Peppery Spring Salad

Peppery Spring Salad


It was going to be a lunch for one.  Because I decided to pop in to the office for an hour or two to finish some work (I don’t normally work Thursdays), my husband spent the bulk of the day with one of his buddies.  By the time  my weekend officially started at 1 pm, I was famished.  I had some shopping to do for dinner and as I threw each item from my list into my shopping basket, an idea for lunch formed.

Despite the mildly overcast conditions I wanted to eat fresh and light rather than heavy and hearty.  I saw beautiful bunches of asparagus (my favorite vegetable) and some fennel bulbs (a relatively-new love) and while I normally like both roasted, I had in mind something different to do with them today.  Before long, I had all I needed for dinner and for my late lunch.

What made me think I didn’t like fennel in my 20s I’ll never know.  I stayed away from them for so long and now, it seems, I’m making up for lost time.  On the nights that I serve roast vegetables fennel is now always on the list.  I’ve only branched out to eating them raw recently and really like them this way.  In my salad for one I didn’t bother to blanch the asparagus either.  The young, tender spears were wonderful as-is.

I let the raw asparagus and sliced fennel soak in a simple dressing of fresh lemon juice and very fruity olive oil.  Waiting at least 30 minutes before serving the salad marinates the vegetables and tenderizes them a little.  Rounding out the cast, simple butter beans (that I normally marinate in oil and vinegar and serve as appetizers) offered a nice textural contrast to the crisp vegetables.  For the peppery component, I threw in some radish sprouts and  watercress.  Topped with Parmesan shavings, this is one of the best salads I’ve prepared in a while.

I loved it.

And my husband did, too.  I saved a few bites for him to taste when he got home and he promptly requested that I make it for him tomorrow.  No problem.  It will be our lunch.  I have a feeling I’ll be making this salad all spring long.


Peppery Spring Salad-2

Peppery Spring Salad-3


5.0 from 5 reviews
Peppery Spring Salad
Each bite of this wonderfully fresh salad delivers a taste of spring.
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1
  • 4-6 asparagus spears, uncooked, tough ends removed
  • ½ fennel bulb, uncooked, core removed and sliced thinly
  • 1 handful sprouted radish seeds
  • 1 small handful watercress
  • A few butter beans (or canned cannellini beans)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fruity olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • Juice of half a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved
  • Kosher salt, pinch
  1. Combine the asparagus, fennel slices, olive oil, lemon juice and salt in a shallow bowl and let marinate for around 30 minutes. This is not absolutely necessary but makes the salad better in my opinion.
  2. After the wait time, add the butter beans to the bowl and toss. Transfer to a plate and top with the sprouted radish seeds, watercress (if using) and shaved Parmesan. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.
Adjust the proportions according to your taste. There is no fixed formula here--very easy to adjust for more servings.


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  1. Beautiful and great idea to let vegetables marinate first.

  2. I adore raw fennel – my favourite trick is dropping slices in iced water to crisp them up! This salad looks beautiful…and those butterbeans are huge!

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      I’ll have to try that–thanks for the tip! I love these huge beans; so good as an appetizer. 🙂 Glad you like the salad!

  3. OMG – GREAT photo!! I love following your blog – your food photography is simple fantastic. Thank you for the inspiration! Michele over at Our Italian Table

  4. What a perfect salad for spring – so fresh and easy! Love the light and bright photos :).

  5. Gorgeous! I am thinking Easter side dish!

  6. So pretty and Springlike in feeling! I love salads with raw veggies and with the marinade-oh yum! I would love a plate of salad like this one for lunch 😉

  7. A refined and exquisite spring salad!



  8. Love how simple it is to make, yet looks so elegant! 🙂

  9. This salad looks fresh and bright – perfect for spring!
    It’s funny how our taste buds change as we age. 😀

  10. what a beautiful and simple salad. I’m craving food like this. Bring on springtime!

  11. I really enjoy asparagus in the spring time, your salad looks light and healthy.

  12. Jean: what a refreshing flavor combination! Yes, fennel rocks. Your photos are always so vibrant.

  13. I love this salad!!! What a stunning combinations of lovely flavors. You hit this one out of the ball park. Beautiful photos!

  14. This salad looks so refreshing and almost too beautiful to devour 🙂

  15. This looks so springy! 🙂 And I also love the idea of marinating veggies. I don’t really likes veggies at all so maybe marinating would help.

  16. I love adding shaved fennel to my salad but when it comes to asparagus, well, let’s just say we’re not good friends. I’ll have to try your version of marinating it first, maybe, maybe.

  17. Lovely, healthful, tasty – these are just some words that pop to my head when I saw this salad. I don’t think I can find a more suitable salad for spring…although we are still in winter here in Toronto (forecast for 10 cm snow on Monday)! Yikes!

    P.S. we have the same dish…from Pier 1?

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Hi, Jen! I picked up this dish at Home Goods. It was the only one around and was dismayed to discover a chip on the rim when I got home. This is why I couldn’t do full plate shots. 🙂 If Pier 1 has this plate will have to check it out–would love to have a second piece. 🙂

  18. What a gorgeous combination for a Spring salad! Can’t wait till it warms up around here.

  19. Such a simple beauty! Enjoy with eyes first for sure, and this salad looks very delicious. I bought bunch of fruity olive oil from Carmel the other day. I got cara cara orange and blood orange and I can totally imagine they would go well with this salad. And I was going to try fennel bulb for salad (I only use for stews and soups). I really love the look of this salad….

  20. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    I’m in love with this salad. It is spring and lovely and healthy and I want to eat it every day!


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