Fennel, Apple & Mint Bean Salad
RECIPE CREATED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH Riverbend Gardens x their csa program
Recipe from memory
Every time I begin the process of creating a recipe with fennel, I always go back to this one memory that I have sitting outside a little Italian trattoria on Fleury street in Montreal.
This little bistro, which is no longer there today, used to have fennel and orange salad with beautiful olive oil and freshly cracked black pepper. The acidity & floral notes of the sliced citrus and the slightly anised flavor of the fennel married in such a refreshing way on muggy Montreal afternoons.
It was a bright salad. Perfectly balanced. Yet incredibly simple. The marking of a chef who knew how to make ingredients shine. I'll never forget it.
While this recipe is not that, the inspiration remains this memory. The chasing of the freshly shaved fennel, the mild licorice flavor, the floral notes, the acidity & the fruitiness.
Bean salad can be made with other things too
While the fennel - apple - mint combination sure gets me excited for fennel season, I have made bean salad with a variety of other produce in the past. Some notable combinations include: kohlrabi - apple - dill and carrot - celery - red onion. It really depends what you have kicking around.
The dressing is incredibly adaptable.
Apple cider vinegar, olive oil & sea salt can be used as the base of many-a-saucy-salad. Some ideas for experimenting: thyme & marjoram or basil & garlic scapes.
MAKES 2 PORTIONS | 4 SIDES
1 fennel bulb
1 apple (we like pink lady)
1 handful of spinach
2 C kidney beans
3-4 sprigs of mint
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1/2 C olive oil
1 t honey
1 t sea salt
Prep 15 Mins
Cook your kidney beans in a pressure cooker (we used the instant pot) for 15 mins on high. (Alternatively you can cook them on the stove top for about 40 mins or used well rinsed & drained canned beans)
Chop the apple & fennel (including the celery like tops & some of the fronds) into bite size pieces and add them to a large bowl
Chop the spinach & mint finely and add them in.
Once your beans are tender, give them a good rinse in cold water to cool them off before adding them to the rest of the ingredients.
Dissolve the honey & salt in the vinegar, then add the oil. Incorporate in the salad, toss well & serve.
If you’re going to be making this for tomorrow’s lunch, we suggest you make a second batch of dressing & grab a few extra mint leaves as the beans & apples tend to soak it all up.
zero waste tips
Keep the fennel fronds to use in this delicious yogurt dip!