredients actually have some taste to them. I say it’s not too late for you to whip up a good fennel / grapefruit salad and send the recipe over this way! :D

  2. says

    I totally love fennel and this does look absolutely delicious! If you want some more fennel inspiration; I’ve got a couple fennel recipes on my blog, also one with risotto, fennel and salmon which was unusual but good!

    • says

      Thanks Simone, I did take a look at your website and I did find some pretty good inspiration on there. I really like the idea of fennel and risotto. I’ll let that simmer in my head for a bit… I’m sure something good will eventually pop out! :D

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