This fennel Caesar salad works in the summer, winter, fall, or spring! It’s a super easy recipe to make for a crowd, or for two.
If you have never cooked with fennel, don’t be intimidated! Trimming fennel seems harder than it actually is. Once you do it the first time, you’ll realize how easy the process can be and will be making different fennel dishes every night of the week! Why? It is so versatile and can be used in many different ways: Use fennel when making soups or stocks, roast it (maybe even with parmesan), or eat it raw in a salad, like this Fennel Caesar Salad!
The flavors change when you cook it, going from a light, bright, and crispy anise-licorice flavor to a sweet, caramelized, and mild licorice flavor. I stress the words light and mild; I hate black licorice but I LOVE fennel – you can barely taste the licorice.
Fennel is one of those underrated vegetables that people rarely use at home. I hope this Fennel Caesar Salad helps make this vegetable less intimidating, but more importantly makes you fall in love with fennel.
What Should You Serve This With?
While this salad is great on its own, you can also add grilled chicken, salmon, or shrimp. This will make it more of a meal rather than a side.
Are you vegetarian? Quinoa or chickpeas would work well here, too!
- Caesar Dressing – If you do not want to take the time to make my recipe, you can definitely use your favorite store-bought Caesar Dressing instead!
- Pecans – If you are allergic to or hate pecans, you can definitely use another type of nut or seed instead. The nuts add a really nice crunch to the salad.
- Bosc Pear – I love using Bosc pears in this salad, but you can use whatever pear you find at your local grocery store if they don’t have Bosc.
- Anchovy – If you absolutely hate anchovies, you can leave them out. But I think they’re essential to a caesar dressing, and the other ingredients round out the anchovy flavor well.
Fennel Caesar Salad with Pears and Toasted Pecans
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Small Pan
- Food processor or Blender
Ingredients for the Salad:
- 2 large fennel bulbs
- 6 tablespoons Caesar Dressing
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped pecans
- ½ Bosc pear skin on, diced medium
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the Salad:
- Take each fennel bulb and cut off the green stalks at the top, right where they meet the fennel bulb. Remove the feathery fronds and set them aside. Discard the stalks. Peel away any dirty outer pieces of fennel and then trim the root at the base. Then cut the fennel in half vertically. Take a small paring knife and cut out the triangular root and discard. Dice the fennel into 1/3-inch-sized pieces.
- Place the fennel into a large bowl and toss with the Caesar Dressing. Let sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, toast the pecans. Place the pecans in a small sauté pan and set over medium heat. Toast for about 3 minutes stirring frequently until they are slightly darker and smell toasty. Set aside and cool completely. Remove from the pan.
- Mix the toasted pecans, pears, salt, and freshly ground black pepper into the bowl with the fennel and dressing. Take the reserved fennel fronds and roughly chop enough to make 1 ½ tablespoons. Add them to the salad. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Garnish with more whole fennel fronds and serve.