This shaved fennel salad is a stunning side dish that pairs perfectly with your favorite main course.
Every year for Christmas, I make orange-maple vinaigrette for my in-laws for the salad we serve alongside Christmas lasagna. This shaved fennel salad is topped with a similar dressing, but I use lemon instead of orange.
How to make this shaved fennel salad recipe:
I love this recipe because you can whip it up so quickly. To make it even easier, I recommend investing in a small mandoline slicer. These slicers come in all varieties and price ranges. I’ve had mandolines with all the bells and whistles, but they’re bulky and cumbersome, and I find that they sit in my cupboard until I decide to donate them to a friend or family member to clear up space. My go-to? A simple, space-saving, relatively cheap hand-held mandoline slicer. It gets the job done and doesn’t take up too much space. It can only slice in three different thicknesses, but I don’t use a mandoline often enough to warrant a fancy one, so the OXO one I linked above is my go-to.
If you don’t have a mandoline slicer, you can use a sharp knife and carefully slice the fennel bulb as thinly as you can.
What you need
- Fennel and shallot: I shave both fennel and shallot for the salad. If I’m breaking out the mandoline, I might as well shave all the things!
- Salad greens: I use a mix of baby arugula and romaine lettuce for a balanced blend of crispy, crunchy lettuce and peppery, tender greens.
- Brussels sprouts and pecans: Pan-fried Brussels sprouts and pecans add a nice lightly charred, nutty flavor to the salad.
- Dressing: The dressing is just maple syrup, Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. If you only have Dijon mustard, skip the whole-grain mustard!
How to make it
- Step 1: Shave the fennel and shallot using the mandoline slicer. Season them lightly with salt and pepper. Add the greens and toss to coat.
- Step 2: Make the dressing by whisking everything together until completely emulsified.
- Step 3: Fry up the Brussels sprouts until well-browned. Add the pecans and cook until lightly toasted.
- Step 4: Finish it up by adding the warm Brussels sprouts to the bowl of fennel and lettuce. Pour the dressing on top. If you have fennel fronds, scatter a pinch on top and serve immediately.
Looking for more salad recipes? Check my archives!
Shaved Fennel Salad
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and halved lengthwise; fronds reserved if your fennel bulb has them
- 1 small shallot, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 3 ounces romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
- 3 ounces baby arugula
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- ¼ cup chopped, unsalted pecans
- Salt and pepper
Prepare the fennel and shallot:
- Using a mandoline slicer, carefully shave the fennel and shallot into thin slices. Transfer to a bowl and add a pinch of salt.
- Add the lettuce and arugula to the fennel and shallot and toss to coat.
Make the dressing:
- Add the maple syrup, Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, and lemon juice to a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Slowly add the extra virgin olive oil, whisking as you incorporate until smooth and emulsified. Taste and add salt. Set aside; you may need to whisk again right before serving.
Make the Brussels sprouts:
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, add the Brussels sprouts and use your spoon to flip as many sprouts cut-side down as possible. Season with salt. Cook without moving for 4–6 minutes to allow the sprouts to develop a nice char.
- Toss the sprouts and continue cooking for 5–7 minutes until the sprouts are tender. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Add the pecans to the skillet and cook, turning often, for 1–2 minutes until toasted. Turn off the heat.
Finish the salad:
- Whisk the dressing right before serving. Add the Brussels sprouts and pecans to the salad. Pour as much of the vinaigrette on top as you like; you can serve the remaining dressing at the table or reserve it for another use. Toss to coat the salad with the dressing and add more salt if needed.
- Pile the salad onto a serving platter. If your fennel bulb had fennel fronds, scatter a few on top of the salad. Serve the salad alongside your favorite main course. Enjoy!