This salad has a variety of textures and flavors that will add variety to your plant-based diet. Not to mention it's incredibly colorful, enough to brighten up the dreariest of afternoons. The carrots and fennel are crunchy, and blend with the soft and flavorful avocado. A bright ginger citrus tahini dressing pairs beautifully with the subtle anise flavor of the fennel. While there is a bit of slicing to do for this salad, it's incredibly easy to assemble and make. You don't even need to toss this salad together, just throw it on the plate and drizzle the dressing (itself simple as can be - whisk it together in seconds).
What I particularly love about this salad is how versatile it is. If you don't have fennel, celery is a great substitute. Or you can try apples for a very different taste, with a bit of sweetness. The tahini dressing with this ginger flavoring tastes wonderful with green apples.
Slicing the carrots
I recommend creating ribbons or very thin slices using a vegetable peeler. You can create ribbons using the slicing blade of a vegetable spiralizer, or using the peeler tool similar to the one below:
If you use a peeler, you can either run it down the full length of the carrot for more of a ribbon, or you can peel diagonally across the carrot (as shown above) for a shorter "chip". Either option creates a very nice thin slice that tastes best in this salad.
About the ingredients: fennel
Fennel is a bulb that has a similar texture to celery. The taste has a slightly anise note to it, and is overall more bright and flavorful than celery despite its texture resemblance. Fennel has a large stalk and fronds that resemble dill in appearance. Fennel can be eaten raw, as it is in this salad, or cooked in meals such as stews, stir fry, or soups. Fennel is a great source of protein, fiber, and a number of essential vitamins and minerals. To learn more about fennel, refer to this article on Wikipedia.
For this recipe you want to slice the fennel. To do so, you will first remove the stalks and fronds from the top, cut the base off the fennel bulb, and then cut the bulb in half. Remove the core of the fennel, which is quite tough, and then you can slice the remaining fennel bulb into thing strips. See this resource from Better Homes & Gardens for directions with pictures.
You can also use the fronds to add flavor to your salad. Remove the small leafy part of the top of the fennel, and dice the fronds really fine to garnish the top of the salad. Fennel fronds add a lot of the anise-like fennel flavor.
Substitutions and suggestions
Most of the ingredients in this recipe are easy to find in most grocery stores year-round. Sometimes it is more difficult to find fennel. If this is the case, you could substitute celery, cucumber, or even apples. Any of these ingredients would go very well with the rest of the salad ingredients. Celery has a very similar texture to fennel.
If you do not have, or care for, jalapeno but still want some spice you could add cayenne, crushed red pepper flakes, or even hot sauce to the dressing. The ginger can be swapped with minced garlic.
If you do not have tahini, you could substitute another natural nut butter. Depending on its consistency you may want to use a food processor to mix it, adding a bit of water if needed, as tahini is generally quite runny and as such easy to whisk.
The salad dressing can easily be thinned out with a bit more lemon, and of course will work for any green salad that you make.
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