This fast and easy Italian garden salad recipe is made with your favorite salad greens and crunchy fennel then drizzled with a lemony parmesan vinaigrette for the perfect side dish.
You can’t go wrong with a simple salad as a side for your dinner table. This Italian Garden Salad with Fennel uses simple, accessible ingredients, but if you aren’t familiar with fennel, it adds crunch, texture, and fiber! Slightly sweet like licorice and crunchy like celery, it adds a mild anise flavor that pairs perfectly with the sweet tomatoes and spicy red onions. I love drizzling with a lemony parmesan vinaigrette that can we whipped up quickly, but a store-bought Italian dressing would work well, too!
- Romaine lettuce: Romaine is crunchy and mild in flavor, and an accessible and affordable green.
- Tomatoes: I like to use grape or cherry tomatoes for a juicy pop of sweet flavor in this salad.
- Red onion: Pairs well with the fennel to make this crunchy salad burst with a balance of flavors.
- Fennel: Wonderfully crunchy, mildly tastes of anise, and a great source of protein and potassium.
- Lemon juice: It should come as no surprise that I love to use lemon juice when making my own salad dressings.
- Garlic: Nutty and aromatic addition to the salad dressing.
- Olive oil: Heart healthy and mild taste to make the base of the dressing.
- Parmesan Cheese: A delicious hard cheese that is slightly salty and nutty to finish off the dressing.
How to Make Italian Garden Salad with Fennel
Start your Italian garden salad by washing and drying your produce. Then roughly chop your romaine lettuce.
Then thinly slice your red onion and fennel, and cut your cherry tomatoes in half and toss all your salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
Then make your lemon garlic vinaigrette by first grating your garlic into a small bowl using a microplane.
Next add your fresh lemon juice in with the garlic.
And sprinkle in the parmesan cheese.
Then whisk in your olive oil until it’s fully combined and no longer separated.
Finish off the dressing by seasoning with some salt and pepper to taste.
Drizzle your vinaigrette dressing over your salad, garnish with any fresh herbs you might have on hand (like fresh basil), and enjoy your Italian Garden Salad with Fennel!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can fennel be eaten raw?
Yes, it adds great crunch and flavor to your salads and dishes! It also tastes great sautéed with some onions, as cooking it sweetens the flavor.
How do you cut fennel for a salad?
Every part of the fennel bulb is edible, so it’s really a preference thing of what you want to include. Typically I cut off the fronds and the stalk and remove the root end. Once I’m left with the bulb, I cut it into quarters and slice thinly into the size I want them, peeling apart the layers..
More Salad Recipes
- Spicy Lebanese Salad
- Greek Herb Salad with Feta
- Orange, Fennel, and Red Onion Salad
- Smashed Chickpea Salad with Dill
- Wedge Salad with Bacon & Blue Cheese Dressing
Eat It, Like It, Share It!
Did you try this salad and like it? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your dish.
If you haven’t tried fennel before, then this Italian Garden Salad is a great way to introduce it to your family!
Your fork is waiting.
Italian Garden Salad with Fennel
- 8 cups romaine (roughly chopped)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
- ½ cup red onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 bulb fennel (thinly sliced (core removed))
Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette
- 1 lemon (juiced)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (grated)
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Place your salad ingredients (lettuce through fennel) in a large bowl. To that bowl, add all of the vinaigrette ingredients and toss well; serve immediately. Alternatively, you can whisk together the vinaigrette in a separate bowl and drizzle before serving.