Fennel Tsukemono

Recipe 10 minPreparation Time 0 minCooking Time

Fennel Tsukemono

10 minPreparation Time 0 min Cooking Time

About this Recipe

This Japanese quick-pickling method leverages the power of salt to quickly change the flavor and texture of vegetables, transforming them into something more than raw: silky and tender yet still crunchy and fresh, and eager to soak up the tangy dressing.

The Benefits

Fennel is full of fiber and vitamins, sesame seeds are intensely nutritious, and raw vinegar adds a probiotic component. Having a fabulous dish like this on the table for every meal is one of the easiest ways to get more plants into your diet.


Serves for 4 to 6 as a pickle/salad
  • 2 bulbs of fennel
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon (30 ml) rice or cider vinegar
  • 1 scallion bulb and a few inches of green, sliced thinly on the bias
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon (3 g) minced fennel fronds


  1. Step 1
    Slice the fennel into thin sheets using a mandoline (always use the hand guard!) and put the slices in a bowl. Add the salt and toss the fennel slices well so they all get covered. Begin gently kneading and squeezing the fennel with your hand. The slices will get shiny and slick, and soon begin dripping water. When a clenched fist of fennel slices gushes freely, give them a few more squeezes and move them to a strainer. Rinse them well, squeezing a few more times under cold running water, until they no longer taste particularly salty.
  2. Step 2
    Put the fennel in a salad spinner and dry it as much as possible, then move it to a clean bowl. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour them over the fennel, tossing well. Let this sit for half an hour if you can, then transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the sesame seeds and fronds, and serve.

Substitutions: Any root or firm vegetable takes beautifully to this method, including slivered onions

Level Up: Garnish this with homemade shichimi togarashi

Zero Waste: Save the salty fennel water to use in sauerkraut or kimchi. Add the scallion greens, too!