Once you try this salad, you may become totally hooked on it like I did. This simple salad has been a hit with everyone who has eaten it! I tried it once and then made it a few dozen more times—it is so good! It’s just a little bit different from your average salad. I really enjoy its interesting taste and texture and could have this several times a week without ever tiring of it.
Fennel is an intriguing vegetable. Looking a little like celery with a bulging bottom, fennel is a delicious, crunchy, slightly sweet vegetable with a slight taste of licorice. It is a refreshing and interesting addition to salads and other dishes. Fennel actually has medicinal properties and is known for its unique ingredient, anethole. This volatile oil contains powerful phytochemicals that reduce inflammation and fight cancer. Fennel oil also helps protect the liver from toxic chemical injury—so if you or someone you know is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, fennel can be very beneficial.
Fennel also contains large amounts of vitamin C, folate, and potassium. Enjoy its sweet, crunchy (slightly licorice-y) flavor in salads or by itself as something different to munch on.
Arugula, like the other cruciferous vegetables in its family tree, also has powerful cancer fighting compounds in it. Arugula contains a group of anti-cancer compounds known as glucosinolates. These compounds are highly active antioxidants and they stimulate natural detoxifying enzymes in the body.
Similar to other dark green leafy vegetables, arugula is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, magnesium and potassium that help lower blood pressure and keep bones healthy. It’s a good source of iron for healthy red blood cells, and contains plenty of other important phytochemicals such as carotenes and chlorophyll, making it an excellent source of antioxidants as well. For milder tasting arugula, buy the baby arugula, or for more pungent flavor, buy the larger, mature leaves.
The thin, shaved slices of fennel are easiest to do on a good mandoline, or you can use a good, sharp chef’s knife to cut very, very thin slices. Variations on this recipe are delicious, too. I made this the first time without the zucchini and added in some delightful, nutty flavored, raw Swiss Gruyere (Whole Foods carries this) cheese and it was incredible!
1 medium-large zucchini, sliced into paper thin coins
2 small fennel bulbs, green parts trimmed off, and shaved paper-thin
2/3 cup loosely chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, give or take1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, adjust if desired
Freshly ground sea salt
4 or 5 generous handfuls arugula
½ cup sliced or chopped almonds, walnuts or pine nuts
Parmigiana Reggiano, or raw Gruyere, shaved
Combine the zucchini, fennel and dill in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Set aside for 20 minutes or more, to allow flavors to mingle with the veggies.
Put arugula in a large bowl. Dump the zucchini, fennel, dill and dressing on the arugula, and toss gently but thoroughly. Taste and adjust with more of the dressing, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, or salt if desired. If the dressing tastes too sour to you, add a drizzle of honey into the salad mixture. Serve topped with your choice of nuts and cheese. Serves 4.
Till next time,
Stay Healthy and Lean!