Fennel Slaw with Mint Vinaigrette

If you are firing up the grill this summer with fish or seafood, consider this fennel slaw as a fresh alternative to regular cabbage coleslaw to serve as a side. Even my father, who runs from fennel as if it were carrying plague, thoroughly enjoys this salad. Oddly, the naturally pronounced licorice taste of fennel is strongly muted by the vinaigrette, so only a hint comes through, and it is well balanced with the mint, shallots, and mustard.

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Fennel Slaw with Mint Vinaigrette Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6.

The sugar helps bring out the natural sweetness of the fennel, don't leave out!

Ingredients

  • 1 large fennel bulb (or 2 medium bulbs)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallot or onion

Method

1 Make the vinaigrette. Put the lemon juice, shallot, mustard, salt, sugar and mint in a blender and pulse briefly to combine. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until it is well combined.

2 Using a mandoline, shave the fennel into 1/8 inch slices starting from the bottom of the bulb. Don't worry about coring the fennel bulb, it's unnecessary. If you don’t have a mandoline, slice the bulb as thin as you can. Chop some of the fennel fronds as well to toss in with the salad.

3 Toss with the fennel and marinate for at least an hour. Serve this salad either cold or at room temperature.

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Links:

Beet and fennel salad from Lydia of The Perfect Pantry
Orange and fennel salad from Pille of Nami Nami
Warm beef and shaved fennel salad from Marc of No Recipes

fennel-salad-mint-vinaigrette-b.jpg

23 Comments

  1. Gwen

    I make a version of this and toss it with orange supremes just before serving. Very pretty and very good with fish.

  2. Chris

    HUGE fan of fennel, since I was a kid. My grandma used to give us quarters of the bulb to gnaw on. Little did I know then that acts as a mood relaxer….natural adderall if you will.

    Love the combo of flavors here! Can’t wait to try.

    Natural mood relaxer? That’s a new one! Cool. ~Elise

  3. jonathan

    As adventurous as I am (aside from Tacos de Lengua ;), fennel is just one item I’ve never prepared a lot. Yet the times I’ve had it, I’ve loved it, I did use it recently here (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Italian-Stuffed-Mushrooms-107837) which now ranks as one of my favorite party foods. I needed a recipe to try it where fennel shined a little more, and yours looks great. Hey – have fun and ‘memorialize’ something this weekend, Elise.

  4. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    I think the mandoline is the key. I love fennel when it’s thinly shaved like this — which you can really only do with a mandoline, even a small Japanese plastic one — and marinated a bit with some acidic dressing. When it’s cut thicker, I’m not as crazy about it. I love the combination with mint here, and the mint in my garden has just reached cutting length.

  5. Steve-Anna

    Oh, I love this recipe! Not being a big fan of cabbage, I rarely eat slaw even though I like the texture and many of the (non-cabbage) flavors.

    Fennel and mint are two of my favorites, so I can’t wait to try this!

    PS: You say your dad doesn’t like this, or he doesn’t like that (prawns, fennel), but it seems like he ends up eating pretty much everything you post – with gusto!

    I know, weird, eh? But he did just push something back to me that he said had too much rosemary in it (another flavor he’s not too keen on). And he loves Italian sausage, where the primary spice is fennel seeds, so who knows? Just don’t mention the word fennel around him or he’ll make a face. ~Elise

  6. Teresa

    I tried this recipe last night, and everyone liked it. I’m always looking for new ways to serve veggies. I had never tried raw fennel this way and was pleased that the licorice flavor was quite subtle and blended well with the other flavors.

    The vinaigrette was particularly good and I’ll probably be trying it soon on other veggies like sliced carrots or a bag of the rainbow slaw that they sell at the grocery store (shredded broccoli and cauliflower stems with a bit of red cabbage).

  7. Steve-Anna

    Is it just me, or did you have a *huge* fennel bulb when you made this? I made it today and there was so much dressing I shaved another fennel bulb so that it wouldn’t be overdressed, or, that the vinaigrette would not be wasted. Even still, there is a lot of dressing still lurking at the bottom of the bowl.

    Can you estimate how much shaved fennel (say, in cups) you ended up with?

    It’s still marinating, so I’ll have to report back on taste! Can’t wait.

