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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Baby Greens with Sprouts, Daikon and Fennel

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IMG_7750

There is nothing I love more than a big old bowl full of salad! Salads are an excellent addition to any diet, I like to recommend a salad a day as a great way to get loads of fiber, antioxidants, and chlorophyll in one fell swoop.

A fresh green salad is also a nice palate cleanser at the end of a meal, so try shaking things up and serving the salad--LAST. Great for digestion and to freshen the breath. This salad especially is a boon for digestions, specifically because of all the fennel. Fennel is great for digestion, reducing bloat, it's a liver cleanser, and just stupendous all around. Plus,  it is all over the farmers markets right now.

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Green leafy’s—the more the merrier.

Spring is a superb time to go wild with leafy greens. There are so many varieties right now, gorgeous lettuces, spinaches, chards, endless varieties of kales, pea shoots,  tatsoi and bok choy--just to name a few. I like to use a variety of  leafy greens in my salads for a couple of reasons. For one, it is nice to use a wide variety for the different tastes, textures and nutrients that leafy green provide. For two, I think that using a little bit of this and little bit of that really extends your produce. Most leafy greens will last for a week or more (greens purchased at your farmers market will last two weeks plus!!), and so why not have them all last through the week, by using a pinch of lettuce here and a handful of spinach there.

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Sprouts are simply the best.

Sprouts are a nutritional powerhouse, and given their youthful tenderness, we are able to easily assimilate the nutrients found in sprouts. Sprouts are a phenomenal addition to salads and sandwiches. And add a surprising crunch to light soups as well. I love mung bean sprouts with miso!

Sprouts are also very easy to grow on your own. You simply need some sprouting seeds (I love broccoli, mung beans and lentils), a jar for the sprouts to grow in, and a method for rinsing and draining the sprouts a couple of time a day. I have some nifty little sprouting lids, though cheese cloth would work nicely too.

Maintaining sprouts is also a super fun chore for a child chef in the house. It is fun to watch them grow, the maintenance is pretty manageable (rinse, drain, repeat.), plus what better way to get kids invested in eating them than having them grow them for the whole family. I recommend!

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Ingredients:

A big bunch of Leafy greens—big variety, spinach, baby kale, lettuces, endive, pea shoots, arugula, bok chou, tatsoi, parsley, chard

1 C lentil sprounts, mung bean sprouts

2 stalk celery, chopped

1 C daikon radish, chopped

1 medium sized fennel bulb, chopped. Include stalk and fine leaves too!

1 C purple cabbage, chopped

Dressings:

3 T olive oil

2 T apple cider vinegar

2 T quality mustard

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Mix her all up and enjoy!

Baby Greens with Sprouts, Daikon and Fennel
Author: Denise
Ingredients
  • A big bunch of Leafy greens—big variety, spinach, baby kale, lettuces, endive, pea shoots, arugula, bok chou, tatsoi, parsley, chard
  • 1 C lentil sprounts, mung bean sprouts
  • 2 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 C daikon radish, chopped
  • 1 medium sized fennel bulb, chopped. Include stalk and fine leaves too!
  • 1 C purple cabbage, chopped
  • Dressings:
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T quality mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
Instructions
  1. Lightly chop greens into manageable sized pieces.
  2. Add other chopped ingredients
  3. Mix dressing ingredients together. I like to add to a pint jar and shake vigorously!
  4. Dress and toss salad approximately 30 minutes before serving. The vinegar will soften the more robust leaves in a very tasty way.
  5. Serve and enjoy all those wild and wonderful greens!

Bloody Orange and Beet Salad With Tarragon

This salad is really speaking to my senses—I mean look at it,  this thing is gorgeous! The moodiness  almost seems wrong for spring, but beets are still showing up at the farmers markets and the sweet crispness that comes from the oranges and tarragon makes this one a year round favorite.

