I love vegetables and simple, quick, luxurious salads like this are as good as dessert in my book. This is crunchy, versatile, vibrant, tossed together in a cinch, and packed with nutritious vitamins.
Fennel is often an overlooked vegetable, found on the periphery of the vegetable section in most markets. Yet, it is not only scrumptious in a soup, gratin, roasted, or fresh, it is so very good for us too.
Did you know, according the USDA, a single serving of fennel offers:
2.9 grams of protein
7.3 g of dietary fiber
360 milligrams (mg) of potassium
45 mg of sodium
838 international units (IU) of vitamin A
43 mg of calcium
10.4 mg of vitamin C
0.64 mg of iron
0.041 mg of vitamin B-6
15 mg of magnesium
Fennel also contains:
What a supremely generous vegetable!
Here, I pair shaved fresh fennel with blood orange, blackberries, toasted nuts, olive oil, a hint of red onion, and salt and pepper to taste. This is what I had on hand the day I made this.
You can completely change it up though. Use orange or grapefruit as your citrus, add pomegranate seeds, raspberries, or even cubes of mango or shaved thin apple or pear. Use pine nuts or almonds, add in goat cheese or a meat for protein, sliced avocado or a grain such as quinoa if wanting to round this out into a full meal. Here, it was a side salad to go with a simple roast chicken later in the week I made another batch to have in the fridge for lunches and snacks. This recipe is for 2, yet can be flexible and easily doubled etc..
2 fennel bulbs, core removed, and some of the fronds saved
1/8 of a large red onion, if that, you want just a hint really, or one small shallot.
2 blood oranges (or equivalent of regular oranges or grapefruit)
2 tbsp nuts, toasted, set aside
a handful of berries or pomegranate seeds
a glug or two of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
*optional chili flakes, if I'm adding in goat cheese, the creaminess of the goat cheese balances out perfectly with a punch of heat and the sweetness of the citrus and berries
Shave the fennel on a mandolin, being cautious here and using your guard, or in a food processor with that setting. Shave the onion or 1 small shallot. Add to a bowl large enough to toss together.
Segment the blood oranges, saving the peels, there usually is a bit of pulp left after segmenting, you'll squeeze and juice this on top of the fennel. If you did an efficient job of segmenting and you need more juice to taste, then just squeeze half of one of the oranges, saving the rest of the segmented bits for the salad.
Add a splash or two of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. This is a taste as you go salad, the only problem is you may be temped to just eat it all as you though too, smiling.
Once mixed in, gentle toss in the berries, toasted nuts, and fennel fronds.
Enjoy and make it your own!