Fun with Fennel

fun with fennel fronds

My mom recently raved about an unrecognizable white vegetable she’d found in her salad. She described it as crunchy with a slight hint of licorice, so my mind immediately went to fennel. Its leaves are considered an herb, while its large white bulb is treated like a vegetable. Quick tip: if you’ve gone gluten-free or paleo and are missing your crunchy croutons, slices of a crisp vegetable like fennel or celery add texture and unique taste to salads.

fun with fennel blackberry salad dressing

If vegetables had cliques, fennel would be an outsider who sat in the corner, perpetually scribbling in a mysterious notebook. Like that quiet, vaguely artistic kid from high school fennel tends to be either unknown or polarizing: you’ve never heard of it, you love it, or you don’t want it anywhere near your plate. I made this arugula salad featuring fennel and blackberries for our Mother’s Day celebration, and thankfully my family discovered a shared love for fennel. Must be genetic.

fennel salad maple mustard dressing

Arugula is my favorite lettuce (food nerd alert: I have a favorite lettuce). I eat a lot of spinach, so arugula’s unique peppery flavor is a refreshing change once it comes in season. I added a handful of juicy blackberries, a sprinkling of roughly chopped fennel bulb, and a few fennel fronds. Arugula is in the same family as mustard, so I thought a faintly sweet mustard-maple dressing would tie this salad together.

fennel arugula salad blackberries maple mustard dressing
Arugula & Fennel Salad serves 4

a big bowl of arugula
1/2 cup blackberries
2-inch section of fennel bulb, core removed, roughly chopped
optional: fennel fronds for garnish

Maple Mustard Dressing

1 tablespoon light olive oil
1 tablespoon organic dijon mustard
2 teaspoons organic, Grade B maple syrup
freshly ground black pepper

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with maple mustard dressing and enjoy.

Want more real foods recipes? Check out more paleo recipes on Jaybird!

  • Eileen Mulloy

    We’re getting fennel and arugula in our CSA next week and I’m totally going to make this! A is obsessed with blackberries so he’ll love this! And yes, I’m lurking on our blog at 10:30PM on a Friday. What’s up…

    • Alicia Jay

      Arugula is my absolute favorite! Lucky girl. I hope you like the salad- and also, I was definitely watching bad TV on Friday night. This blog is a no judgment zone!

  • Sarah | For the Love of Chow

    That dressing!! Those photos! I’m all about this recipe. Putting into the must-try list immediately! I better hurry, fennel is almost done here!!

    • Alicia Jay

      Thanks Sarah! I hope you love it. I had a lot of fun trying something new with my family, and it was wonderful to have a deck for picture-taking and outdoor meals.

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  • MrsVonH

    I detest mustard but am in LOOOOOVE with this dressing! Kudos to you

    • Alicia | Jaybird Blog

      Woohoo! I’m so glad to hear that. Thank you for commenting to let me know; I love hearing when people make and enjoy the recipes.

  • Lisa Howell

    This was the best salad dressing I have ever eaten, anywhere. It was fantastic! Even my “I only eat ranch dressing” husband loved it! Thank you for such an awesome recipe.

    • Alicia | Jaybird Blog

      Thank you so much! I am really happy to hear that and I hope you guys keep enjoying the dressing. :)