    Yes, as a matter of fact we did! We also used some of the dressing for a marinade. So I’ve adjusted the recipe and cut the dressing ingredients in half. Thanks! ~Elise

  8. Dave

    I’m working on this recipe now and I was surprised that there isn’t vinegar in the ingredient list. I was really expecting some rice-wine vinegar. It still tastes good, I’m just a little confused since it’s not what I’m used to making for this type of dish.

    The “vinegar” acid is coming from the lemon juice. ~Elise

  9. Elizabeth E.

    We ate this today with our Memorial Day dinner and it was delicious. It complimented, as sort of a relish in some ways, the rest of the meal we were having (grilled spiced chicken, corn on the cob, tossed green salad and lemony potato salad).

    I used two medium fennel bulbs (also sold as Anise in the grocery store), and it was the right amount of vinaigrette.

    You’ve got another winner here! Thanks for your great recipes.

    Great! So happy to hear it. ~Elise

  10. Leah

    Elise,

    This was my first time trying fennel! I don’t like licorice, so I was a bit hesitant, but I am an adventurous foodie and love to cook and try new foods so I thought…what the heck! I made this for our Memorial barbeque and put it out with regular slaw as well. I my surprise, all of the women at the barbeque thought this was the bee’s knees! The men thought it was terrible! Maybe they just weren’t as adventurous as the ladies! I will definitely be making it again. I agree with Teresa that there was a bit too much dressing. I had the rest today for lunch and had to pour away the dressing to keep from dripping it on me at work. Next time, if I have a small bulb of fennel, I will cut the dressing by half.

  11. Susan

    This is an inspired recipe! I agree with the person who said that shaving the fennel will make a big difference in the outcome–this time I sliced it as thinly as possible and it was still very good. I can’t wait to try it tomorrow after it’s laid around in the fridge for a bit.

  12. Stéphanie

    Bonjour de Nantes!

    I have suscribed to your newsletter for a while now, but it was the first time I had been trying one of your recipes… and what a blast !! Everybody loved it!! The vinaigrette recipe is great for any other salad!
    Thanks for you time and generosity !!

    Keep going !!:))

    Stéphanie

  13. leigh

    Hi Elise, just wanted to say this fennel slaw is my new favourite salad! I don’t usually follow salad recipes to the tee but I did for the mint vinaigrette and it was amazing!! So fresh and tasty and the sugar was a good call. Thanks so much!

    So glad you liked it! ~Elise

  14. linda

    So Delicious! Light and refreshing, great with
    fish……

    any recipes for salmon and fennel? braised maybe?

    thanks so much!

  15. Stephanie

    I made this with some grilled salmon for dinner and for a family BBQ. Everyone LOVES this dish! It is a wonderfully fresh take on the traditional slaw. Thanks so much!

  16. Steve-Anna

    OK, so I made it again and I just have to ask – is it dried mustard, or mustard from a jar? I think both times I made it with dry mustard because it didn’t occur to me, but now it did.

    Enquiring minds want to know… ; )

    PS: Still love it!!!

    Great question! Mustard from a jar. :-) ~Elise

  17. Allison

    I’ve made this several times, and it is always a huge hit. We especially like it served on top of or with roasted salmon. My husband will eat it out of the bowl. It’s that addictive! And, it’s super easy to make. A real winner :)

  18. Charlene

    I really like this on its own but as I was eating lunch today I decided to put it on my fork with some fresh pineapple. Wow! Thanks, Elise. I’ll be making this again for sure.

  19. Norma

    Tried your fennel slaw. Absolutely delicious. I added a wee bit more sugar and next time may try about a teaspoon extra.
    O, and I’ll remember to tripple the recipe. I ate about half of it (just tasting of course) before I even served it.

  20. s

    quick and easy. I liked it. thanks.

  21. Tomasina

    Absolutely loved this way to use the 3 small fennel bulbs I had rec’d in my CSA box! I have apple mint in my herb garden and I may have increased the amount just a bit since I love it so much. I also decreased the sugar by half because I try to add as little as possible. I didn’t have fresh shallots so used Penzey’s dried shallot flakes (still 2 tsp). Thanks so much for this recipe as it was fantastic!

  22. Paul LaPine

    Nice recipe with a nice contrast of flavor, I cut down on the olive oil and finished with a little orange oil then tossed with pickled red onion, baby arugula, oak leak and raddishes matchsticks. Paul

  23. Megan Messersmith

    Perfect! I hated fennel the first time I made it. I roasted it and was just overwhelmed with that flavor. But this recipe I really like!

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