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Zesty Fennel, Cucumber and Chive Salad

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Over the past few years, fennel has a reserved spot my vegetable bin. Its versatility, carminative properties, and cooling energy has made it a weekly produce staple. When in season, I pick up a small to medium size bulb to incorporate half into a bitter-tart-sweet-slightly pungent juice, while using the stalk and fronds in homemade bone broths and the other half to roast with other seasonal veggies or shaved in a salad.

From it’s seeds to flowers, fennel is used in many cultures around the globe. Commonly known as a digestive aid, fennel is cooling for the body. It is also a diuretic, helps with internal spasms and is considered a carminative herb. I wrote about the benefits of fennel if you would like to learn about it in more detail, click here.

This week, I was craving a slaw-like salad. Something with a little crunch that felt cooling, was refreshing, with a touch of pungent and bitter tastes for balance and did not involve any lettuce. Apparently, all the ingredients also had to be green and white! I guess the colors are illustrative of the season.  With warming shades of red, orange and yellow fading away and cooling shades of detoxifying green taking center stage. Green is often a clue that the inherent energy or virya of the vegetable will be cooling. It’s not always 100%, for example, mustard greens are heating, but in general, the color can serve as a good rule of thumb (one of those fun facts I picked up when I was getting my Ayurveda Wellness Counselor certificate).

This simple salad is sort of like a kachumber, a salad meant to compliment a main course. It usually lasts for a couple days and marinades in it’s own juices, while retaining a crunch. My intention was to enjoy it over the next few days with my meals, but my belly had a plan of it’s own. Needless to say, I ate most of what is pictured here for lunch with 1/2 a serving left for my next meal. Ce la vie!

Cooling Fennel, Cucumber & Chive Salad

servings: 2 |  time: 20 mins

Dosha: KPV
Season: Spring, Summer
Tastes: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Astringent, Bitter
What you need: a zester and a mandolin or a sharp knife or the slicer side of a grater.

  • 1 small fennel bulb, stalks and fronds
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 Persian cucumbers or 1 cucumber
  • 1 T finely chopped chives or 2 T thinly sliced scallions (green part only)
  • 2 T chopped cilantro (including the stems)
  • 1/2 serranno chili thinly sliced

Dressing

  • 1 navel orange juiced
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest (dried) or zest of 1 orange
  • splash of extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • sea salt or pink rock salt to taste
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1. Use a mandolin to slice the fennel bulb and stalks, cucumber and celery stalks. If you don’t have a mandolin, thinly slice all three or use the slicer of a grater. If you plan on enjoying this slaw-like salad for a few days, I would recommend hand slicing the cucumber so it’s a little thicker. This will help retain it’s crunch factor and release less water.

2. In a medium-size bowl, toss the sliced fennel (including fronds), celery and cucumber with the chives or scallion greens, cilantro, juice of 1 navel orange, orange zest, apple cider vinegar, green chili, pinch of salt or to taste and a big pinch of fresh ground black pepper. Let marinade for about 5-10 minutes and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.as

  • mix in a dollop of labni or strained yogurt for a touch of creaminess
  • turn it into a lettuce wrap by scoping  a spoonful in  a piece of butter lettuce
  • add it to a wrap or sandwich for a little crunch
  • serve it over a slice of smoked salmon or broiled fish

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. The information is not intended for use in the medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.

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