This Sicilian Style Fennel Salad is light, refreshing, sweet, and savory all in one. The combination of fennel, sweet navel oranges, red onions, and fresh mint along with extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt will make you feel like you are eating this delicious salad in Sicily. Not to mention, it is beautiful and full of vibrant colors. It is the perfect side for this summer weather: no cooking required. This simple and refreshing salad can be prepared in no time in the comfort of your own home!
All about fennel: especially if you don’t think you like it!
Fennel is a unique vegetable, and it’s not typically used frequently in many American households. People sometimes are turned off by the notes of licorice in fennel, but when prepared correctly, it offers an amazing flavor.
I often advise people that if they think they do not like fennel, to either try this salad, or try roasting fennel. Both recipes are sure to change your mind.
Fennel is the star of the show in this Sicilian Style Fennel Salad and it a delicious ingredient that can be cooked in so many different ways. This vegetable has an anise taste to it, which is why a lot of people say the taste is similar to licorice. When mixed with other sweet ingredients, the flavors pair together perfectly.
All parts of the fennel are edible, but the stalks are a bit rough and not often used in many dishes. The most delicious parts of fennel are the base and the fronds. The bulb has overlapping leaves that are full of flavor and are crunchy when eaten raw which adds a nice texture. The fronds of the fennel are lighter in flavor than the bulb, but serve as a wonderful garnish.
When you are purchasing fennel, look for one that is heavy in weight, and has a smooth outer layer. If fennel is heavy, it is an indication that it has a lot of moisture inside. This is important because the juices are driven out of the vegetable when it is sitting with the kosher salt and is later used as a component of the dressing for the salad.
What ingredients are in this Sicilian Style Fennel Salad?
- navel orange
- red onion
- fresh mint
- kosher salt
- extra virgin olive oil
If you are not a fan of mint, fresh basil would be the best replacement for this salad (that’s what I used here!). The herbs and navel oranges pair perfectly with the fennel for a salad, with a bright and refreshing flavor. The ingredients in this Sicilian Style Fennel Salad are simple and work together to make a delicious light meal or side dish.
How to make Sicilian Style Fennel Salad
Prepping the fennel
Not only is this dish so beautiful and flavorful, but it is also easy to make. The first step to making this Sicilian style fennel salad is washing the fennel and removing the fronds (which is the greenery on top of the bulb). Chop up two tablespoons of the fronds and set them aside for later.
For this salad, I peel the fennel rather than chopping it. I prefer this salad to have thin ribbons of fennel throughout it; it makes the salad easier to eat, and allows the flavors and dressing to permeate the fennel. It is more difficult to eat large chunks of fennel than it is to eat thin ribbons of it.
To get these thin ribbons of fennel, I use a potato peeler. You can also use a mandolin to thinly slice the entire fennel bulb. Place the thinly sliced fennel in a bowl and toss it with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Let the fennel and kosher salt sit for at least an hour to allow the juices to be pulled from the fennel. This will help create a dressing with the other ingredients. This is the key to this salad; the fennel and the salt naturally create the perfect base to build a dressing on.
The other ingredients
While the fennel and salt are resting, prepare the rest of the ingredients for the salad.
Start by zesting, peeling, and cutting the navel orange into segments. Then, thinly slice 1/4 of a medium red onion and chop 2 tablespoons of fresh mint or basil.
After the fennel and salt have been set aside for at least an hour, mix it with the red onion, orange segments, orange zest, mint, fennel fronds, and extra virgin olive oil.
This fennel salad is super easy to make and the flavors make it taste like it is straight from a Sicilian restaurant.
Sicilian Style Fennel Salad
- 1 bulb fennel
- 1 navel orange zested, peeled and cut into segments
- 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons mint fresh, or basil, if preferred - chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Wash the fennel and remove the fronds (the fronds are the greenery on top).
- Chop up 2 tablespoons of the fronds and set aside. Using a potato peeler or mandolin, thinly slice the entire fennel bulb and place into a bowl, tossed with the salt.
- Set aside for a minimum of an hour. This releases the juices from the fennel and will help create a dressing with the other ingredients.
- Toss the fennel with the onion, orange segments, orange zest, mint, fronds, and the oil.
- 1 WW point (all plans)
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