This fennel salad is a blend of arugula, fresh apples, thinly sliced fennel, celery and candied pecans, all tossed together in a homemade dressing. A unique and unexpected salad that always gets rave reviews!

I love hearty and healthy salad recipes, including summery grilled chicken salad, creamy and decadent lobster salad or crab salad, hearty couscous salad, and this simple, but totally satisfying fennel salad.

A bowl of fennel salad made with arugula, apples and pecans.

In my opinion, fennel is an underrated vegetable. It’s delicious when eaten raw in a fennel salad, and is absolutely magical when roasted to caramelized perfection in the oven. My fennel and apple salad comes together in just minutes, and is sure to be a hit.

Fennel Salad Ingredients

Bowls of ingredients including arugula, apples, fennel and pecans.

The primary ingredients in this salad include arugula, fennel, apples, celery, candied pecans and fennel fronds.

Bowls of salad dressing ingredients such as olive oil, vinegar and seasonings.

The dressing for this shaved fennel salad recipe is a simple blend of extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, honey, minced shallots, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.

How Do You Make Fennel Salad?

Start by cutting your fennel bulb and apples into very thin slices. Place the fennel and apples in a bowl with arugula, celery and candied pecans. For the dressing, place minced shallot, olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and honey in a bowl. Whisk until everything is well incorporated. Pour the dressing into the bowl with the fennel mixture, then toss to combine. Garnish with chopped fennel fronds if desired, and serve.

Step by step process shots showing how to make fennel salad.

Tips For The Perfect Dish

  • I use a mandoline to cut my fennel into very thin slices. You can also use a sharp knife, but it’s much quicker and more precise with the mandoline.
  • You can use any type of apples you like. I typically go for Pink Lady or Honeycrisp, but other great options include Fuji, Braeburn or Gala.
  • I really like the sweetness that the candied pecans add to the salad. If you can’t find candied pecans, regular toasted pecans will work just fine. You can also make your own candied pecans.
  • I like to garnish the salad with fennel fronds for an extra kick of fennel flavor, but you can skip this step if you prefer.
  • Serve your salad alongside main course options such as Italian wedding soup, cheeseburger pie, chicken Vesuvio, pan seared chicken breast or chicken primavera.

Quick Tip

Fennel salad is best when served immediately as the arugula will wilt if it sits in the dressing for too long.

Recipe FAQs

Is fennel better raw or cooked?

I happen to enjoy fennel both ways. Raw fennel is crisp like celery, with a slight anise flavor. Cooked fennel has a softer consistency and a more mellow flavor. Raw fennel is great in salads, sandwiches and even on a crudite platter. Cooked fennel is delicious on pizza, pasta or as a side dish on its own.

What part of the fennel do you use for salad?

The fennel bulb is most commonly used for salads. Sometimes the core of the bulb can be a bit tough, so feel free to cut that out before you thinly slice your fennel. I do also like to include the fennel fronds as they have a stronger flavor.

What does fennel go well with?

Fennel pairs well with fruits such as apples, pears and pomegranate. It is also great with chicken and pork. I often combine fennel with other fall and winter vegetables to roast for a unique and delicious side dish. Some great vegetable options include brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and butternut squash.

Is fennel healthy?

Fennel is a great addition to a healthy diet. It is low in calories, and high in fiber. Fennel contains plenty of nutrients including Vitamin C, potassium and folate.

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Tongs serving up a portion of fennel salad.

Fennel salad flavor variations

This salad is great as-is, but you can easily add other ingredients to make your own creation.

  • Greens: Swap out the arugula for kale, mixed greens or baby spinach.
  • Protein: Make it a main course by adding white beans, grilled chicken or cooked crumbled bacon.
  • Vegetables: Amp up the veggies with sliced red onion, avocado or cucumber.
  • Nuts: Skip the pecans and go for toasted pine nuts or walnuts instead.
  • Cheese: Feel free to add some cheese such as crumbled goat cheese, blue cheese or feta.
  • Fruit: Instead of apples, try pears, oranges, pomegranate seeds or even dried cranberries.
  • Dressing: No red wine vinegar on hand? Lemon juice is also a great option. You can even add a little fresh lemon zest for extra flavor. You can also add fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley or fresh mint.

I love this fennel salad recipe because it’s a little different than what most people are used to, but is full of fresh flavors. Serve it as an appetizer, or an accompaniment to roasted chicken or seafood.

More Great Salad Recipes

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5 from 25 votes

Fennel Salad

AuthorSara Welch
A bowl of fennel salad made with arugula, apples and pecans.
This fennel salad is a blend of arugula, fresh apples, thinly sliced fennel, celery and candied pecans, all tossed together in a homemade dressing. A unique and unexpected salad that always gets rave reviews!
Time
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 minute
Total Time21 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Serves 6

Ingredients 

For the salad

  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1 cup sliced apple such as Honeycrisp or Pink Lady
  • 1 cup fennel bulb thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup celery thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup candied pecans roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fennel fronds chopped, optional

For the dressing

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon shallot minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

For the salad

  • Place the arugula, apples, fennel, celery and pecans in a large bowl.

For the dressing

  • Place all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad. Toss until well combined.
  • Sprinkle with fennel fronds if desired, then serve immediately.

Notes

  1. I use a mandoline to cut my fennel into very thin slices.
  2. You can use any type of apples you like. I typically go for Pink Lady or Honeycrisp, but other great options include Fuji, Braeburn or Gala.
  3. Fennel salad is best when served immediately as the arugula will wilt if it sits in the dressing for too long.

Nutrition

Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 296mg | Potassium: 370mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 5640IU | Vitamin C: 69.4mg | Calcium: 151mg | Iron: 1.2mg

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