A quick break from Christmas preparations, to eat something light and nourishing. I had 3 lonely fennel bulbs from my weekly veg delivery, waiting to be consumed. Fennel is not the vegetable I often buy (to be honest I think I never bought any fennel bulbs), but since I got it I had a crunchy salad on my mind. I like quick and easy salads with not a lot of preparations and that’s why I like how this salad came out.
Pleasantly crisp, light and aromatic, because of fennel and it’s characteristic smell and taste (if you ever tried fennel tea, you’ll know what I mean). As a color accent and some spiciness I added a lot of radish. Cucumber goes great with them both. Very simple dressing: olive oil, salt and good pinch of lemon pepper for extra freshness – 10 minutes of work and delicious salad is ready. It will be great with fish or chicken or by itself as a crunchy snack or light supper.
Fennel is a very old veg. Ancient Greeks and Romans used fennel as an effective remedy for headaches, colic and skin diseases. The day before the fight, gladiators rubbed the fennel seed extract into their bodies, believing that it would strengthen them both physically and spiritually. In the Middle Ages, this herb was believed to have the magical power to bring happiness in love and ward off “evil glances”, charms and lightning. Often, therefore, it was an ingredient of love potions and talismans worn on the body.
Average fennel bulb contains about 17 grams of carbohydrates, in which about 7.3 grams is dietary fiber. It’s a great source of potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron and calcium, also contains plenty of Vitamin A, some Vitamin C and B6. Fennel also contains: phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, choline, lutein, zeaxanthin and Vitamins K and E. Numerous studies have identified lutein and zeaxanthin to be essential components for eye health. They constitute the main pigments found in the yellow spot of the human retina which protect the macula from damage by blue light, improve visual acuity and scavenge harmful reactive oxygen species. They have also been linked with reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Lutein and zeaxanthin can be obtained from dietary sources such as green leafy vegetables and orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. When choosing fennel pay attention to the bulb that should be bright white with no discolorations or soft spots. Store it in the fridge in a plastic bag or container.
Also radish is a great veg, low in carbohydrates (about 3.4 g per 100 g), it’s a great source of folate, lutein, zeaxanthin, Vitamin C, and some minerals like potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Look for radishes that are smooth, brightly colored, with tops that are green and fresh looking. Avoid the one that are soft, dull-colored, have scars, black spots or are slimy.
This salad will be also great after Christmas, if with New Year you’ll decide to eat more healthy or include more veggies into your diet. So keep this recipe in mind 😉
quick & easy fennel salad
- 3 fennel bulbs
- about 10 radishes
- a piece of fresh cucumber
- some spring onions
- good pinch of lemon pepper (or coarse pepper and 1-2 tsp lemon juice)
- pinch of natural rock salt
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
Thoroughly wash all the veggies. Prepare fennel: cut off the hard tip at the root and the stringy base of the stems. Cut the bulb in half and into thin slices. Slice radishes and cucumber in half – slices (you can peel it or leave the skin). Chop some spring onions. Mix all veg together, sprinkle with generous amount of lemon pepper (or coarse pepper and a teaspoon or two of lemon juice), drizzle with olive oil. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes, so the flavours combine.
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