If I said fennel salad, what would you say?

Fennel and walnut salad2 Servings

Believe it or not my refrigerator is empty most of the time. The reason is twofold.

Firstly, my conversion to a culinary life is relatively recent. Five years ago, I could not care less about cooking, so my trips to the grocery stores were a matter of mere survival. Nowadays, my life in the kitchen is quite different than the way it used to be, but I’m still not capable to buy food for more than two days in a row. The result? Oftentimes I can hear the echo of my own voice inside the refrigerator… 😉

Secondly, I do not like to cook for myself. I do love to cook for other people, though. Stefano travels a lot because of his job and when he is away from home, unless I’m hosting or trying out new recipes, a huge strike sign is on and I live on very basic and, most of the time, uncooked food.

This fennel salad is the perfect example of what I eat when I’m all by myself. It’s light, low on calories and, most importantly, it takes five minutes to make and leaves the kitchen spotless, which is a nice plus for me.

After all, are you always in the mood of spending hours in the kitchen and cleaning up afterwards? If you are, hat’s off to you but I’m just a mere mortal 😉


1 big fennel
3 Tbsp, balsamic vinegar
5 Tbsp, extravirgin olive oil
A handful of walnuts
Ground black pepper


Rinse the bulb of the fennel with water, dry it and, on a chopping board, cut the stalks and fronds off the bulb. Discard the outer layer. Cut the bulb in half from top to bottom, slice the flat side of
each half thinly and evenly with a mandolin and place the slices on the salad plates.

In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper (to taste) and keep whisking for one minute.

Spread the walnuts on the fennel slices and pour the dressing on the salad, spreading it out evenly.

Ta-dah: les jeux sont faits! 😉


About Francesca

I am a cook and the founder and art director of Flora's Table, the fine cooking and wine blog. Check us out at www.florastable.com :-)
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51 Responses to If I said fennel salad, what would you say?

  1. mmmarzipan says:

    I’d say “yum” judging by that photo and recipe! 😉 Sounds so simple!

  2. This is truly lovely,Francesca! Simply elegant.
    With all the cooking I do,I am NEVER in the mood to clean up! I learned at my mother’s elbow and was basically her scullery maid.WHEN I get comfortable money-wise, my first splurge is on a maid.
    (Two-days of food? Yes, you need my current series on emergency preparedness!)

  3. Darya says:

    I’d say “Mi piace”! I love fennel and have never tried it with balsamic vinegar or walnuts, but I cannot imagine myself not liking it!

  4. This is exactly my type of meal Francesca! Although I like trying to bake things, by typical dinner is pretty simple and easy to clean up! What more could a girl want! 🙂

  5. I would say: When can I come over? Love fennel salad!!

  6. I would say: I have some fennel in my fridge right now and was wondering what to do with it. (I made fennel and tomato soup with the rest of it.) This will be perfect. Grazie

  7. Gorgeous shoes and purse? The plate is beautiful too! 😀
    I love the ambiance of the photo… but when there is food, the answer of course is, may I start eating? 😛

  8. I would say yes, I would love some of that salad. I’m with you, I rarely cook for myself but I love cooking for others. The only cooking I do is for the blog or when I have guests. When it’s just me it’s either uncooked fare or something quick and no fuss. I agree the shoes and purse are beautiful as is that salad.

  9. Francesca, I would say yes. Although I love to cook I also like food that is easy to prepare, baked eggs with a green salad would be my go to simple meal. I actually think an empty fridge and shopping more often are good ideas, as there is much less waste that way and much like it’s easier to spot an outfit in an uncrowded wardrobe (closet) so too it’s easier to find a delicious simple meal in an uncluttered fridge. BTY I love the shoes and the bag. And some time soon I must get around to decluttering my wardrobe! 😉

    • Francesca says:

      I agree! Nothing get wasted. However, this means several trips to the grocery store which is a kind of pain in the neck. I still prefer to go shoe shopping! 😉

  10. ChgoJohn says:

    I say, “I wish I had seen this before I left for Zia’s.” She would have loved this!!! Next time. 🙂

  11. alisitaliankitchen says:

    This looks delicious! I have just recently started using fennel and it can be used so many different ways! And it’s good for you too!

  12. While the fennel salad looks absolutely delicious, I really love those red shoes in the picture too!! 😀

  13. Simple and a great way to let the flavour of one of my fab veg sing, and refreshing too, thanks!

  14. I laughed at your ‘strike’ sign. I too can’t be bothered to cook for one or to be more precise I don’t like doing the washing up for just one. This looks and sounds a wonderful recipe. Your plate is really beautiful.

  15. je dirais “hum !…”… j’adore le fenouil, cru et cuit !

  16. Dear Flora,
    my fridge is always empty – well, except when Dina is here. Thanks for the recipe and GREAT I have got so much fennel in my garden. I like the arrangement of the picture, very stylish, isn`t it?!
    I wish you and Stefano a happy weekend
    Klausbernd 🙂

  17. Dina says:

    Wow, I’d say takk, tusen takk, jeg vil gjerne ha mer! Looks gorgoeus, reads easy….I’m sure it’s very yummy. Bravo, very classy photo!

  18. gotasté says:

    I am going to love this so much. It’s my type of food. Minimum ingredients but whole lot of natural flavours. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  19. Ahh this is totally one of those things that is great super simple like youve made it. Hai fatto brava!

  20. laurasmess says:

    You and Stefano make such a great pair. I love his wine suggestions and photos… and your recipes are always gorgeous. I love the simplicity of this salad. I’d definitely say (in consistency with the theme!) “Yes please!”, but I’d need a big hunk of meat or potato next to it (I eat quite a bit, for someone who resembles a plank. I think this would make me immediately happy but I’d be hungry again an hour later). As for cooking? Ah, there’s nothing I like better than an afternoon cooking by myself. But I’m equally happy, when tired, to eat a large bowl of something really simple like a tuna salad. Preferably with a glass of wine 😉 x

    • Francesca says:

      Laura, sorry it took me so long. Thank you so much for your lovely words. Good for you! It means that you really pay attention about what you eat and I’m sure it shows. 🙂

      • laurasmess says:

        Aw, no pressure for you to respond to these things Francesca! I just wanted to tell you what I thought, that’s all 🙂 Thank you for the reply though! x

  21. That’s similar to what I do, too, when I’m alone. Tonight I went with a simple bowl of fresh mesclun greens from the farmer’s market–just like your recipe, except with greens instead of fennel. (My husband calls it lawn-mower clippings, but I love it!) I don’t know why it hasn’t occurred to me to sprinkle balsamic on my fennel salad. I’ve been using lemon juice, salt & pepper & the tiniest pinch of sugar, drizzled with EVOO. Next time I’m going to try it your way. Thanks for the idea.

  22. Karen says:

    I’d love your salad with a side of heels and purse, please. 🙂

  23. Fig & Quince says:

    I mean … why didn’t I think of this? What a simple and perfect gathering of ingredients! Bravo. Love fennel, love walnuts, and pretty much live on salad – safe to say think this will be on frequent rotations chez moi.

  24. Francesca says:

    Thank you so much! Sometimes, we get lost into such complicated dishes and tend to forget the simpler the better. 🙂

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