in the spirit of being healthy, since i can’t find the motivation to really hit the gym lately, i’m trying to embrace salads. salads-in-the-winter and i aren’t the best of friends, unless you count a super creamy caesar salad topped with bacon & lots of croutons, but i’m starting to warm up to them. it’s just too damn cold, and produce just tastes too damn bland that i prefer to stick with pasta during these bleak months. but in the spirit of health (and not feeling so sluggish all the time), i’ve really dedicated some time to figuring them out. i’ve realized that to really enjoy a salad, it needs a lot going on. it needs substance and crunch and tang; it needs to be exciting and punchy and a little extra. it also needs to include grains of some sort dotted throughout, so as to ease my mind’s mistrust that i wont be unsatisfied when i’m done.
this salad checks off all the boxes and i’m actually kinda excited about it. it’s mostly lettuce-less , save for a quarter or torn radicchio thrown in (but radicchio is my favourite lettuce so i’m not mad about it), with thin slivers of fennel, celery and apple making up the bulk of it. i love the crunch and the contrast of flavour from the peppery celery and the sweet apple, the hint of anise from the shaved fennel and the heartiness from the handful of nutty, chewy farro thrown in.
now, arguably the most important part of any salad is the toppings and the dressing – what would a salad be without it except for a pile of boring veggies!? i get a little reckless when it comes to toppings – throwing handfulls of whatever i have in my pantry on top – this time it included sunflower seeds, pecans, walnuts and some raisins for a little extra sweetness. i just love the added crunch with every bite! i balanced out my topping heavy hand with a reserved dressing of olive oil and lots of lemon juice and dug right in!
this is a very good salad to ease you (and me!) into having salads as a meal multiple times a week, and i hope you enjoy it as much as i do!
fennel, celery & apple salad
2 half bulb fennel, thinly sliced on a mandolin
2-3 celery ribs, sliced on the diagonal 1/4 inch thick
1/2 gala apple, sliced on mandolin
1/4 head torn radicchio leaves
1 cup cooked & cooled farro
handful of each toasted sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans and raisins
3 tablespoons olive oil
juice of half a large lemon
salt & pepper
toss all ingredients together including olive oil and lemon juice, drizzle with additional olive oil to serve. eat on it’s own or as a side a giant bowl of pasta.