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Orange, Fennel, and Pickled Onion Salad

Fresh fennel, with its faint licorice flavor, sliced very thinly and served raw, is uniquely delicious, and this orange, fennel, and pickled onion salad is absolutely stunning. Orange citrus and sweet-tart pickled red onions provide a lovely balance for the delicate fennel flavor. Fennel, Orange and Pickled Onion Salad | Letty's Kitchen


In our kitchen, fennel is a rarely seen vegetable. In fact, the first time fennel made an appearance on our dinner table was as this tangle of pale green anise-like fennel, sweet oranges, and light pink pickled onions atop a bed of mixed spring greens. Fennel for Fennel, Orange and Pickled Onion Salad

You want to slice the fennel as thinly as possible. Use a sharp knife or culinary mandoline. A no-cry glove is the perfect accessory to keep from cutting your finger on the sharp mandoline blade! (affiliate links)

So the red onion slivers lose their sting, cover them first with boiling water. After a minute or so, pour off the water and marinate the onions in white wine vinegar and spices. Wait an hour, then strain, saving the vinegar to whisk with olive oil for the salad’s vinaigrette dressing.

Orange and fennel are a classic Mediterranean duo. You can give your salad a protein component by tossing in white cannellini beans and maybe some toasted nuts like cashews or pecans.  Quick-pickled red onions for Fennel, Orange and Pickled Onion Salad

When the broad bulbous celery-like fennel showed up in our farm share box, I looked for recipe inspiration on my cookbook shelf. This is an adaptation of a salad with grapefruit, fennel, and pickled onions from Tal Ronnen’s “The Conscious Cook”.

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5 from 1 vote
Orange, Fennel and Pickled Onion Salad
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
3 mins
1 hr
Total Time
15 mins

Serve this flavorful salad as an elegant first course for brunch or dinner. Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Course: Salad
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Keyword: fennel, salad, pickled red onions
Servings: 3 servings.
Calories: 256 kcal
Pickled onions:
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (1-inch) knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced (see note)
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
Salad assembly:
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 fennel bulb , trimmed
  • 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Lettuce greens , torn into bite-size pieces, as needed
To pickle the onions:
  1. Cut the onion in half. Slice thinly, about 1/8-inch thick. Place in a bowl and pour boiling water to cover. Let sit 2 minutes; then drain off the water.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the white wine vinegar, honey, bay leaf, sliced ginger, red pepper flakes, mustard seeds and thyme, if using.
  3. Pour over the drained onion in a stainless steel or glass bowl. Cover and refrigerate, at least one hour.
Assemble the salad:
  1. Slice the fennel as thinly as possible, using a mandolin or a sharp knife.
  2. Peel the orange. Holding over a bowl, remove the segments. Add the orange segments to the fennel, saving the juice. Whisk together the orange juice, the vinegar, olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper to make a vinaigrette.
  3. Sample the pickled onions and add all or a portion to the fennel and oranges.

  4. Dress the fennel, orange and onions with the vinaigrette. Arrange the lettuce on plates. Divide the fennel mixture between the plates and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.
Recipe Notes

Peel ginger by scraping with the back of a spoon—a spoon gets into the crevices between the branching knobs much easier than a paring knife.

Nutrition Facts
Orange, Fennel and Pickled Onion Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 256 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 249mg11%
Potassium 516mg15%
Carbohydrates 38g13%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 29g32%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 300IU6%
Vitamin C 35.7mg43%
Calcium 74mg7%
Iron 1.3mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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