Fennel. It’s strange to be so familiar with a plant’s seeds and yet not know how to use the plant itself.
Now when it comes to the plant… well, this was my first time trying it. I saw a small fennel bulb at my local farmer’s market. I asked the vendor how to use it and the sweet lady spent the next five minutes giving me ideas. One of those ideas was to use it in a salad.
I have been eating fennel seeds since I was a little kid. When you leave an Indian restaurant, chances are you’ll see a bowl full of seeds, some of them in bright candy coating. When I was younger, I would tell mom I wanted “Indian mints” after we’d finish a meal. Fennel seeds are used as a breath freshener and to help with digestion. We also use fennel seeds (usually fennel powder) in Indian cooking. We call it sauf (Hindi). I love the stuff.
I sliced the fennel into thin strips and tossed it with some baby kale and chopped avocado. The fennel had a celery-like crunch with a slight hint of licorice. My husband, who isn’t a fan of fennel seeds or licorice, liked the salad. So in my book, fennel salad = a win.
I made a lemon-thyme dressing to go along with the salad and the citrusy flavor went together wonderfully with all the greens.
- 1 small fennel bulb sliced into thin strips
- 4 ounces baby kale
- 1 avocado chopped
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of one large lemon or ¼ cup of juice
- Zest from ½ lemon
- Pinch of sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 medium garlic clove minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon honey or sweetener of choice to taste
- Slice fennel into thin strips and gently toss with baby kale leaves and chopped avocado.
- For dressing, whisk all ingredients together and place in jar (I like to reuse old spice jars for dressing).
- The dressing will taste even better the next day!