Fennel and Lentil Salad

fennellentil
fennellentil

I have gone kind of banana's for fennel. This crisp, crunchy, subtly anise flavored bulb of a vegetable is just a delight, for your tastebuds, and your health. So imagine my delight when my friend Jennie from Peregrine Farm, brought over a big banging bag of veggies (because she is awesome), and in it were multiple fennel bulbs! Fennel is a healing food that does wonders for the digestion, as well as the super star organs like your kidney, liver, and lungs. I find that eating more fennel, and drinking teas infused with fennel, really do wonders for any sort of bloating experience as a result of eating. I love to incorporate raw fennel into a salad with a simple mix of baby greens and a pungent mustard-y dressing.  A fennel salad after a heav-ier meal is a really great idea if you want to cleanse your palate a beat the bloat. I find the subtle fennel flavor surprising, in a refreshing way!

fennel
fennel

If you don't enjoy that anise flavor, but still want to reap the benefits of fennel--not to fret! Lightly cooking fennel drastically reduces the licorice-like flavor, yet retains the bulbs tantalizing attributes. When considering cooking fennel, think of it like celery, both in texture and cooking approach. A light sauté in olive oil is delicious, using it in soups and stews like you would celery would work as well. For this recipe I chose to braise the fennel with olive oil,  balsamic vinegar and a hearty handful of leeks-(also courtesy of the aforementioned banging bag of veggies).

The balsamic added a sweet and earthy flavor to the fennel, and the lentils, that I found to be delicious. You could definitely turn this salad in a different direction by dressing with a mustard and olive oil based dressing, or even going the indian curry flavored route. It's up to you, but if you like balsamic, give this version a try.

Ingredients:

3 cups brown or green lentils, cooked

2 fennel bulbs and stalks, chopped (reserve the fronds)

2 leeks, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 tomatoes or about 1 1/2 Cups, diced

1/2 cucumber, chopped

1 spring onion, chopped

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1/2 cup Olive Oil (approximately--use to taste)

1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar (approximately--use to taste)

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions: 

1. You will want your lentils to be cooked already, so if they are not, get that going on! Lentils don't need to soak, so you can cover them in about an inch of water and cook until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Once cooked, rinse and add to a serving bowl.

2. Warm a frying pan and add about 1-2 Tablespoons of the olive oil and the chopped fennel. Let sautéfor about 3minutes on medium heat. Add a pinch of sea salt and cook for about 2 minute more.

3. Add the chopped leeks to the pan and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until the leeks are quite tender.

4. Stir in about half of the balsamic into the pan, and make sure to coat all the veggies. Cover and let cook for 7-10 minutes. I prefer my veggies to be pretty firm, so I only braised for about 7 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, thinly slice the carrots and chop the tomatoes, spring onion, cucumber, and parsley. Add to the bowl with the lentils and gently mix.

6. When cooked to your liking, remove the fennel and leek mixture from the heat and Add  to the lentil mixture.

7. Add the remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to the salad. Combine, and add more of any as you see fit!

8. Finely chop some of the fennel fronds and sprinkle on top of the salad, and/or use for garnish.

To Serve:

Salad is tasty served at room temperature, or slightly chilled.

Make it a meal  by:

  • Serving in a pita
  • Wrapped in chard or a steamed collard greens
  • Served over rice or quinoa
  • Mixed with orzo pasta
  • Tossed with feta cheese or parmesan shavings

Enjoy!

Fennel and Lentil Salad

Author:

Denise

Ingredients

  • 3 cups brown or green lentils, cooked
  • 2 fennel bulbs and stalks, chopped (reserve the fronds)
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes or about 1 1/2 Cups, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil (approximately--use to taste)
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar (approximately--use to taste)
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. You will want your lentils to be cooked already, so if they are not, get that going on! Lentils don't need to soak, so you can cover them in about an inch of water and cook until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Once cooked, rinse and add to a serving bowl.
  2. Warm a frying pan and add about 1-2 Tablespoons of the olive oil and the chopped fennel. Let saute for about 3minutes on medium heat. Add a pinch of sea salt and cook for about 2 minute more.
  3. Add the chopped leeks to the pan and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until the leeks are quite tender.
  4. Stir in about half of the balsamic into the pan, and make sure to coat all the veggies. Cover and let cook for 7-10 minutes. I prefer my veggies to be pretty firm, so I only braised for about 7 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, thinly slice the carrots and chop the tomatoes, spring onion, cucumber, and parsley. Add to the bowl with the lentils and gently mix.
  6. When cooked to your liking, remove the fennel and leek mixture from the heat and Add to the lentil mixture.
  7. Add the remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to the salad. Combine, and add more of any as you see fit!
  8. Finely chop some of the fennel fronds and sprinkle on top of the salad, and/or use for garnish.

Notes

Salad is tasty served at room temperature, or slightly chilled.

Make it a meal by serving in a pita

Wrapped in chard or a steamed collard greens served over rice or quinoa

Mixed with orzo pasta tossed with feta cheese or parmesan shavings

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