Warm chickpea fennel salad
There something wonderful about warm salads; maybe it’s the way certain vegetables soak up and take on flavors so well, like celery or fennel. Or maybe it’s because they tend to almost taste like stews, giving us a comforting feeling. When eaten raw, fennel has a very strong and assertive anise taste, but cook it until tender, and it becomes mild and much more easy to pair with. It’s a terrific vegetable that’s underused by most people because there isn’t a lot of information about it out there. It’s only recently that eating food for pleasure (as opposed to only sustenance) has become such a prominent part of our lives.
Kale is a great example of a leafy vegetable that didn’t become famous until recently. But go to any Brooklyn restaurant these days and you’ll easily find kale salad on the menu! Making something as simple as this warm chickpea fennel salad can be a way to introduce this perennial plant to your family!
I adore the combination of fennel and citrus like orange or lemon, but I also love a little heat and salt with it. This chickpea fennel salad makes a good substantial side as it contains beans and bacon. Chickpeas are a wonderful source of fiber and protein, and have a low glycemic index, which means they help control your weight. Eating as little as 1/2 cup of chickpea a day helps you feeling full and eat less calories! We like that! And how about that fennel; high in vitamin C and antioxidants (phytochemicals such as anethole, ruting and quercetin), both essential to repairing damaged skin tissue, makes it a powerful anti-aging food.
This fennel salad pairs extremely well with fish (such as this tuna with tomato relish recipe - a very popular recipe on my site) or as a side to a big bowl of vegetable soup. I must admit that I’ve also eaten this salad for breakfast.. I’ll usually have yogurt with fresh chopped fruit but I can’t resist bacon when it’s combined with other favorite ingredients of mine!
Oh and remember how I said I really liked the combination of fennel and orange? Here’s another recipe option for you to try – a fennel apple orange salad that’s beyond refreshing!
- 1 fennel bulb, core removed, finely sliced into half moons
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 small can (15oz) chickpeas
- 4 slices bacon, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp chili pepper flakes
- ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- handful fresh parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Drain the chickpeas and leave in strainer until ready to use.
- In a large pan over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic and chili pepper flakes. Let cook for a minute then add bacon. Cook for 3-5 minutes until almost crispy. Add fennel and half of the chicken broth, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Slowly add the remaining stock while stirring, add chickpeas and cook for a minute. Serve with fresh parsley.