Tarragon is a stupendous source of magnesium, iron and zinc. ***Side note—ladies, if it is your lady time eating foods high in mag, iron and zinc is a really really good decision. Not to mention the grounding energy in the beets, which is good when your body is super busy being a lady.

With Tarragon, fresh is best, best, best. It is far more potent eaten fresh. Tarragon is also easy to grow, and it’s delicate silvery green leaves are a feast for the eyes. When acquiring or growing tarragon, go for the French variety. The Russian stuff is a bit bitter and has a slightly different flavor.

This is good made ahead of time so that the juices can all mingle around and get all juicy together.

Feel free to vary the orange varieties to whatever is available for you!

Bloody Orange and Beet Salad With Tarragon

Ingredients:

  • 2 roasted beets
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 2 cava cava oranges
  • 5 satsuma oranges (reserve one for juicing)
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 3 T apple cider vinegar
  • salt
  • 1 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Juice of 1 satsuma orange

Instructions:

  1. Roast Beets: I roast my beets whole. I just pop them on a cookie sheet into a 400 degree oven and cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until tender. Check by poking with a knife or fork.
  2. While beets are roasting, finely slice red onion and place in a dish with apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt, to slightly marinate. Set aside.
  3. Once beets are ready and cool enough to handle, peel them. The peels should slide right off when you rub the beet between your fingers.
  4. Cut up the beets, wither into cubes, or into thin slices. Add all beets to a bowl.
  5. Peel oranges and cut however you like. I like to cut the whole orange in half, splitting the segments, and maybe in half again, depending on the size of the orange. Add oranges to the bowl.
  6. Finely chop the fresh tarragon, and add to the bowl as well.
  7. Add onions, olive oil, and the juice from one satsuma orange.
  8. Stir it all up, to get the juices all mingling together! Serve!

Notes:

Scoop up a spoon-full of these jewels and enjoy! Also delicious served over a green salad, or in a pita with hummus!

 

Roasted Radishes & Balsamic

This recipe combines the radishes, their tops and balsamic in an addictive combination.

Radishes just beg to be popped, and these garlic-y sweet and pungent numbers go fast! Lightly cooking radishes is also a feast for the eyes, because when heated the vibrant red turns a beautiful muted rosy color, which provides a wonderful surprise when served!

Radishes are the bees knees!

Crisp, cool, collected—with a bit of heat, radishes are really a treat. If I'm not growing my own, I love to get my radishes at the famers market, bring them home, and pop them in a bowl with water in the fridge to keep them crisp and fresh (and oh so easy to snack on).

Radishes have lot’s of good vitamin c in them, as well as fiber. Radishes also contain amylase, the enzyme the body uses to digest carbohydrates. The Japanese often add radishes to heavy carbohydrate-filled meals to aid in digestion. I find it fun to pop a few at the close of a meal to cleanse my palette and reap some of the digestive benefits to boot!

Wait, did you say we’re eating the radish tops?

Yes! The leaves have a slight spice to them and are really dang good! Plus…the radish greens contain more calcium, iron and vitamins A and C than the radish itself! For this recipe you wantto get the freshest radishes you can, because the leaves are quick to wilt. Luckily, radishes are all over the farmers market these days, in a startling variety of shapes sizes and colors. When raw, the radish leaves have the slightest prickle to them, but this goes away when sautéing, especially when semi-drowned in olive oil and balsamic vinegar!

Roasted Radishes in Balsamic

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs radishes + tops
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 3 T balsamic
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut off radish tops and set aside.
  3. Slice radishes in half and toss with 1 T olive oil and 1T vinegar.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 min until golden.
  6. While baking, heat 1T oil, 1T vinegar and garlic in a skillet until hot (med high).
  7. Add chopped radish greens for just a couple of minutes, until bright green and wilted.
  8. Toss greens with radishes in serving dish.

Notes

You may choose to add addition tablespoon of balsamic and olive oil to the combined salad for your extra special balsamic fans ;)