A simple crunchy and hearty salad of kale, shaved fennel with dried figs. It is the perfect match for a bright, acidic lemon and chive salad dressing. The strong and tangy flavors of the citrus and dijon mustard can stand up to the hearty kale. Shaved fennel adds a light crunch topped with dried figs to create a sweet, tangy and flavorful salad.
I’m on a salad addiction recently. While my salad green of choice is usually arugula, I prefer to use kale for meal prep salads because it stays better in the fridge. For some reason, I NEVER use romaine lettuce because I find it boring! If there’s one thing I hate most, it’s a boring salad! Lately I’ve been working on creating the least boring salads I could think of. From a Grapefruit Arugula Salad to a Vegan Mayo-Less Potato Salad, I promise no snores here!
Fennel is the perfect crunchy vegetable to top a salad! It is a popular vegetable, and actually one of Italy’s most popular ones. Fennel has a bulbous base, stalks and then fronds on top. The entire thing is edible!
How to make a kale fennel and dried fig salad
Making a kale fennel and dried fig salad is only a few easy steps.
STEP ONE: Prepare Kale
STEP TWO: Shave Fennel
STEP THREE: Slice Dried Figs
STEP FOUR: Toss with Dressing
How to prepare kale for a kale fennel salad
The best way to prepare kale for a salad is to remove kale leaves from the stems. While optional, it is easier to eat without stems. The stems are edible but quite tough. The next step is to massage the kale. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon of olive oil over the kale. With clean hands, massage the kale. It will feel softer in your hands after you’ve massaged it for long enough.
How long to massage kale
Only massage the kale until it gets soft. It takes about 15-30 seconds of massaging.
How to prepare fennel for a kale fennel salad
Because fennel has a strong taste and the consistency of celery, I like to thinly slice it. This gives the salad a crunchy texture that takes it to the next level!
To cut fennel, first slice off the fennel stems (or separate the green and white parts). Next, cut the bulb in half. Remove the core by cutting a wedge or triangle-like shape off the bottom. Place each half on a cutting board flat side down. Slice the bulb lengthwise in strips, almost like you would an onion.
How to pick the best fennel
Peak fennel season is from late fall until early spring. When looking for the perfect fennel at the store, choose a smaller, heavy bulb. The bulb should be firm and free of browning or cracks. The fronds should be bright green.
Can I eat fennel fronds?
All parts of fennel are edible except the core (at the bottom).
What does fennel taste like?
Fennel has a mild licorice flavor to taste and consistency of celery.
Making a Salad Dressing for a kale fennel dried fig salad
To balance out this hearty salad, make a bright lemon and chive dressing. It’s bright, acidic and the chives add an extra herbaceous flavor.
You can make this lemon chive salad dressing in advance (a few days before) or at the same time. If you do make this dressing in advance, store in an airtight container in the fridge. Depending on how cold your fridge is, the oil may harden, but that’s okay. Take your salad dressing out of the fridge a little before you need it so that it comes to room temperature.
How to meal prep this salad
To meal prep this salad, keep the dressing separate. Salads always store better without the dressing. If you do pack this one with the dressing it won’t go mushy or wet. Add roasted chickpeas, quinoa, chicken, or any other protein of choice for a full meal prep!
If you have leftovers of this salad with the dressing on it, no problem! Leave in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-days.
SUBSTITUTIONS FOR A KALE FENNEL AND DRIED FIG SALAD
- KALE. I love kale salads (second favorite behind anything with arugula!) because of how hearty they are. If you’re not a fan, substitute kale for any other greens of choice.
- FENNEL. Fennel adds a light crunch to the salad. If the mild licorice flavor doesn’t work for you, try pickled red onions.
- DRIED FIGS. Dried figs add a soft, chewy sweetness to the salad. If you don’t like dried figs, you can try raisins or any other kind of dried fruit.