Apple Fennel Salad Recipe - Red Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil, Thyme, and More

Apple Fennel Salad

Apple Fennel Salad Recipe - Red Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil, Thyme, and More
Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Servings: 4


Apple Fennel Salad
Apple Fennel Salad

This Apple Fennel Salad recipe is a refreshing and unique combination that brings together the crisp sweetness of apples with the aromatic, slightly licorice-like flavor of fennel, all dressed in a tangy and herby vinaigrette. Perfect for a light lunch, side dish, or a healthy addition to your dinner table, this salad is not only delicious but also visually appealing with its vibrant colors and textures.


The use of apples in salads dates back centuries, with various cultures incorporating this versatile fruit into their cuisine. Fennel, on the other hand, has been used in Mediterranean cooking for just as long, prized for its crunchy texture and distinctive taste. The combination of apple and fennel in a salad is a more modern culinary innovation, reflecting a contemporary desire for dishes that are both flavorful and nutritious. This particular recipe, with its simple yet sophisticated dressing, is a testament to the evolving nature of culinary traditions.




How to prepare


  1. In a small bowl, combine all of the dressing ingredients.
  2. Mix well.


  1. Boil the pasta in salted water until it is cooked al dente, which should take about 10 minutes.
  2. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice.
  4. Stir in the fennel and toss it well.
  5. Combine the pasta and the apple-fennel mixture in a medium serving bowl.
  6. Add the dressing and toss it well.
  7. Serve the salad on a bed of lettuce.


  • Add nuts such as walnuts or almonds for extra crunch and protein.
  • Include dried cranberries or raisins for a touch of sweetness.
  • Substitute the pasta with quinoa or farro for a gluten-free or whole grain option.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the best results for your Apple Fennel Salad, consider the following tips:

- Choose firm and crisp apples for the best texture and flavor.

- Thinly slice the fennel for a more delicate texture that complements the apples.

- To prevent the apples from browning, toss them in lemon juice immediately after cutting.

- Allow the dressed salad to sit for a few minutes before serving to let the flavors meld together.

Serving Suggestions

This salad can be served as a standalone light lunch or as a side dish with grilled chicken, fish, or tofu for a more substantial meal. It's also perfect for picnics and potlucks, as it can be made ahead and is easily transportable.

Cooking Techniques

The key techniques in this recipe include boiling pasta to al dente perfection, properly dressing the salad to evenly coat the ingredients without making them soggy, and mastering the art of thinly slicing fennel for the best texture.

Ingredient Substitutions

Honey or maple syrup can replace the apple juice concentrate in the dressing for a different type of sweetness.

- Any type of apple can be used, though crisp varieties work best.

- Arugula or mixed greens can substitute for Boston lettuce for a peppery flavor.

Make Ahead Tips

This salad can be prepared up to a day in advance, with the dressing stored separately and tossed with the salad just before serving to maintain freshness and prevent sogginess.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the salad in a large, shallow bowl to showcase its vibrant colors and textures. Garnish with fennel fronds or a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves for an extra touch of elegance.

Pairing Recommendations

This salad pairs beautifully with white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, which complement its light and fresh flavors. For a non-alcoholic option, consider a crisp apple cider.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

This salad is best enjoyed fresh but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. It is not recommended to freeze this salad, and reheating is not applicable as it is served cold.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

The calorie content of this salad is relatively low, making it an excellent choice for those monitoring their calorie intake. The exact number of calories will depend on the specific ingredients used, particularly the type and amount of pasta.


This salad is relatively low in carbohydrates, with the primary sources being the apples and pasta. Apples provide natural sugars and dietary fiber, while the pasta offers complex carbohydrates for sustained energy. The total carbohydrate content will vary depending on the type and amount of pasta used.


The salad's fat content comes mainly from the olive oil in the dressing. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are considered heart-healthy. The overall fat content of the salad is low, making it a light and heart-friendly option.


This salad is not high in protein, as its main ingredients are fruits and vegetables. However, the pasta does contribute a small amount of protein to the dish. For a higher protein content, consider adding grilled chicken, tofu, or nuts.

Vitamins and minerals

Apples and fennel are both excellent sources of essential vitamins and minerals. Apples provide vitamin C and potassium, while fennel is rich in vitamin C, fiber, and potassium as well. Together, they contribute to a nutrient-dense dish that supports overall health.


This recipe is free from most common allergens, including gluten, nuts, dairy, and seafood. However, those with gluten sensitivities should choose a gluten-free pasta option.


Overall, this Apple Fennel Salad is a nutritious and balanced dish, offering a good mix of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. It is low in calories and free from common allergens, making it suitable for a wide range of dietary preferences.


The Apple Fennel Salad is a delightful and nutritious dish that combines the sweet and crisp flavors of apples with the unique taste of fennel, all dressed in a tangy vinaigrette. It's a versatile salad that can be adapted to suit various dietary needs and preferences, making it a perfect addition to any meal.

How did I get this recipe?

I can still recall the sense of amazement I felt when I first saw this recipe for Apple Fennel Salad. It was a warm summer day, and I had been invited to a friend's house for a potluck dinner. As I walked into her kitchen, the aroma of fresh herbs and spices filled the air, and I knew I was in for a treat.

My friend, Martha, was busy chopping vegetables and slicing apples for the salad. She motioned for me to come closer and handed me a piece of fennel to taste. I had never tried fennel before, and I was pleasantly surprised by its crisp texture and subtle licorice flavor.

Martha explained that she had learned the recipe for Apple Fennel Salad from her grandmother, who had passed it down through the generations. She told me that the key to making the salad delicious was to use fresh, high-quality ingredients and to give it plenty of time to marinate in the dressing.

I watched as Martha expertly combined the sliced apples and fennel with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and Dijon mustard. She added a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and then tossed everything together until the salad was well coated in the dressing.

As we sat down to dinner that evening, the Apple Fennel Salad was a huge hit. The crisp, refreshing flavors of the apples and fennel paired perfectly with the tangy dressing, and I knew I had to learn how to make it myself.

The next day, I called Martha and asked her to teach me the recipe. She graciously agreed, and we spent the afternoon in her kitchen, chopping, slicing, and mixing until we had a beautiful bowl of Apple Fennel Salad ready to enjoy.

Over the years, I have made the salad countless times for family gatherings, potlucks, and dinner parties. Each time, it never fails to impress and delight my guests. I have come to cherish this recipe not only for its delicious taste but also for the memories it evokes of that warm summer day in Martha's kitchen.

As I reflect on the journey of learning how to make Apple Fennel Salad, I am reminded of the importance of passing down recipes and traditions from one generation to the next. Just like Martha's grandmother did for her, I now have the privilege of sharing this special recipe with my own grandchildren, ensuring that it will continue to be enjoyed for years to come.

So the next time you are looking for a fresh, flavorful salad to impress your guests, give this Apple Fennel Salad a try. I promise you won't be disappointed.


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