A quick, healthy and easy fennel salad recipe featuring shaved ripe pears and fresh fennel with collards. The bitter green anise-flavored fennel is balanced by a honey citrus dressing with pumpkin seeds added for additional texture.
I think everyone needs more fennel in their life. Not only is it healthy, but if prepared right can be highly tasty as well. Here I keep it simple in this pear and fennel salad recipe as the key ingredients both play well off each other while the vinaigrette accents both.
This pear and fennel salad is a simple, delicious recipe great for spring or summertime, especially for those like my grandmother who hated "running the stove" during the Texas summers since the kitchen and adjacent rooms got super hot. Now for those with larger homes, this may not be an issue, but when you are square foot challenged and absent of central AC this is a real problem. Since you're technically not "cooking" the ingredients there is no need for a heat source.
What is the taste profile of a Pear and Fennel Salad?
More importantly this pear-fennel salad is simple and healthy, and tasty. The key is choosing a sweet, ripe pear as it pairs well with the paper-thin shaved fennel and the tart citrus vinaigrette. If you're not familiar with fennel it is highly aromatic and provides a light, crisp taste. It does have a licorice taste/finish so becomes sweet when cooked. Though this is a raw recipe, the acid from the vinaigrette really mellows out that strong anise flavor.
Though it brings a lot to the table from a health and taste perspective, it is a highly slept on food item. I liken fennel to one of my favorite songs - Heatwave's "Star of the Story". Heatwave was a great band from the 70's featuring incredible production by the legendary Rod Temperton who is more known for his work with Michael Jackson.
Heatwave had hits like "Always and Forever", "Boogie Nights", and "Ain't No Half Steppin" which my uncles listened to regularly but I didn't discover "Star of the Story" until my high school years when I started purchasing, listening and finding my own ear. I remember thinking "why wasn't this in my uncles' rotations?" This in my humble opinion is their best song! So, not only should you listen to more Heatwave, but I encourage you all to make fennel more the star of your culinary and wellness story.
Pear and Fennel Salad Ingredients
FOR THE SALAD
- Fennel Bulb Stalks
- Collard Greens
- Nuts (cashews, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, etc.)
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
- Lemon Juice
- Olive Oil
- Rice Wine Vinegar
MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE
Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix well. Taste and season as needed
MAKE THE SALAD
Using a mandolin or very sharp knife slice the fennel and pear into near paper thin slices or as thin as you can cut them. Set aside
Toast the nuts for a 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from heat.
Toss the greens, fennel, and pear slices with the vinaigrette. Let sit for the flavors to combine and to allow the vinaigrette to â€œcook awayâ€ the licorice-like flavor of the fennel.
Add nuts/seeds and top with crumbled cheese (feta or bleu) if you like.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are the health benefits of a Shaved Fennel Salad?
We eat it a lot in our house and it's actually one of my wife's favorite foods. Fennel is popular in French and Italian cuisine and similar to celery visually and texturally, but flavor-wise sweeter and much more edible. Fennel is also a great source of fiber which makes it advantageous for both digestion and maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol in your bloodstream. Translation - it helps stimulate elimination of the "bad" LDL cholesterol which is a driver in heart disease and strokes.
Similarly, it's high levels of potassium, which essentially helps relax the tension in your blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure. Why do we care about this? Because high blood pressure leads to and/or complicates many other health issues like stroke, heart health, and diabetes.
Should I Peel The Pear In This Salad Recipe?
To peel or not peel? I do not suggest peeling the pear as it is rich in vitamin C, a cancer-busting vitamin and pectin which lowers cholesterol. Since most of these nutrients are found just below the skin it is advisable to cook and eat them with the peel on. Additionally, there are many other health benefit including heart health and anti-inflammatory properties.
What nuts work with this recipe?
I typically round out the dish with "pepitas" which are the seeds from a pumpkin. Note its the green seed that is actually inside the white shell most of us are familiar with. it's a larger, dark green cousin of a sunflower seed kernel. Pepitas give the salad a crunch while the cheese supplies a certain level of saltiness and tartness.
Are there shortcuts to making this salad?
I use a mandoline slicer for this recipe and others where slicing vegetables and certain fruit is involved. They're fast and efficient, but my favorite aspect is the fact that you get uniform slices. Most include settings to reach your desired level of thickness. Invest in a mandoline slicer and make quick work in the kitchen.
MORE COLLARDS BASED RECIPES
For other fennel based recipes try these:
For More Collard Greens Recipes:
- Southern Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey
- Instant Pot Collard Greens w/ Smoked Brisket
- Curried Collards
- Collard Greens Salad
- Brazilian Collard Greens
- Collard Greens Slaw
- Blackeyed Peas and Collards
- Gumbo Z'herbes
- Collards 101
Shaved Fennel Salad with Crisp Pears and Collards
If you make this quick and easy Pear and Fennel Salad recipe please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
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FOR THE SALAD
- 1 large Fennel Bulb stalks and core removed
- 1 bunch collard greens sliced into thin strips and cleaned
- 1 pear cored
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds cashews, pine nuts, etc. all work
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE
- Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix well. Taste and season as needed
MAKE THE SALAD
- Using a mandolin or very sharp knife slice the fennel and pear into near paper thin slices or as thin as you can cut them. Set aside
- Toast the nuts for a 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from heat.
- Toss the greens, fennel, and pear slices with the vinaigrette. Let sit for the flavors to combine and to allow the vinaigrette to â€œcook awayâ€ the licorice-like flavor of the fennel.
- Add nuts/seeds and top with crumbled cheese (feta or bleu) if you like.
- A mandolin slicer saves you time and effort, plus cuts everything into uniform slices.
- Feel free to make the vinaigrette head of time.
- Seeds/needs are simply to add some crunch, so donâ€™t be wed to pumpkin seeds. Go with your preference and whats on hand.