Recipe swap: fennel and apple salad

This month we are revisiting hot slaw. One thing I love and I haven’t eaten in a while because here is ungodly expensive is fennel. And my favorite way of having fennel is to cut it very thin and have it raw with a bit of oil and a touch of cumin. However, that was way to easy for the swap, so I decided to change it up a little bit.

After a bit of thinking I decided to throw apples in the mix and looked on-line for inspiration. I walked into this recipe here and suddenly red onion was in the mix. So now I had thinly sliced fennel, apple and onions. But how to dress it? I decided I had to do a warm dressing, to keep faithful to the original recipe and I decided to go with a balsamic vinegar reduction.

I took pics with the help of my new lightbox custom made by my wonderful BF and I have to say I am pretty happy with the result. On the other hand I do not dare to mix the salad an eat, as it just looks too beautiful… I had to invite friends over and share it with them (well the salad and the gravalax I am curing in the fridge), so I am waiting for them to get here before eating…

Recipe swap: fennel and apple salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 6 Servings

Recipe swap: fennel and apple salad


  • 1 fennel
  • 1/2 green apple
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. First I sliced the fennel, the onion and the apple thinly. I used a meat slicer for the onion and the fennel to get perfect slices. I put the apples in a bowl with the lemon juice so that they wouldn't brown and I rubbed the onion with salt and submerged it in cold water, so that it becomes easier to digest. Also, I saved the leaves of the fennel to use them as decoration.
  2. Then I started on the reduction. I put the vinegar in a little pot with the sugar and cooked it onto low heat until it coated the spoon and then let it cool down a bit.
  3. Finally, I assembled the salad and spooned on a bit of the balsamic reduction and added the fennel leaves on top for decoration. Added salt and pepper and it's ready to eat!

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25 Responses to Recipe swap: fennel and apple salad

  1. Mariateresa says:

    I served this salad as hors d'oeuvres. A big success! My friends loved it very much. It was perfect before a main course such ossobuco with risotto (see Pola receipt).

  2. Alli says:

    Love the fennel and apple components…so crunchy and refreshing!!

  3. Nuts about food says:

    Beautiful Pola!

  4. Katherine Martinelli says:

    I've never had a hot slaw but love that you used fennel and apple! So crazy that fennel is expensive where you are! The photos are looking great 🙂

  5. Monique says:

    Can't go wrong with fennel, apple and balsamic! Fennel is always more expensive than I think it should be. Congrats on the new light box!

  6. PolaM says:

    @Nami | Just One Cookbook Yes it was his birthday present for me. Hopefully it will work well and improve my pics!

  7. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Your BF made the lightbox? He's so sweet!!! I asked ("had") my husband make the white and dark brown board… =) lol. It's really nice and bright which we willl need for winter time. The salad looks beautiful and I can almost smell the nice fragrance of fennel! I loe it so this salad must be so godo!

  8. Manu says:

    Awesome job! I love the idea of mixing fennel and apples and that dressing sounds great too. Great pictures BTW!!! 🙂

  9. Barbara | Creative Culinary says:

    I not only love the flavor combinations but the end result is beautiful…a work of art even. This is such fun to see how unique everyone's dish is; like a little surprise package around every corner!

  10. Chef Dennis says:

    wow, what a great idea! Fennel, apples and onions, now that's a flavor combination for me!
    I would never have thought of fennel and apples!

  11. claire says:

    MMMMMMM – Fennel – I bet this is fabulous!

  12. Burwell General Store says:

    I love fennel!! You and I used a few of the same ingredients- to much different end! Thanks, as always, for participating in the swap, and I look forward to seeing your next post!

  13. Paolo says:

    I love thin-sliced raw fennel! The flavors in this salad work perfectly together – nicely done, Pola! And I love the soft light of your new light-box – nice work Pola's BF! 🙂

  14. Lana says:

    Fennel is probably the last bastion of foods I have to conquer, as far as taste. I really want to like it and I know the road to its heart is a slow and patient one:)
    I love the combination of sweet, sour and crunchy, and you just might convert me with this recipe:) I would also hesitate to eat it, as it looks gorgeous.

  15. Steve @ the black peppercorn says:

    I have developed a recent love for fennel! It is great in a salad. I posted a salad with fennel and pear just last week. Yours looks great!

  16. Jacqueline - The Dusty Baker says:

    mmmm…. lucky friends! This looks like the perfect afternoon dish, both sweet, healthy and dressed deliciously!

  17. PolaM says:

    @Toni (Boulder Locavore) It is actually quite a common paring in Italy. Another common paring for fennel is orange, tastes just great!

  18. PolaM says:

    @Rachel I think the best way to appreciate fennel is to cut it real thin, almost transparent and dress it with oil. That way the flavor is not too intense and the crunghy texture makes it very palatable.

  19. PolaM says:

    @Shumaila Fennel tastes quite similar to fennel seed actually, only the flavor is much less intense and fresher because of the high water content. And the texture is crunchy when eaten raw and soft when boiled. It is actually very good!

  20. Sabrina Modelle says:

    So lovely Pola. I love fennel and apples- what a bright and fresh salad. I think it's the perfect slaw for a hot Indian Summer day.

  21. Frank says:

    What a lovely salad! The red onion and green fennel fronds against the white of the apple—it's a work of art. I've got a surfeit of apples at the moment, so ça tombe bien, as they say in French…

  22. Alex says:

    looks like we both went with apples! I love how you used fennel. I'm so jealous of your own lightbox! great recipe!

  23. Shumaila says:

    What an interesting take on the challenge. I am not too familiar with the flavor of fennel, though we use a lot of fennel seeds in Indian cooking. But it sounds like it would pair well with apple. I am intrigued enough to try it! Thanks for sharing!

  24. Rachel says:

    Fennel and apple sound like much more flavorful ingredeints than cabbage for a slaw. I love your adaptation! Fennel is an ingredient that kind of scares me. I'm not sure how I feel about it's flavor but I think pairing it with apple would be a good introduction. I will surely try this out this fall!

  25. Toni (Boulder Locavore) says:

    Pola! So glad you are back! This sounds completely yummy! It is 90 degrees here and these flavors are so fall like but would be wonderful to cut the heat. I don't think I've made anything with apple and fennel and it sounds delicious. Great job!

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