Meatless Monday: Fennel and greens salad

The near-perfect summer salad that stays crunchy for days.

The Rowdy Chowgirl
Fennel and greens salad is fresh and crunchy. Soaking the fennel in lemon juice helps to remove the licorice flavor that can make it taste bitter.

I am currently obsessed with this salad. I keep finishing off a batch of it, then turning right around and making another. Every time I go to the grocery store I find I simply cannot leave without another fennel bulb in my bag. The thing is, it’s darn near the perfect summer salad. Here’s why:

  1. Most of the ingredients are items that I always have on hand.
  2. It is incredibly sturdy – it actually stays crunchy for days in the refrigerator.
  3. It has fennel bulb in it.
  4. It doesn’t have any mayonnaise in it.
  5. My garden is producing abundant greens right now. I can pick a mixed colander full in seconds.
  6. Oh yes, and it’s delicious.

I rest my case.

The inspiration for this brilliant salad came from Tara at Tea & Cookies. As I read her recipe, I knew it was going to be a keeper. I started tinkering with it immediately of course, adapting a bit to suit my own tastes, and throwing in some leftover beans and rice I had in the refrigerator to make it into a full meal.

I like fennel bulb a lot – braised in winter, or sliced raw into salads. I find that marinating it briefly in lemon juice improves the flavor of raw fennel bulb – it seems to remove that hint of licorice flavor that can make it a bit bitter.

If you, like me, often start the week by making big pots of beans and rice and stashing them in the refrigerator for weeknight dinners, you are halfway to enjoying this salad already. I have made it with brown rice, wild rice, farro, garbanzo beans, and adzuki beans. Use what you’ve got.

Fennel and Greens Salad
Adapted from Tea & Cookies

1 large fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups mixed greens (I used lacinato kale, scotch kale, collards, and chard), finely chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup cooked brown rice, cooled
1 cup cooked wild rice, cooled
1 cup cooked beans, cooled
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
freshly ground pepper to taste

Toss sliced fennel bulb in a large bowl with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, while preparing other ingredients. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Season to taste with pepper and additional salt if needed.

Related post: Shaved Fennel Salad with Satsumas and Oil-Cured Olives

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