This shaved fennel salad recipe is substantial, vegetarian, and an antidote to every sad side salad that ever was. Instead of meh greens, it’s got thinly sliced fennel that bends and twists but keeps its refreshing crunch. It sports nuggets of deeply toasted croutons, meaty walnuts (or pecans), and shards of Parmesan cheese that balance fresh fennel’s soft anise and licorice flavors. And just in case you were worried about palate fatigue, it gets a double dose of acidity and zing—courtesy of fresh lemon juice and a vinaigrette amped up with fresh garlic, red pepper flakes, and bright lemon zest.
Like many winter salads, some prep is required, but it can all be done while you’re roasting a chicken. If you don’t have a mandoline, you’ll want to use a sharp knife to cut the raw fennel as close to paper-thin slices as possible (do not try this with a vegetable peeler). Don’t throw away the fennel fronds; a few sprinkled on top make an excellent garnish.
Love fennel? Try a roasted fennel gratin with crispy bread crumbs, a shaved fennel salad with red onions on an open-face steak sandwich, or pair it with pork tenderloin dressed in a sweet-and-sour sauce, inspired by Italian agrodolce.