We're mere days away from the official beginning of fall, but signs of it are everywhere. And what better way to get into the spirit than building some transitional dishes into your late summer and early fall menus. One of my favorites is this roasted fennel salad that is packed with all kinds of flavor and texture without having you fuss in the kitchen for hours.
I'm not a big fan of fennel generally, but by roasting it, you can bring out its natural sweetness. Then pairing it with lightly tender green beans, crisp green onions, and crunchy pumpkin seeds (pepitas) gives even more flavor and texture contrasts. Bring it all together with a tangy dressing featuring everything from lemon juice and mustard to capers and olive oil and you are set to make dinner extra special.
I love serving this salad alongside roasted or grilled chicken or pork. If you have a day that leans more toward summer, aim for grilling. If you are feeling the chill in the air, turn on the oven. This salad will play well either way. Enjoy!
- ½ T. lemon juice
- ½ T. grainy mustard
- 1 T. capers
- ½ c. extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp. pepper
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 medium bulbs fennel
- 1 T. canola oil
- 1 lb. green beans
- 2 T. sliced green onions
- ⅓ cup toasted pepitas, sunflower seeds, or pine nuts
Combine the first 6 ingredients (lemon juice through salt) in a resealable jar. Add the lid and shake vigorously to combine and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Cut the fennel bulbs into slices and place them in a baking dish. Drizzle the fennel with 1 tablespoon of canola oil and toss with your hands to ensure that they are evenly coated. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until tender and golden in color.
While the fennel is baking, bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanche the green beans for 3 minutes until slightly tender and then drain and rinse with cold water to stop them cooking further. Slice into bite-sized pieces.
Combine the roasted fennel, beans, green onions, and pepitas in a large serving bowl. Toss with the dressing and serve.
- Yields: 4-6 servings
- Preparation Time: 30 minutes