This fresh fennel salad is a lovely side dish for any meal, and you’ll find yourself craving it often! It’s also an incredibly easy recipe to throw together. The combination of flavors is divine!
Have you ever had a short brain freeze when thinking about what to cook or eat for lunch? If you did, you could take a breather and feel the endless possibilities you have when creating a healthy and nutritious salad. You may need some inspiration, as I sometimes do, but nothing is wrong with that. I found my Fennel Salad with Oranges, Tomatoes & Arugula inspiration in a cookbook from Williams-Sonoma.
The original fennel salad recipe was created with blood oranges, which are not very easy to find in many cities or towns. I had to substitute regular oranges or blood oranges. I also added a few gourmet tomatoes to make it look more festive. This is delicious and versatile. It is versatile because you can substitute the oranges for berries or peaches; those are my favorite substitutions.
A little bit about fennel from http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/fennel-bulb.html. Fennel is a member of the Apiaceae (parsley family) and is related to carrots, caraway, anise, cumin, dill, etc. Scientific name: Foeniculum vulgare var. azoricum.
Bulb fennel is a cool-season perennial herb but is grown as an annual vegetable crop. Unlike seed fennel, bulb fennel is a small herb growing up to only 2 feet in height. As the plant grows, its thickened lower leaves overlap one above the other to form a swollen, bulb-like structure just above the ground. At maturity, its bulb measures about 3-5 inches in width and about 3 inches in length.
Health benefits of fennel bulb
Fennel is a terrific vegetable for fennel salad, mainly to grow in your garden. It has a crisp, clean taste and can be used in soups, salads or as a garnish for your favorite soup or stew. You can even bake it like you would a potato. It’s just one of those versatile veggies that provide plenty of food for thought.
- Fennel bulb is a winter season vegetable but you may be able to find it in specialty food market off season. It has some noteworthy essential oils, flavonoid anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins that have been known to offer health benefits. For these versatile qualities, it found use in culinary as well as in medicines since ancient times.
- Bulb fennel is one of very low calorie vegetables. 100 g bulb carries just 31 calories. Further, it contains generous amounts of fiber (3.1 g/100 g or 8% of RDI) but very little fat, and zero cholesterol.
- Fresh bulb gives sweet anise-like flavor. Much of this comes from high concentration of aromatic essential oils like anethole, estragole, and fenchone (fenchyl acetate) in the fennel. Anethole has been found to have anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties.
- The bulbs have moderate amounts of minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. Their sweet fronds indeed hold several vital vitamins such as pantothenic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin in small but healthy proportions. 100 g fresh bulbs provide 27 µg of folates. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis and cell division. Adequate folate levels in the diet during pregnancy can help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn babies.
- In addition, fennel bulb contains moderate levels of water-soluble vitamin, vitamin-C. 100 g of fresh bulbs provide 12 mg or 20% of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals. Further, it has small amounts of vitamin A.
- The bulbs have very good levels of heart-friendly electrolyte, potassium. 100 g provides 414 mg or 9% of daily-recommended levels. Potassium is an important electrolyte inside the cell. It helps reduce blood pressure and rate of heartbeats by countering effects of sodium. Fennel also contains small amounts of minerals such as copper, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and selenium.
I hope I did not bore you too much with the above-extended information on fennel. It is possible to think that fennel is too expensive to buy. If you make the sacrifice once in a while, you are only doing a good deed for your health and body. We all want to eat healthily; unfortunately, many foods that will make us healthier are expensive. The best advice I can give is to shop around. We do it for clothing, electronics, etc. why not do it for healthy foods?
How to make the fennel salad
First, prepare all your vegetables and salad dressing for the fennel salad. Place the prepared vegetables in a large bowl, add the dress and toss to combine.
Now, with the entire salad put together, we have amazing light, healthy and fresh dish. Best of all, it’s easy to make and will likely surprise people that it contains fennel if you haven’t told them about it. Fennel is a great ingredient for salads and has various health benefits. It tastes crisp, light, and subtly sweet (because of the orange), which is completely different from its heavier cousin, cilantro. This salad works perfectly as a side to any kind of meat or protein, and roasted chicken would even be great, but equally well on its own as a satisfying meal.
With vibrant colors and fresh, bold flavors, this fennel salad recipe will liven up your dinner table. Fennels are a great source of fiber, Vitamin C, and potassium. They provide so many health benefits to the body. Make it today!
Enjoy my update Fennel Salad with Oranges, Tomatoes and Arugula.
- 2 fennel bulbs trimmed
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 6 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil grapeseed oil or coconut oil
- 4 cups loosely packed
- arugula leaves
- 4 navel oranges peeled with a knife and sliced crosswise in thin slices
- 2 handful gourmet tomatoes or sherry tomatoes halves
- Wash and pat dry the fennel bulb. Halve the fennel bulbs lengthwise and, using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, cut the halves crosswise into paper-thin slices.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Add the oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is smooth. Add the arugula and fennel, tomatoes slices and toss to coat evenly with the vinaigrette. Mound the mixture on a platter, distribute the orange slices (or your choice of fruit) over and around the salad, and serve.
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.
Nutrition info is automatically generated and provided as a courtesy and as an estimate only.
Always choose ingredients without corn or corn derivatives.
Originally published January 12, 2016. Updated and revised.