Do you like to try new food? Trying new flavors and ingredients is one of my favorite things to do. It’s an accessible way to experience something different and taste other cultures. Which brings me to fennel. Growing up in Korea, I never saw or even heard of fennel. To me, it’s an exotic plant. What got me hooked on it was a fennel-flavored toothpaste. Every time I brushed my teeth, I couldn’t get enough of how tasty it was. So when I found fennel bulbs at my neighborhood Trader Joe’s, I immediately grabbed some.
When preparing something unfamiliar, I prefer to go the easiest route. I want to know if I like the new ingredient before investing too much effort. So I decided to make a salad. Easy enough. The real challenge was how to get my toddler to enjoy the meal. Munchkin isn’t the pickiest eater, but fennel salad felt like pushing the boundary.
There is something magical about separating ingredients. All of a sudden it becomes toddler-approved. I have no idea why separated food is better than harmoniously complex combinations, but I know Munchkin isn’t unique in this matter. And when I deconstructed the salad, it turned out that majority of the ingredients were Munchkin’s preferred food. I also added cream cheese sandwiches to her plate.
At first, Munchkin was only eating pomegranate seeds and cream cheese, but with a little bit of encouragement, she started tasting other foods too. She ended up eating all the cream cheese (minus the bread), pomegranate seeds, tangerines, and half of the apple. And she spat out the fennel.
The salad recipe is adapted from Epicurious. I used fennel, iceberg lettuce, apple, tangerine, and pomegranate seeds. The refreshing taste and crunchy texture would make a great summer salad.
Some products I love
Bumkins Grip Dish: This vibrant green 3 compartment dish makes it fun to separate foods for Munchkin.
Kiddobloom Kids Stainless Steel Utensil Set: Munchkin loves these stainless steel utensils that look similar to mommy’s utensils.
Bumkins SuperBib: I love these bibs so much. They are super light and comfortable while catching food spillage very well. They dry fast too. I can hand wash in the sink after use, and they’ll be ready by next meal time.
(If you buy from these links, it won’t cost you a penny more, but I’ll get a small compensation. 😙)
If you enjoyed this post, also check out my blissful veggie bibimbap.
Fennel Fruit Salad
Refreshing and crunchy salad with fennel, lettuce, pomegranate, apple, and tangerine. Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free
- 1 fennel bulb halved & very thinly sliced
- 6 leaves iceberg lettuce torn to pieces
- 2 apples halved, cored, & thinly sliced
- 4 tangerines thinly sliced
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 shallot minced
- 1 lemon juice
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- pepper to taste
Place olive oil, shallot, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, and pepper in a sealed container and shake vigorously to combine.
Toss fennel, lettuce, apple with the dressing above. Top with tangerine and pomegranate seeds.