Fennel Slaw with Vanilla Vinaigrette

November 3, 2012

Author Notes: Sometimes the beauty of a dish lies in its simplicity. I like such dishes, where the flavors of few key ingredients come together into something more than the sum of their parts. In this refreshing winter salad, the licorice taste of fennel is muted with vinaigrette, and only a hint of it comes through, accented with vanilla, almond and black pepper notes. QueenSashy

Serves: 4-6


  • 2 medium fennel bulbs
  • about 4 tablespoons almond oil
  • about 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 vanilla bean, about two inches long
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In This Recipe


  1. Prepare the vinaigrette. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds carefully. In a small bowl, mix the oil, vanilla seeds, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk until well blended and creamy. Taste and if needed adjust acidity and flavors (vinaigrette is a personal thing). Let the vinaigrette rest for about an hour. (I usually make a little bit more vinaigrette, just in case.)
  2. Cut off fennel stalks close to the bulb. Reserve the stalks. Reserve a couple of fronds for garnish and keep the rest for another use. Remove any discolored outer layers from the bulb, and cut off the root end. Halve the fennel lengthwise (do not remove the core). Slice the fennel and then the stalks very, very thinly crosswise, not quite see through but close, by hand or with a mandolin.
  3. Toss the fennel with the vinaigrette. Let the salad rest for about 15-30 minutes for flavors to develop. If needed, adjust the seasoning, garnish with fronds and serve cold or at room temperature.

More Great Recipes:
Salad Dressing|Salad|Fennel|Vegetable|Vinegar|Vanilla|Bean|5 Ingredients or Fewer|Spring|Fall|Winter|Gluten-Free

Reviews (5) Questions (0)

5 Reviews

Literary E. December 26, 2012
I made this to go with porchetta, as advertised. I probably under salted it, but that made it all the more a special, delicious contrast. There was so much food that we had leftovers, but my guests requested them. Lovely! And so, so, so good where it overlapped with homemade apricot mustard... We all wanted a sandwich with this slaw and a sweet mustard topping it.
Author Comment
QueenSashy December 26, 2012
Happy Holidays LE! I have a Christmas meal envy over you porchetta. And then the apricot mustard! Did you post the recipe? I would love to try it.
Literary E. December 26, 2012
I haven't yet, but I should! It was so simple it was barely a recipe, though. :)
Literary E. December 13, 2012
Goodness gracious, I cannot believe how good this looks. I think I am making it on Christmas Eve to complement a porchetta.
Author Comment
QueenSashy December 13, 2012
Thank you. This was one of my favorite dishes this year. It looks kind of simple, but the flavors are really amazing. I hope you will like it as much as I do.