Fennel Salad

There are beautiful mountains all over British Columbia and we have some of the best ski resorts in the world. Some people look forward to winters, especially here in Vancouver. I on the other hand, have only tried skiing once and I wasn’t particularly good at it. I feel a bit out of my element in the cold weather. I have been lucky to have lived in placed with sunny, tropical weather all my life before coming to Vancouver. Needless to say, Vancouver has been quite an adjustment, and I am not the most jolly person to be around this time of the year!


My younger sister, Lopa, moved to Toronto couple of weeks back. She had lived in London for a little over a year, but she hasn’t seen anything that comes close to the Canadian winter, and Toronto has given her a bit of a “weather shock”. She has been sending me pictures of the snow and weather around there; and lately I have been feeling that I complain too much for the little weather I have to endure. After all, Vancouver has had like two snowfalls this winter so far.

I was a regular at the farmer’s market throughout the past summer, but the winter has killed my market mojo. Last Saturday, I braved sub-zero temperatures and finally made that trip to the market! Once I was there, I was reminded why I love the farmer’s market so much. First of all, there are the familiar faces; vendors who actually know me by my name. There is a vendor who also is a food blogger, and we often exchange tips on blogging! Then there is the produce! The fact that I get to interact with the people who were responsible to grow the produce I am bringing home always excites me! I picked up some beautiful fennel bulbs and radishes on my trip!

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In India, it is customary to offer our guests roasted fennel seeds after a meal. Fennel seeds have an intoxicating smell that I would describe as liquorish. While most people think that we eat fennel seeds to refresh our breath after a meal, they are unaware of the wonders fennel does in their digestive system! The essential oils in fennel stimulate secretion of digestive and gastric juices, while reducing inflammation of the stomach and intestines, facilitating proper absorption of nutrients from the food you eat. Fennel is also known to eliminate constipation.

It has been unusually sunny the past few days in Vancouver, so I decided to celebrate the sunny weather with a light, citrusy, summer salad! While I have been eating fennel seeds since I was a young kid back in India, I was only introduced to fresh fennel in the western world. I love using fennel in vegetable stocks, salads or even braise it in white wine. This is a versatile vegetable that can be used to add a lovely liquorish aroma to a number of dishes, but my personal favorite is raw fennel in a salad!

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Fennel Salad

Cook time:

serves 4

4 bulbs of fennel – thinly shaved on mandolin
4 blood oranges
6 radishes – thinly sliced on mandolin
1/4 cup pine nuts/ almond/ walnuts – lightly toasted
1/4 cup chopped herbs – basil/mint/dill

Using a sharp paring knife, peel blood oranges and slice crosswise into thin slices. Put shaved fennel, radishes and herbs in a big bowl. Drizzle vinaigrette on top and mix well to coat evenly. Mound the mixture on a plate, arrange the orange slices over, garnish with pine nuts and some more herbs on top.


1 tbsp lemon juice/juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp honey (optional)
pinch of salt and pepper

Put lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper in a jar. Close the lid and shake well.

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  1. says

    It definitely takes time to get adjusted with this cold weather. It is brutally cold and have snowed more than half a dozen times so far. As I type we are surrounded by a foot of graupel. But such comforting food definitely lightens the mood and gets us out of the winter depression. And I love your photos. You make them look gorgeous.

  2. says

    This weather does affect my mojo ..praying for summers here! Its work of art the way you present your food. I wish I could be invited for dinner at your place!

    • says

      I lived in Dallas for a few years, so I know what you are talking about! I didn’t go to the farmer’s market when I was in Dallas anyway, I went to Uncle Julio’s instead and gorged on tortilla chips. I think my pictures tell the story :)

  3. says

    Stunning pics Medha. I have never tasted fresh fennel but only the seeds. I am really wanting to try it but it is never available here in India and I guess i will always be left wondering to its taste!

    • says

      I have been wondering why we don’t get fresh fennel in India too, I have never seen it at an Indian market. May be you can ask for it to the vendors selling fennel seeds, its worth the trouble! :)

  4. says

    I had just been to a farmer’s market. I noticed fennel but had no idea how to cook them. & I had so many fresh veggies already that I decided to buy it the next time. I reach home and see this recipe of yours!
    I will mark this for trying it next time :)

  5. Maureen says

    Hi Medha, We had company Friday night, you would be so proud of me. I made lentil soup with cumin seeds, the fennel salad, and curried chicken. I swear it was incredible! Everyone thought I was a genius and I owe it all to you. Miss you.

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