With summer just around the corner, the weather has been warming up nicely over the last few weeks so salads are finally back on the menu in our house!
I’ve been trying to get more creative with my salads lately because I’ve had this creamy avocado and kale salad with crispy chickpeas on repeat for most of the year! Although I still love it, there’s nothing like adding more variety to your repertoire – especially after 3 months of lockdown cooking.
What I love about this new roast fennel and asparagus salad is the beautiful, anise flavour of the fennel, combined with the nutty crunch of the asparagus. Add to that some creamy avocado, roasted sweet potato, and a tangy, apple cider and ginger dressing, and you have a salad worthy of it’s own dinner party.
If you’re not a huge fennel fan, lightly roasting it will mellow its flavour and texture. Likewise, by roasting or pan-frying the asparagus, you’ll bring out it’s unique, nutty flavour. Just be careful not to overcook your asparagus, as slightly crunchy asparagus is much more delicious than soggy, flaccid asparagus!
Serve this gluten-free, roast fennel salad on it’s own for a delicious, light meal. Throw in some plant-based protein such as toasted almonds, pine nuts or hemp seeds to turn it into a more substantial meal. Or serve it as a side alongside your favourite main dish.
Store any extra dressing in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, and is delicious over roasted vegetables or steamed broccolini.
Roast Fennel & Asparagus Salad with Easy Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 1 hour
2-3 sweet potatoes (any colours)
1 fennel bulb
1 bunch of asparagus
4 large handfuls salad greens
drizzle of avocado/coconut/olive oil
Apple Cider & Ginger Vinaigrette
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp pure maple syrup or raw honey
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch Himalayan pink salt
ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 200ºC fan bake. Peel and chop the sweet potato into chunks and place on a lined oven tray. Drizzle sweet potato with a little oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss together. Place the tray in the centre of the oven to bake for approximately 20-30 minutes. When sweet potato is cooked through, remove it from the oven and allow to cool.
Prepare the fennel by washing and cutting the bulb into slices. Arrange the slices on another lined oven tray, drizzle with a little oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the tray in the oven to bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the fennel is just starting to brown and soften. Remove the fennel from the oven and set aside to cool.
Save some of the fennel fronds, roughly chop and set aside.
Wash the asparagus and slice into bite size pieces. Either toss with a little oil and add to the fennel tray for 5 minutes. Or heat a little oil in a small pan over medium heat and pan-fry for about 5 minutes. Aim for the asparagus to be cooked but still crunchy. Set the cooked asparagus aside and allow to cool.
Make the vinaigrette by placing all the ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined.
Rinse the salad greens and place in a large serving bowl. Combine with the cooled sweet potato, fennel and asparagus. Top with sliced avocado and sprinkle with the fennel fronds.
Just before serving, drizzle the salad with apple cider vinaigrette. Any leftover dressing can be stored in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.