Recipe: Radish and fennel spring bean salad

4 ingredients in and I can already tell the biggest bowl in the kitchen is going to be way too small...
4 ingredients in and I can already tell the biggest bowl in the kitchen is going to be way too small…

Making up this recipe was basically an excuse to buy radishes. They’re such a sign of the season, I’ve been seeing them at the market whenever I go, but I haven’t bought any in ages! I figured their sharp flavor would go nicely with fennel (which is not quite in season yet…oops) and perk up my lunchtime dose of vegetarian protein, beans! I try to restrict my meat eating to once at day at most, and pulses are a great way to fill out a meal with some fiber and protein.

Pretty colors!
Pretty colors!

Odes to the bean aside, I’m quite happy with how this turned out. The radishes are pretty, fennel is as delightful raw as it is cooked, and the beans and feta add some substance and chew to a fairly light and crunchy salad.


Radish and Fennel Spring Bean Salad

Yield: 4-5 servings.

Adapted from Simply Recipes and The New York Times.

1 14-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 14-oz can fava/broad beans, drained and rinsed
4-5 spring onions, chopped
1/2 large English cucumber (about 200 g), chopped
1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs
1 bunch (about 250 g) small radishes, greens removed
Juice of 2-3 lemons (about 1/3 c)
1 tsp Dijon or wholegrain mustard
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
200 g feta or chevre
Salt and pepper to taste

Add beans to a (very) large bowl along with chopped spring onions and cucumber. Remove fronds and end from fennel. Using a vegetable peeler or chef’s knife, shave radishes and fennel into thin slices. (You may want to cut larger fennel slices into smaller pieces.) Add to bowl.

In a mug or small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, mustard, and fennel seeds. Thin with water or olive oil if you don’t think you have enough dressing to cover your vegetables. Pour over salad and stir to combine thoroughly. For best results, let chill in fridge, stirring occasionally, for a few hours.

Before serving, add crumbled/chopped feta or chevre and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fennel fronts if desired.

Serving suggestion: over salad greens (I got Aldi’s cheapest mix this week, but arugula or baby spinach would be ideal), possibly with an extra drizzle of lemon juice or a nice extra-virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.


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