Roasted Fennel Salad With Apples, Arugula & Farro
This warm roasted fennel salad combines soft, caramelized fennel slices with sweet + crunchy apples, hearty farro, baby arugula, freshly-shaved parmesan, and a bright + simple lemon-garlic dressing. Only 8 ingredients, it packs in so much flavour and is a delicious side salad recipe for all occasions. Gluten-free and vegan options available, too!
While many fennel salad recipes call for using shaved, raw fennel, I wanted to share something different today! Instead of shaved fennel, we’re slicing up fennel into lovely little wedges that get roasted in the oven until they’re beautifully tender and caramelized.
If you’ve never tried roasted fennel before, you are in for such a welcomed treat! Roasting fennel completely transforms the vegetable from the crunchy, liquorice taste it’s known for into something so soft, with a much milder and even sweet flavour.
In this post, I’ve included step-by-step tips (with pictures!) for both cutting and roasting fennel, so that you can have the confidence to prepare it yourself at home.
This roasted fennel apple salad recipe is only 8 simple, nutritious ingredients. Fennel itself is packed with nutrition benefits, like vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.
As a registered dietitian, I love sharing delicious ways to try new veggies and this salad is no different! I so hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Want more delicious, hearty salad recipe inspiration? Check out my roundup of fall and winter salad recipes for more ideas!
What does fennel taste like when roasted?
Roasted fennel has an entirely transformed flavour and texture when compared to its raw counterpart.
Raw fennel has a distinct, liquorice or anise flavour and is very crunchy. When roasted, that classic liquorice flavour becomes much more mellow and even a little bit sweet. Texturally, the cooked fennel becomes soft, tender, and caramelized.
If you’re not a huge fan of raw fennel, you may be surprised at how different it tastes when cooked. I encourage you to take a chance on it – I find it to have such a unique and delicious taste 🙂
Enjoy the taste of roasted fennel? You may also love my roasted beetroot + fennel with orange vinaigrette recipe!
Salad ingredients & possible substitutions
All you need to make this fennel salad are 8 simple, nutritious ingredients:
- Fennel: Fennels come in all shapes and sizes! When purchasing, I recommend choosing ones that have a large bulb, as that is the part that you will be cooking. While they can be removed, try to choose ones where the outer leaves are not overly damaged or browned and where the stems and fronds (which is the part that looks a bit like dill) are a nice, bright green colour.
- Apples: I used my personal favourite – honeycrisp! You can choose your favourite variety of apples, but I recommend going for one that is sweet and crisp.
- Farro: One of my favourite grains, farro provides a delicious chewy and hearty texture to this salad. That said, it is not a gluten-free grain, so if you must follow a gluten-free diet, please swap the farro with another grain, like quinoa or wild rice. If you’d prefer a grain-free salad, you could do that also! In that case, I would recommend adding less dressing than the recipe calls for as a lot of the dressing gets taken up by the grains!
- Arugula: I used baby arugula for this recipe. If preferred, I’m sure this salad would work with another leafy green like baby kale, spring mix, or baby spinach. Just aim for one that is light and tender, to complement the textures of the other ingredients.
- Parmesan: I recommend using freshly shaved parmigiano-reggiano if you can. It has a really delicious flavour and makes a world of difference compared to pre-packaged parmesan. You can shave it with either a vegetable peeler or a mandolin (just be careful with the mandolin – I actually cut my finger really badly when making this recipe haha!!) If you follow a dairy-free or vegan diet, you can use a dairy-free alternative or omit the parmesan completely.
- Olive Oil: This will be used both to toss the sliced fennel in prior to roasting, and as part of the salad dressing.
- Lemon: Freshly squeezed lemon juice is preferred.
- Garlic Powder: I find garlic powder make a really smooth salad dressing without compromising on flavour, but you can always use minced fresh garlic instead.
Full ingredient measurements and detailed instructions are located in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post!
Step-by-step: how to cut fennel for roasting
Not sure how to cut fennel? I promise you aren’t alone – it’s not the most intuitive vegetable to cut! Follow along with these tips and images below – it’s easier than it looks 🙂
Give the vegetable a good wash under running water. Pat it dry as best you can, then place on a cutting board.
Using a sharp chef’s knife, remove the stems from the bulb. If needed, you can remove the outer leaves of the bulb if they’re overly bruised or damaged.
Next, cut the bulb of the fennel down the middle to create two even pieces.
Then, cut each of those halves into 6 even “wedges.” You should end up with about 12 pieces from one fennel bulb.
TIP: Don’t throw the fronds (i.e. the green pieces that look like dill) away! You can chop them up and throw them in the salad as well for a lower waste option 🙂
Step-by-step: How to roast fennel
Once your fennel is cut (or in the case of this recipe, you will have cut two bulbs of fennel), it’s ready to roast!
Place the cut fennel onto a large baking sheet and toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper until well-coated. Spread the fennel out in a single layer.
Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes at 400F. Your fennel should look lightly browned, caramelized and be tender enough to easily pierce with a fork!
Tips for cooking farro
Another key component of this fennel salad recipe is the cooked farro.
