Jan 12, 2024
This simple shaved fennel salad recipe is crisp, bright, and refreshing. Customize it by adding orange segments, apple, or a handful of fresh mint.
This fennel salad recipe is the perfect winter side salad. Move over, soggy lettuce and watery tomatoes—this shaved fennel salad is crisp, refreshing, and bright, just the thing to balance a hearty pasta or other comforting meal.
Fresh fennel is one of the most underrated vegetables…and it also happens to be one of my favorites. It has a really lovely anise flavor and, when it’s raw, a great crunchy texture. If you’re on the fence about fennel, or if you’ve never tried it before, I hope you’ll make this recipe. Calling for just 10 ingredients, it’s quick and easy to toss together, and you can even customize it with add-ins like fresh herbs or fruit. It’s a delicious introduction to this tasty vegetable. I think you’ll love it!
What You’ll Need
Here’s what you’ll need to make this shaved fennel salad:
- Fennel, of course! You’ll need 2 medium bulbs, ideally with some fronds attached. Fennel first timer? Check out my guide to how to cook fennel to learn more about preparing it!
- Extra-virgin olive oil – It gives the dressing richness and body.
- Lemon juice and zest – They make the salad zingy and bright.
- Honey – Its sweetness mellows the tart lemon juice.
- Dijon mustard – For tangy, peppery flavor.
- Parmesan cheese – For salty, nutty flavor. Pecorino is great here too.
- Toasted pine nuts – They add crunch to the salad and amplify the nuttiness of the cheese. When I don’t have pine nuts on hand, I use sliced almonds instead. Both are delicious!
- Fresh parsley – For a fresh finishing touch.
- And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
How to Make a Shaved Fennel Salad
The first step in this recipe is slicing the fennel. You want to slice it paper-thin so that it bends and softens in the salad.
The most efficient way to do this is with a mandoline slicer. Consisting of a flat surface with a sharp, adjustable blade, a mandoline allows you to cut fennel into very thin, consistent slices. I have this Benriner mandoline, and I highly recommend it! I love that the blade has stayed sharp after years of use, that it’s easy to clean, and that it’s small enough to stash in a kitchen drawer.
One note on using a mandoline: It’s easy to cut yourself on the sharp blade. A cut-resistant glove is a good way to protect your hand while using one. Please use caution!
If you don’t have a mandoline, thinly slice the fennel with a sharp knife.
Next, make the dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, mustard, salt, and several grinds of pepper in a large bowl.
Then, assemble the salad. Add the thinly sliced fennel to the bowl and toss to coat in the dressing. Sprinkle in a few tablespoons of the chopped fronds, the cheese, pine nuts, and parsley. Toss gently to combine.
Finally, season to taste and serve. Enjoy!
This simple fennel salad recipe is delicious as written. But for a fun variation, try customizing it with add-ins! Any of these would be great:
- Fresh fruit. Add orange, grapefruit, or mandarin slices, or toss in some thinly sliced apple.
- Herbs. Add fresh mint leaves or chopped fresh dill.
- Other nuts. Swap out the pine nuts or almonds for toasted walnuts or pecans.
My favorite version of this salad has fresh orange segments and lots of mint. Let me know yours in the comments!
What to Serve with Fennel Salad
This fennel salad is a perfect side dish for so many meals! Pair it with a simply cooked protein or Italian-inspired dishes like pasta, pizza, and polenta. Try serving it with any of these recipes:
What do you like to serve with a shaved fennel salad? Let me know in the comments!
More Simple Salad Recipes
If you love this fennel salad recipe, try one of these simple salads next:
Shaved Fennel Salad
This shaved fennel salad is crunchy, bright, and refreshing! The recipe is simple and delicious as written, but it’s also wonderful with add-ins like orange segments, thinly sliced apples, or fresh mint.
Prevent your screen from going dark
In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, mustard, salt, and several grinds of pepper. Add the fennel and toss to coat.
Add the fennel fronds, cheese, pine nuts, and parsley and gently toss. Season to taste and serve.