I have another great summer salad for you today. This version has grilled fennel, toasted pumpkin seeds, cucumber, fresh basil and spicy arugula. It’s vegan, but I still think it’s a great entree salad. If you want to add a little more substance, you can add some chicken breast. Although I am a meat-eater, I love a fresh veggie salad and on some nights, I just don’t feel like eating meat.
Skipping the meat does not mean you have to sacrifice taste. This salad is loaded with flavor – between the grilled fennel, toasted pumpkin seeds, fresh basil, spicy arugula and the orange vinaigrette, it’s got plenty of fresh flavor throughout. If anything, you might want to pull back on the flavor by using a more basic green like Romaine and skip the basil. Personally, I like the fresh, earthy flavors going on.
Tip: Be sure to grill the fennel until it’s tender. If it’s undercooked, it’s got a very strong flavor and it’s also a little tough to chew. Fennel is a perennial herb and tastes like licorice. Florence fennel or finocchio is a selection with a swollen, bulb-like stem base that is used as a vegetable.
Be sure to wash the fennel thoroughly, then cut the bulb in half and lightly coat with olive oil before placing on the grill.
Cook the fennel on the grill, turning continually until it’s nice and tender.
The only other cooking that is involved in this dish is toasting some pumpkin seeds. I can purchase pumpkin seeds in the seed bins at my grocery store. I find that toasting the seeds on the stove in a dry pan just gives them extra nutty flavor. I toast all nuts and seeds before adding them to my recipes. It’s a small step that packs a big punch!
Grilled Fennel Salad w/ Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Arugula
1 bulp of fresh fennel, washed and trimmed
Olive oil to moisten the fennel
3 cups arugula
1/2 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1.5 t/l fresh basil, finely chopped
3 tbl pumpkin seeds, toasted
Note: This recipe makes enough for a much larger salad. Leftovers keep well in the refridgerator.
1 tbl dijon mustard
2 tbl white wine vinegar
The juice of one orange
1 tbl granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
Mix dressing ingredients well, set aside. Clean and trim the fennel and lightly coat with olive oil and grill on an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan until softened, turning frequently. Meanwhile, toast pumpkin seeds on medium heat in a dry skillet. Remove the fennel from the grill and cool completely, then cut into slices. Add to a bowl with the arugula, cucumber, pumpkin seeds and basil. Mix the salad dressing again before dressing the salad. Dress salad with desired amount of dressing and serve. Prepare your taste buds!