Fennel & Orange Salad

Recipe 20 minPreparation Time 0 minCooking Time
Fennel & Orange Salad

Fennel & Orange Salad

20 minPreparation Time 0 min Cooking Time

About this Recipe

This salad uses a technique, popular in Japan, of kneading thinly sliced vegetables in a little salt to soften and season them. The result is still fresh and bright, but with an appealing tenderness and depth of flavor. The salt penetrates the vegetables, pulling water out of their cells and enhancing their taste. As a result, you may not need to add salt at the end when you dress the salad. Let your taste be your guide in this regard.

The Benefits

Fennel and oranges are both excellent sources of fiber; fennel can improve digestion and may reduce menstrual cramps. Oranges are antioxidant powerhouses, with famously high levels of vitamin C.


Serves 4
  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 1/2 of a medium yellow onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 handful (5 g) of flat-leaf Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (5 g) fennel fronds, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp orange zest

For the vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, grated finely
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt (if needed)


  1. Step 1
    Cut the stalks off the fennel (if it has them) just below the point where the first leaves emerge. Set aside the leafy upper stalks. Cut the fennel in half vertically. At the base of each half, make two angled cuts to remove the solid core. Slice the fennel thinly, crosswise to the grain (perpendicular to the direction of the stalks). If you use a mandolin, make sure to use the hand guard at all times, and pay attention. Peel the onion, making the same angled cuts to remove the dense core at its base. Cut the onion into thin slices.
  2. Step 2
    Put the fennel and onion slices in a bowl that easily holds them, sprinkle in the salt, and mix everything well so the salt spreads evenly. Using your hands, begin gently kneading the mixture, grabbing and squeezing and stirring, until the vegetables start to release water. Continue for a few minutes until a clenched fistful drips readily, then transfer the mixture to a strainer and rinse it well under cold water. Squeeze as much water out as you can, or use a salad spinner, and return the mostly dry vegetables to the (rinsed and dried) mixing bowl. Add in the parsley, fennel fronds, and orange zest and mix well.
  3. Step 3
    In a bowl, whisk the oil and vinegar with the garlic, mustard, 3 to 5 grinds of black pepper, and orange juice to make a vinaigrette. Add about a third of it to the fennel and onion mixture and toss everything together. Taste it for seasoning, adding more dressing if desired. (The remaining dressing can be stored in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1 week.) If it needs salt or vinegar, add some, and maybe a little more pepper, toss the whole thing again, and serve.

Try It With: Cauliflower with Penne & Pepperoncini

Substitutions: Any thinly-sliced firm vegetable (like carrot, cabbage, jicama, or kohlrabi) can benefit from this sort of preparation

Zero Waste: Fennel core, upper stalks, onion core and peel: add to stock. Fennel fronds: save and use as an herb