As some of you may know, I have never been a huge fan of salad. Over the years I have come to appreciate a variety of salads and more since changing my diet to a more whole food, plant based one. However, I still am not someone who eats a big salad everyday, but I have decided I should eat more of them. They are so easy to make, and if made with a little thought and love, so really good.
This is the first time I have eaten raw fennel. Not something I ever thought of doing, because I imagined the taste would be too strong. I am sure that many of you who have never tried it might be thinking the same thing right now. “Raw fennel? Really? Are you sure Kieran?” YES, YES, and YES! Don’t worry about it. It’s delicious, and not the overpowering taste I expected.
The combination of the thinly sliced fennel, works so well with the sweetness of the pear, bitterness of the arugula and nuttiness of, well… the nuts (walnuts). I got the recipe idea from Love and Lemons. As well as from Heidi from 101cookbooks.
My recipe is pretty close to the one on Love and Lemons, but I left out the feta and mint. Next time I make this I might try using mint, sounds pretty good to me. I dressed the salad in roasted walnut oil and balsamic vinegar instead of sherry vinegar and dijon mustard used on Love and Lemons. I loved the taste of the balsamic vinegar with these ingredients. Spending a few more dollars on a good quality balsamic vinegar really makes a difference. Trust me. It can change your salad completely. If you don’t have roasted walnut oil you can use extra virgin olive oil instead.
The fennel I was using had some nice greens still attached, so I chopped some up and threw them in. The more greens the better. If you are wondering what else to do with fennel tops don’t be afraid to try this Fennel Top, Strawberry and Orange Green Smoothie. You won’t regret it.
It is so easy to burn nuts when roasting them in the oven. Make sure you set a timer and that you keep a close eye. 400F for 5-6 minutes should do it for lightly roasted walnuts.
Please Leave a Comment Below!
Have you ever used fennel before? What did you make with it?
Also, I would love to hear about any good salads you have made recently.
Fennel, Pear, Arugula, Walnut Salad
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2-3 pears, core removed, cut into bit size pieces
1 cup baby arugula, packed
3/4 cup roasted walnuts, roughly chopped (1/2 will do, I like lots of nuts)
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup roasted walnut oil, (or extra virgin olive oil)
3 -4 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar (or to taste)
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Mix the oil and vinegar together in a small bowl before dressing the salad.
Notes: To roast the walnuts. Preheat the oven to 400F. Roast for 5-6 minutes on a baking sheet, keeping a close eye.
I used a mandolin to slice the fennel. If you don’t have one use a good knife, and slice as thinly as you can.
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