Friends and family know the three things I eat nearly every day – almonds, apples, and raw fennel. I love them and they are my snack staples. You might not be surprised at the almonds and apples, but most people raise an eyebrow at raw fennel. Either they’ve never had fennel or they’ve never had it raw.
Fennel bulb has a mild, sweet, anise flavor and a crisp texture. Trader Joe’s carries fennel bulbs, trimmed, with two bulbs to a package. I regularly (nearly daily) eat raw fennel plain, just cut into slices – even my kids love it. They’re crazy, right?! We’re all fennel addicts!
And it’s not a bad thing to be a fennel addict. Fennel bulb is packed with phytonutrients, vitamin C, potassium, and other nutrients. Anethole gives fennel its anise flavor and is interesting because it is an anti-microbial and anti-fungal compound with potential anti-cancer and immune-booster properties. Most of fennel’s medicinal properties are linked to anethole. It even reduces/relieves intestinal gas, and you’ll find fennel extracts in remedies for babies who suffer from colic. Fennel is also high in fiber (great for your digestive tract) and also very low in calories, if you’re counting them.
I often roast fennel and enjoy the caramelized nutty flavor. Here is my roasted fennel recipe. And recently, to add to my fennel recipe repertoire, I started making this healthy raw fennel apple salad which includes sweet crispy apples and is tossed in a simple lemon vinaigrette. I’ve added dried Montmorency cherries or sliced almonds to it in the past, but I enjoy it with these very few ingredients just as well. I hope you like it too!
Raw Fennel Apple Salad Recipe
- 1 bulb fennel, cut in half and sliced very thinly
- 1 apple, unpeeled and sliced thinly
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 Tbsp honey
- Generous pinch salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Place fennel and apple slices in salad bowl. (If there are any leafy tops of the fennel, include those as well but discard the tough stalks.) Pieces should all be bite size. If slices are too big, just cut them in half.
- Whisk together oil, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper. Drizzle over salad and toss well.