Angolan Lemon Salad Recipe - Refreshing Salad with Fennel and Parmesan Cheese

Angolan Lemon Salad

Angolan Lemon Salad Recipe - Refreshing Salad with Fennel and Parmesan Cheese
Region / culture: Angola | Preparation time: 10 minutes | Servings: 4


Angolan Lemon Salad
Angolan Lemon Salad

Angolan Lemon Salad is a refreshing and vibrant dish that brings a burst of citrus flavor to your table. This salad is a perfect blend of tangy lemon, crisp fennel, and sharp Parmesan cheese, creating a unique flavor profile that is both invigorating and satisfying. Ideal for a light lunch or as a side dish, this salad is not only delicious but also visually appealing, making it a great addition to any meal.


The Angolan Lemon Salad is inspired by the rich culinary traditions of Angola, a country in Southern Africa known for its diverse flavors and ingredients. While not a traditional Angolan dish, this salad pays homage to the country's love for fresh, vibrant ingredients and bold flavors. The use of lemon and olive oil is reminiscent of Mediterranean cuisine, which has influenced many coastal African countries, including Angola.


How to prepare

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, 2 tbsp of water, the oil, and salt.
  2. Cut off the fennel stalks and fronds. Finely chop 0.25 cup of the fronds and add them to the bowl of dressing.
  3. Discard the stalks. Cut the bulb in half and thinly slice it. Add the fennel to the bowl and toss to combine.
  4. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.


  • For a twist on the traditional recipe, consider adding thinly sliced oranges or grapefruit for additional citrus flavor. Arugula or mixed greens can also be included for extra texture and nutritional value.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To maximize the flavor of this salad, use freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of bottled. The freshness of the lemon juice makes a significant difference in the overall taste of the dish. When preparing the fennel, make sure to slice it thinly for a more delicate texture. Additionally, letting the salad sit for a few minutes before serving allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.

Serving Suggestions

This salad is best served chilled or at room temperature. It can be enjoyed on its own for a light meal or paired with grilled chicken, fish, or a hearty grain like quinoa for a more filling option.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in preparing this salad is in the slicing of the fennel bulb. Using a mandoline slicer can help achieve thin, even slices that enhance the texture of the salad. Whisking the dressing thoroughly ensures that the flavors are well combined and evenly distributed.

Ingredient Substitutions

If fennel is not available, celery can be used as a substitute for a similar crunchy texture. For a dairy-free version, nutritional yeast or a vegan Parmesan alternative can replace the Parmesan cheese.

Make Ahead Tips

This salad can be prepared a few hours in advance, with the dressing kept separate until just before serving. This prevents the salad from becoming soggy and ensures the flavors remain fresh.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the salad in a clear glass bowl to showcase the layers of fennel and Parmesan. Garnish with additional lemon zest or fennel fronds for a touch of elegance.

Pairing Recommendations

Angolan Lemon Salad pairs beautifully with seafood, particularly grilled fish or shrimp. Its bright flavors also complement rich, savory dishes, providing a refreshing contrast.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

This salad is best enjoyed fresh and does not require reheating. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. It is not recommended to freeze this salad.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Angolan Lemon Salad contains approximately 120 calories, making it a light and healthy option that can fit into various dietary needs.


This salad is relatively low in carbohydrates, with the primary sources being the fennel bulbs. Fennel is a good source of fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health. The total carbohydrate content per serving is approximately 10 grams, making this salad a suitable option for those monitoring their carbohydrate intake.


The fats in this salad come primarily from the olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Olive oil is a healthy fat, rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are known to be beneficial for heart health. The total fat content per serving is around 7 grams, with a balance of healthy fats contributing to the overall nutritional value of the dish.


Protein in this salad is provided by the Parmesan cheese, offering about 5 grams of protein per serving. While not a high-protein dish, it can be paired with a protein-rich main course or snack for a balanced meal.

Vitamins and minerals

This salad is a good source of vitamins and minerals, particularly from the fennel and lemon juice. Fennel is rich in Vitamin C, potassium, and manganese, while lemon juice provides a significant amount of Vitamin C, enhancing the immune system and aiding in iron absorption.


The primary allergen in this salad is dairy, from the Parmesan cheese. Those with a dairy allergy or intolerance can easily omit the cheese or substitute it with a dairy-free alternative.


Overall, the Angolan Lemon Salad is a nutritious dish that offers a good balance of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. It is low in calories and carbohydrates, making it an excellent choice for those looking to enjoy a flavorful yet healthy meal.


Angolan Lemon Salad is a delightful dish that combines the fresh flavors of lemon and fennel with the richness of Parmesan cheese. It is a versatile salad that can be adapted to suit various dietary needs and preferences. With its simple preparation and healthful ingredients, it is a perfect addition to any meal, offering a taste of Angola's culinary influence.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. It was a hot summer day and I was attending a community potluck with some friends. As I walked around the tables filled with delicious homemade dishes, my eyes landed on a bright and refreshing salad that stood out amongst the crowd. It was a vibrant Angolan Lemon Salad, and I knew I had to learn how to make it.

I approached the woman who had brought the salad and struck up a conversation with her. Her name was Maria and she was originally from Angola. She had learned the recipe from her mother, who had learned it from her mother before her. It was a traditional Angolan dish that had been passed down through generations.

Maria was kind enough to share the recipe with me, and she even invited me over to her home to watch her make it. I eagerly accepted her offer, excited to learn the secrets behind this delicious salad.

As I watched Maria prepare the salad, I was amazed by her skill and expertise in the kitchen. She moved with grace and precision, effortlessly chopping vegetables and squeezing lemons with practiced ease. I took notes as she explained each step of the recipe to me, making sure to capture every detail so that I could recreate the dish at home.

The key to the Angolan Lemon Salad, Maria told me, was in the freshness of the ingredients. She used ripe tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and fragrant herbs that she had picked from her garden that morning. The lemons she used were plump and juicy, their bright citrusy flavor infusing the salad with a burst of freshness.

As Maria mixed the ingredients together, I could see how the colors and textures complemented each other perfectly. The salad was a beautiful mosaic of red, green, and yellow, each component adding its own unique flavor and crunch to the dish.

Once the salad was ready, Maria invited me to try a taste. I eagerly scooped up a forkful and savored the explosion of flavors in my mouth. The tangy lemon juice cut through the sweetness of the tomatoes, while the crisp cucumbers added a refreshing crunch. The herbs added a fragrant note that lingered on my palate, making me want more.

I thanked Maria profusely for teaching me how to make the Angolan Lemon Salad and vowed to make it for my family and friends. As I left her home, I felt a sense of accomplishment and excitement at the prospect of sharing this delicious dish with my loved ones.

Since that day, the Angolan Lemon Salad has become a staple in my cooking repertoire. Whenever I make it, I think back to the sunny afternoon when I first learned the recipe from Maria. It brings back memories of laughter and friendship, of sharing food and stories with loved ones.

I am grateful to Maria for sharing her family's recipe with me and for opening my eyes to the rich culinary traditions of Angola. The Angolan Lemon Salad is not just a dish to me, but a connection to a culture and a history that I am proud to carry on through my cooking.

And so, whenever I serve this salad to my family and friends, I do so with a full heart and a grateful spirit. It is a testament to the power of food to bring people together, to transcend borders and boundaries, and to create lasting memories that will be cherished for years to come.


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