Farro is easy to cook, but sometimes I find that it can end up too mushy if not done properly. Because of this, I have an entire blog post dedicated to how to cook farro perfectly, if you want to check it out!
Essentially, I follow the “pasta method” where I rinse farro in a sieve to clean it, then add it to a pot of boiling water. I let it cook for 15 minutes, then return it to the same sieve to drain it.
Arguably the most important part is to then spread the cooked farro in a single layer on a clean baking sheet. This allows the farro to cool in such a way that it remains chewy and not mushy. You only need to let it sit this way for about 5-10 minutes, or until the rest of the recipe ingredients are ready to go!
Use a sieve the clean farro before cooking AND to drain farro after cooking!
Spread the cooked farro out in a single layer on a baking sheet. This helps to prevent the farro from getting too mushy.
Leftovers of this salad hold up quite wonderfully. You can keep it for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
If you do find that perhaps the farro has absorbed too much of the dressing, feel free to add another drizzle of olive oil to offset any dryness!
Tips for making this salad in advance
To prepare this salad recipe ahead of time (i.e. more than a couple hours in advance), you can:
- Cook the farro as indicated and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Make the salad dressing and store it in an airtight jar in the fridge.
- Prepare and roast the fennel as directed – it tastes great cold too and doesn’t lose it’s texture! Store it in a container in the fridge.
When you’re ready to serve the salad:
- Shave the parmigiano-reggiano – it tastes best when fresh.
- Slice the apple (you don’t want to do this ahead of time or else it will brown)
- Combine in a bowl with the arugula, cooked farro, roasted fennel, and salad dressing!
Fennel nutrition benefits
A one-cup serving of the fennel bulb provides 3 grams of dietary fibre, along with micronutrients like:
- vitamin C
Fennel is also rich in plant compounds with antioxidant properties, helping to fight cellular damage and benefit health overall.
More roasted salad recipes:
- Roasted Pear Salad With Arugula, Walnuts & Gorgonzola
- Roasted Broccoli Salad With Cranberry, Farro & Feta
- Roasted Golden Beet Salad With Quinoa & Parmesan
- Roasted Sweet Potato Salad With Smokey Tahini
- Roasted Pepper Salad With Farro & Goat Cheese
Did you give this Roasted Fennel Salad Recipe a try? Let me know by leaving a comment and recipe rating below!
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Get the Recipe: Roasted Fennel Salad With Apples, Arugula & Farro
- 1 cup farro, dry
- 2 large bulbs fennel
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- 2 medium apples (I used honeycrisp)
- Roughly 1/2 cup parmesan, freshly shaved (I use parmigiano-reggiano)
- 4 cups baby arugula
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 1 tsp garlic powder (or 3-4 cloves, minced)
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F. Bring a pot of water to a boil (to cook farro).
- CUT FENNEL: clean + pat fennels dry. Cut off the stalks and fronds and remove any damaged or browned outer pieces of the bulb. Cut each bulb in half lengthwise (from the cut off end to the bottom). Then, cut each half into 6 even "wedges," resulting in 12 total wedges from one bulb of fennel (or 24 wedges total).TIP: if you'd like to reserve the fronds, you can do so and add them to the salad!
- ROAST FENNEL: Place cut fennel pieces onto a large baking sheet. Toss in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread in an evenly spaced, single layer. Transfer to the heated oven and allow to roast for 25 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned.
- COOK FARRO: according to package directions or by following the "pasta method," which I detail in this blog post (how to cook farro).
- MAKE DRESSING: by adding all dressing ingredients to a jar or small bowl. Shake or whisk together to combine.
- SHAVE PARMESAN: Using a vegetable peeler or a mandolin, shave off pieces of a block of parmigiano-reggiano. Set aside.
- CUT APPLES: Cut apples into quarters and remove the core + seeds. Then, slice each quarter into thin pieces, lengthwise. Then slice each of those pieces in half to make more bite-sized triangles. Set aside.
- COMBINE: To a large mixing bowl, add arugula, cooked farro, roasted fennel, chopped apples, shaved parmesan, and salad dressing. Toss together to combine well, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Serve + enjoy!
- Leftovers of this salad hold up quite wonderfully. You can keep it for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
- If you do find that perhaps the farro has absorbed too much of the dressing, feel free to add another drizzle of olive oil to offset any dryness!
- For a vegan/dairy-free option, choose a dairy-free alternative to parmesan at your local grocery store – there are so many options available nowadays! Otherwise, you can omit the parmesan entirely.
- If you follow a gluten-free diet, please swap the farro with another grain like quinoa. Farro is (unfortunately) not gluten-free. If you’d prefer a grain-free salad, you could do that also! In that case, I would recommend adding less dressing than the recipe calls for as a lot of the dressing gets taken up by the grains.
- Arugula works wonderfully here, but could be swapped with another leafy green like baby kale, spring mix, or baby spinach. Just aim for one that is light and tender, to complement the textures of the other ingredients.
- detailed, step-by-step tips (with images) regarding how to cut and roast fennel
- tips for preparing this recipe in advance (make ahead option)
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know by leaving a recipe rating below, or by tagging @walderwellness on Instagram. I love seeing your beautiful creations!