This creamy and tangy Fennel Salad with Apples and Goat Cheese Dressing is a great little salad you can whip up quickly or make ahead. With a blended goat cheese dressing, crisp honey crisp apples and crunchy pecans this salad makes a great quick and easy side dish for dinner or Easter brunch!JUMP TO RECIPE
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Fennel Apple Goodness
This Fennel Salad with Apples and Goat Cheese Dressing is a delicious and refreshing salad that is perfect for Easter brunch, or as a quick side dish for a busy weeknight dinner. With a creamy blended goat cheese dressing, juicy and crisp apple and plenty of chopped pecans- this salad always delivers on flavor.
Prepping the Fennel Salad & Goat Cheese Dressing
To make the Fennel Apple salad, you will need:
- 1 whole medium fennel bulb
- A couple honey crisp apples
- A rib of celery
- Some sliced shallot
- Roughly chopped pecans
The salad comes together quickly and easily with a just a few simple ingredients! The preparation and order of ingredients is however, important for the salad, for a number of reasons.
Make the Dressing first
The dressing is super easy, thanks to your handy-dandy blender or immersion blender. The reason you want to prepare the dressing first, is because the salad needs to be prepared quickly, to prevent the apples from turning brown. While you COULD dress the apples in some lemon juice to prevent this- I like to leave that to the lemon-infused dressing. This way, the lemony taste doesn't overpower the salad.
Once you've got your salad dressing ready, all you have left to do is slice and dice a few ingredients, then you're salad is ready to go!
Can I use another apple instead of honey crisp?
I love a good honey crisp apple for this recipe, but you could use a pink lady apple, gala or granny smith apple instead, if you prefer. Steer clear of red delicious and McIntosh. These varieties are either too bland or too soft, and won't work well in the salad.
What's the best way to cut and clean the fennel?
Fennel is perhaps more intimidating looking than it is, with its wild stalks and fronds. Here's my favorite method for cutting and cleaning a fresh fennel bulb:
Remove the stalks and fronds
Slice the fennel stalks and fronds clean off from the bulb, which is the part you'll be enjoying in the salad. Dont throw away those fronds! They make a super pretty garnish when you're plating the salad.
Slice the bulb, then clean it
Like leeks, fennel bulbs can harbor some nasty dirt in its layers. I like to remove any very dirty outer layers, then thinly slice the fennel. You can use a sharp knife, or a mandolin- whichever you are move comfortable with. My fingers and mandolins have had a few close calls, so I usually opt for my trust chef's knife, unless I'm feeling particularly brave.
Once you've got your bulb sliced, toss it into a colander and rinse the fennel well under cool water. This will insure that all your fennel is super clean and ready to eat!
Serving suggestions for the Fennel Apple Salad
This fennel apple salad makes a great Easter brunch side dish, or even a quick lunch on its own. The salad is a great quick and easy side to serve along your favorite protein as well! Some of my favrotie main dishes to serve the salad with are roast chicken, pan seared salmon, or some bone-in pork chops.
Fennel Salad with Apples and Goat Cheese Dressing
- blender or immersion blender
Goat Cheese Dressing
- ½ medium shallot, finely chopped (reserve other half for salad)
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- the juice of 1 medium lemon
- 4 oz goat cheese
- 1 whole medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced and well rinsed
- 2 honey crisp apples, quartered and thinly sliced
- 1 rib/stalk celery, thinly sliced
- ½ medium shallot, thinly sliced
- ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
- Making the dressing: 1. Add all dressing ingredients to a blender or immersion blender cup, and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside while you make the salad. Making the Salad: 1. Slice the celery into thin slices, and add to a large mixing bowl. Remove the stems and fronds from the fennel, and set aside. Reserve some fronds for serving/garnish, if desired. 2. Thinly slice the fennel bulb with a sharp knife or a mandolin. Transfer sliced fennel to a colander and rinse well. Add to the bowl with the celery. 3. Cut apples away from the core, and thinly slice. Add to bowl with the fennel; and celery. 4. Thinly slice reserved shallot, and add to the bowl. 5. Add pecans to the bowl. 6. Add the dressing to the bowl, and toss well to combine. 7. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter, and garnish with fennel fronds. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 2 days.
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