This fennel apple salad is a perfect gluten-free and vegan-friendly healthy side dish that only takes 10 mins to put together. So crunchy and yummy!

Fennel Apple Salad

Spinach and spring mix salads are exciting for only so long. So, what else can you turn to when you need a quick and healthy side dish? This fennel apple salad recipe is the answer (and if you ask me, it’s one to bookmark).

Fresh, crunchy, tasty, and sweet, this fennel salad combines the perfect variety of flavors and textures: featuring crunchy walnuts, celery, crisp apples, and a honey vinaigrette. It’s vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and requires only nine ingredients.

If you’re new to cooking with fennel, don’t be intimidated by this delicious bulb. It’s quick and easy to slice. When eaten raw, it adds the perfect crunch and slightly sweet flavor to salads and all kinds of side dishes.

If this is your first time cooking with fennel or making a fennel salad, I’ve included step-by-step instructions on how to slice fennel below. Perhaps you’ll be motivated to incorporate it into your recipes more often! As a bonus, fennel is said to help stimulate digestion and soothe digestive discomfort. You can never go wrong eating more ingredients to support your gut health.

Fennel Apple Salad with Honey Vinaigrette and Walnuts

What Does Fennel Taste Like?

Fennel tastes similar to star anise, with slight hints of licorice. It has an herbal, sweet taste and crunchy texture that pairs well with apples, beets, olives, any type of citrus, fresh herbs like dill or thyme, brussels sprouts, pomegranate, cranberries, goat cheese, and cucumber—just to name a few.

New to Using Fennel in Your Recipes? How to Slice Fennel Step by Step

Here’s how to slice fennel. I use a regular kitchen knife, but if you have a mandoline, you can use that to thinly slice a fennel bulb.

  1. Cut off the fennel fronds (the stems above the bulb that look similar to celery stalks with dill attached). You can use both the bulb and fronds in this fennel apple salad for maximum flavor (and convenience). The fronds are described as having a delicate, slightly sweet taste that can be used in place of dill or other herbs. If you choose not to include them in this recipe, you can either discard them or keep them and use them alongside other herbs in recipes for soups and pasta sauces.
  2. Cut off the root at the end of the fennel bulb and discard.
  3. Remove the tough outer layers and discard them.
  4. Slice down the center of the fennel bulb and cut into thin slices, as you would an onion. Now your fennel is ready to use. 

How to Make This Fennel Apple Salad Perfectly Every Time

Making this salad will be one of the easiest things you do this week. Did I mention it only takes 10 minutes of prep time?

Step One: Get out your cutting board and slice the apple, fennel bulb, celery, and fennel fronds (which are optional, but recommended). Place in a large bowl. If using whole walnuts, toast them, chop, and set them aside.

Step Two: Add the extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, honey, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper to the bowl to make the vinaigrette. Toss, then garnish with the chopped walnuts. That’s it! You can chill the salad for 20 minutes before serving or serve it on chilled plates. That always adds a nice restaurant-quality touch.

What to Pair With Fennel Apple Salad

Non-Vegetarian Options

This salad is one of my favorite recipes to pair with pork, and it’s a great side dish to bring to barbecues of any kind. Here are a few of my pork recipe recommendations to surprise and delight whoever you’re cooking for (even if it’s just yourself).

Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin (Jamaican Jerk Style)
Smoky Bacon Baked Pork Chops
Sous Vide Baby Back Ribs With Honey-Spiced BBQ Sauce
Pork Tenderloin With Sundried Tomatoes and Capers

Herb-Crusted Pork Cutlets

Vegetarian or Vegan Options

If you or your guests aren’t meat eaters, you could serve this fennel apple salad with grilled tofu or even add chickpeas to the recipe to make it more filling. Goat cheese or parmesan are also delicious additions.

To make this recipe 100% vegan, substitute maple syrup or coconut nectar for honey in the vinaigrette.

Fennel and Apple Salad with Honey Vinaigrette and Walnuts

Don’t Have All of the Ingredients for This Fennel Apple Salad? Try These Substitutes.

This fennel apple salad recipe is easy to customize, especially with foods in season year-round. Since fennel is pretty versatile, there are many ingredients you can use to keep this salad fun, fresh, and in-season. As long as you have the main ingredients, fennel and apples, there’s no limit to what you can create.

For a spring or summer salad, blueberries or strawberries would be great additions. For a winter salad, orange slices, cranberries, and pomegranate seeds pair well.

For the nut options, you can use chopped pecans or slivered almonds instead of walnuts. If your heart desires a tangier, zesty dressing, you could also add lemon juice and/or Dijon mustard to the vinaigrette. Want more greens? Serve this fennel apple salad over a bed of arugula.

Play around with the ingredients and see what you come up with. Don’t forget to share your own creations with me in the comments. I love to see them!

Fennel and Apple Salad with Honey Vinaigrette
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Fennel Apple Salad with Honey Vinaigrette and Walnuts

Crunchy Fennel Apple Salad with Honey Vinaigrette and Walnuts

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 6 reviews
  • Author: Sharon Chen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: American
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This fennel apple salad is a gluten-free and vegan-friendly healthy side dish that only takes 10 mins to put together. So crunchy and yummy!


Units Scale
  • 1 small Granny Smith apple or another crisp variety, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Fresh thyme leaves or fennel fronds (optional)
  • 1 ounce walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped


  1. Combine thinly sliced apple, fennel, and celery in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then dress with olive oil, vinegar, and honey. Toss well and adjust the flavor by adding more vinegar and/or honey if desired.
  2. Garnish with fresh thyme or fennel fronds (if using) and top the salad with toasted walnuts. Enjoy!


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 157
  • Sugar: 9.3g
  • Sodium: 38mg
  • Fat: 11.8g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 12.8g
  • Fiber: 2.7g
  • Protein: 1.7g

About the Author

Sharon Chen is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, an author and a sous vide fanatic who believes food not only brings healing but also connection. As the creator of StreetSmart Kitchen, she's on a mission to help you find balance, ease, joy, and simplicity in the kitchen as you improve your well-being.