This White Bean Fennel Salad is a great side dish. Crunchy fennel, tender white beans, and sharp Romano cheese go great with the creamy garlic-lemon dressing. I promise you'll be reaching for seconds!
Fennel for salads
Oh fennel. You are such an underrated vegetable. You sit there in the produce section of the grocery store next to the cabbage, celery, kale. Everyone overlooks you. A lot of people don't know what to do with you. What's this weird celery thing??
If you've ever had fennel you can vouch for its awesomeness. It has such a great crunch and fennel salad is a great alternative to cole slaw. It has a subtle anise flavor, but without being overpowering. In fact, I don't even like anise and I love fennel.
Next time you're in the grocery store, I urge you to slow down and look for this wonderful bulb instead of immediately reaching for your go-to vegetables. Give this White Bean Fennel Salad a shot.
Related recipe: Chickpea Salad with Feta
How to prepare this White Bean Fennel Salad
This fennel salad recipe couldn't be simpler. You start by making the dressing - just mix fresh garlic and lemon juice together and let it marinate. While the garlic infuses its flavor into the lemon juice, you prepare the salad: thinly slice the fennel, open and drain a can of beans, dice the scallion and fresh herbs.
Next step is to finish the dressing by stirring in some mayonnaise, and mix all the ingredients together. Don't forget to add freshly shaved Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese!
Related recipe: Chickpea Pea Shoot Salad
I absolutely love crunchy salads instead of leafy salads. Things like cole slaw and zoodle salads are right up my alley. So that's exactly why I love fennel salads: they're healthy, tasty, and so fun to eat thanks to the crunch.
Fennel salads don't get soggy if you leave them overnight. In fact, I sometimes find that they taste even BETTER the next day because the flavors do wonderful things in the fridge overnight.
If you like fennel, you'll LOVE my other fennel salad recipe: the 4 Ingredient Fennel Salad with Dill. It's loaded with fresh dill, crunchy fennel, and yummy Parmesan cheese right in the dressing. It is just as addicting as this White Bean Fennel Salad. I really can't tell you which of these two is my favorite, I love them both and both fennel salads make a regular appearance at our dinner table.
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White Bean Fennel Salad
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (from ½ lemon)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 fennel bulb
- 1 scallion , diced
- 2 tablespoons parsley leaves , diced
- 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 cup cooked white beans , such as navy or great northern
- salt & freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- ¼ cup freshly shredded or thinly sliced Parmesan or Romano cheese
- In a medium bowl, combine the minced garlic and lemon juice (reserve the lemon zest for later!). Set aside while you prepare the salad.
- Thinly slice the fennel bulb. (Detailed instructions for how to do this: Remove the upper stems from the fennel bulb and discard or save these for soup or broth. Cut the bottom "root" part off the fennel bulb and discard. Slice the fennel bulb in half from the top, and carve out the center stem. Thinly slice the layers of the fennel bulb).
- Combine the sliced fennel, lemon zest, diced scallion, diced parsley leaves, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, white beans, and the garlic-lemon juice mixture. Mix well and season with salt and pepper, to taste (a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper will do!). Add 1 more tablespoon of mayonnaise, if desired (you might need this if you have a large fennel bulb). Gently stir in the shredded or sliced Parmesan or Romano cheese. Serve immediately or keep chilled in the refrigerator up to 24 hours before serving.