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This apple fennel salad is light, crisp, and beautifully balanced. It's thinly sliced apple and fennel tossed in a creamy maple dressing and topped with crunchy candied almonds. It's delicious any time of year, and it's ready in just 20 minutes.
This fennel and apple salad is not your typical salad. It's like an elevated coleslaw and it's the perfect healthy side dish for those days when you don't feel like salad greens.
You can't beat the taste and texture of crisp fennel and apples tossed in a simple tangy-sweet dressing with some crunchy candied almonds on top.
It's a salad we love to make in the fall during apple season, but it's delicious any time of year. It pairs especially well with fish and seafood, turkey burgers, and chicken.
How to make apple fennel salad
This fennel and apple salad is a crisp, bright, and flavorful addition to any meal. Here's how to make this in a few easy steps:
- Simmer the almonds, maple syrup, butter, and sea salt until the liquid evaporates. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet to cool.
- Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Easy!
- Toss the sliced fennel and apple with the dressing and top with candied almonds. Dig in!
Apple fennel salad ingredients
You only need a few simple ingredients for this fennel coleslaw. Here's what you need for the candied almonds:
- Roasted almonds – roasting almonds makes them more flavorful which is why we use them instead of raw almonds. Feel free to use raw if that's what you have on hand.
- Maple syrup – maple syrup gives these candied almonds their sweetness. You can also use honey as another natural option.
- Butter – butter gives these nuts a rich flavor and helps prevent them from sticking together. Use a non-dairy alternative if needed.
- Sea salt – to enhance the other flavors and make them pop.
This is what you need for the creamy maple dressing:
- Mayonnaise – mayonnaise gives this dressing a wonderful creaminess. Light mayonnaise works great.
- Maple syrup – we love the rich taste of maple syrup for sweetness but you can also use honey.
- Lemon juice – lemon juice lends acidity and balances out the inherent creaminess of the dressing.
- Salt + black pepper
For the salad, you only need two ingredients.
- Red apple – red apples add nice color to the salad, but you can really use any variety.
- Fennel – fennel has a very mild licorice flavor, with a slightly sweet taste, and a lovely crisp texture.
The thinly sliced fennel and apple add a delicate texture to this salad so we recommend using a mandolin for this, but you can also use a sharp knife.
What to serve with apple fennel salad
This apple and fennel salad is bright, tasty, and super versatile. It tastes delicious with fish, especially salmon, or with a chicken burger.
We like it when the ingredients are really cold so it's a refreshing one to enjoin the summer with a glass of white wine. We also love bringing it to potlucks and picnics as a new and different spin on coleslaw!
Delicious mains to pair with apple fennel salad
Can I make this salad ahead of time?
You can definitely get a head start! Just wait until you're ready to serve the salad to slice the apple and fennel and toss it all together.
You can make the dressing up to three days ahead of time and store it in the fridge in a jar or sealed container until you're ready to use it. You can also make the candied almonds up to a week in advance. Store them on your counter in an airtight container.
Can I use a different type of nut?
Sure! Walnuts and pecans make excellent swaps for almonds in this recipe.
- ½ cup roasted almonds
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon butter
- A pinch of sea salt and pepper
- ¼ cup mayonnaise (can use light)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Sea salt and pepper (to taste)
The Fennel Salad
- 1 red apple (cored and thinly sliced)
- 1 bulb fennel (sliced thin)
- Put a piece of parchment paper on your counter. Add the almonds, maple syrup, butter, salt, and pepper to a small pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil then stir the almonds until the liquid evaporates. Spread the almonds out on the parchment paper and let them cool.2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon butter, A pinch of sea salt and pepper, ½ cup roasted almonds
- Combine dressing ingredients together and set aside.¼ cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, Sea salt and pepper
- Toss fennel and apple with the dressing and top with the candied almonds. You can use the fennel fronds as a garnish, too.1 bulb fennel, 1 red apple
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.