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Roasted Fennel Salad
A refreshing treat with sweet, savory and citrus in every bite. If you haven’t roasted fennel, now is a great time to try it.
In my twenties, I worked in the produce industry. As a broker, I was the go-between with the produce companies and store buyers. The company I worked for bought a lot of produce. Many full truckloads a week. When you spend a lot of money, companies cater to you. I’d receive packages with citrus, salads, and specialty items. Freida’s Finest always had the craziest foods I’d never heard of much less eaten. They were usually a treat for my tastebuds. Though I’d heard of figs (hello, fig newton cookies!), I never had the opportunity to eat them fresh. One of our shippers sent me a package of fresh and candied figs and dates, and I’ll never be the same.
This recipe containing figs and fennel combine two items I’d never had tried when I was younger, if I hadn’t worked in the produce industry. The natural sweetness of roasted fennel and red onion add subtle depth to this beautiful and delicious salad, while the addition of preserved lemon rind adds an unexpected pop of flavor to the dressing.
Tip: For best results, make the Lemon-Tahini Dressing in advance to give the flavors a chance to mingle. If you are short on time, the dressing can also be prepared while the vegetables are roasting.
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If you’re looking for a beautiful way to serve salads to your friends and family, I love these rectangular platters.
- Lemon-Tahini Dressing:
- 4 1⁄2 teaspoon tahini
- 4 1⁄2 teaspoon hot water
- 4 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoon preserved lemon rind rinsed and chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1⁄2 large clove garlic peeled
- 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cumin
- cayenne pepper
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Salad Ingredients:
- 1⁄2 large fennel bulb
- 1⁄2 large red onion
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 4 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 cup arugula washed and patted dry
- 1 cup baby spinach washed and patted dry
- 1 1⁄2 medium ripe figs cut half, then sliced
- Prepare dressing by combining ingredients in a blender
or food processor. Blend until smooth, scraping the sides with a spatula to
ensure the tahini is thoroughly incorporated. Taste and adjust seasonings, as
desired. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425°F degrees and line a large, rimmed
baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat® baking mat. Set aside.
- Remove the stems and bottom from the fennel bulb, then
cut into ½” thick slices from top to bottom. Place slices in a large bowl and
reserve the fronds for garnish, if desired. Set aside.
- Remove ends and outer skin of red onion. Cut in half
from root to stem and then cut each half into ½” thick slices. Place half-round
slices into bowl with fennel.
- Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar to bowl and season
with salt and black pepper, to taste. Gently toss until the fennel and red
onion is evenly coated.
- Transfer vegetables to prepared baking sheet and
arrange in a single layer without overcrowding. Sprinkle with fresh thyme
leaves and place in pre-heated oven. Roast for 30-35 minutes, turning once. Once
vegetables are golden brown, remove from oven and set aside.
- Place arugula and spinach in a large bowl and add 3 tablespoons of lemon-tahini dressing and toss to combine. Arrange greens on serving platter and top with roasted fennel, red onion, and fresh fig slices. Garnish with fennel fronds, if desired.
- To serve, drizzle additional dressing on top, if
desired, and pass the remaining amount for those who prefer more. Enjoy!
If you don't have a Silpat baking mat, I highly recommend one. Get it here