dandelion greens with shaved fennel, celery and parsley

dandelion salad with shaved fennel, celery and parsley

There was a time when fennel made me gag. In fact, I can’t believe the 180 I’ve done here, going from unadulterated hatred of all things fennel, to actually craving it. I’ve been told these things are not uncommon, that your palate does a shift every seven years or so, and I thank mine for letting me enjoy fresh fennel, shaved thinly in salads.

The salad is deceptively simple and yet it is a bit genius – everything in it works and does so beautifully. Sometimes, I fall deeply in love with a dish and can’t stop making it. I become a bit like a broken record as I cook the same thing over and over. Such is the case with this salad. I’ve had versions of it in a few places, most recently over glasses of wine at Lela Bar in the West Village, but their version didn’t offer dandelion greens or celery. Generously doused with olive oil, lemon juice and sprinkled with sea salt, shaved fennel mixed with parsley. Elsewhere, and quite some time ago, I had something that was shaved celery and parsley with sea salt and olive oil and lemon juice. The salad was celestial, but it disappeared off the menu after a week and I never saw it again. I kept thinking about making it at home, but of course, with so many things in the Sassy Radish kitchen, we’re on a bit of a time delay. The comforting glow of office fluorescent lighting has a particular allure.

shaved fennel

I know I blame everything on work and am afraid must use my my-work-ate-all-my-free-time-and-is-keeping-me-busier-than-imaginable excuse again. I love you, dear readers, and love that you come in this little space to read my somewhat fragmented thoughts, but work, being that it allows me to pay rent and have a roof over my head and have this wee site for you and me to congregate around, takes precedence over time in the kitchen. Or writing. Le sigh.

In any case, this salad. Run, don’t walk to make it. Unless you think fennel is vile. In which case, maybe try it without fennel? But if you do like fennel, this salad is for you. Also – a word about dandelion greens. Have you ever had them? I’ve been eating them since I was a child, but they haven’t caught on in the US until fairly recently. Please try them – they’re like a chewier and more exciting version of spinach. No, I’m lying – they’re nothing like spinach – they are way, way better. I wouldn’t think of using anything else here to offset the fennel and the celery.

dandelion greens

I made a very generous portion of this for my Sunday supper, which was the same night that this cake and this chicken made an appearance. The whole dinner was a home run. It all worked. And this salad – disappeared in minutes. Nothing left. Second plates for all. I mean, who does that with salad and gets into a tizzy over a bit of green on your plate? Right? It’s got to be good to have this kind of appeal. And it is.

Now, I won’t tell you how much olive oil and lemon juice to add. That is between you and your taste buds, my lovelies. I think that more dressing is lovely, but a restrained amount can work too. Personally, I use one lemon and juice it, but you might find that too acidic and opt for half a lemon. That’s okay too. I also just pour my olive oil over it for a few seconds, add lemon juice, sprinkle some salt and then toss. The trick is to use the best olive oil you can get your hands on. And that stuff can get expensive. While normally I wouldn’t tell you to go and spend lots of money on such things, here’s where it’ll really make a difference. Good olive oil will transform your salad into something totally different so you might want to use more of it. You might want it to coat your salad a bit thicker, or not. Either way, you can’t screw this up. Unless you use bad oil. In which case, you might wonder why I’m jabbering about a plateful of greens for six paragraphs.

dandelion salad with shaved fennel, celery and parsley

I was only sad I didn’t make more of it. I mean (suppressed sob!) I only got one (one!!!) plate and let my guests have seconds. But secretly, in my own head, what I really wanted to do was grab the salad bowl and steal away into the bedroom and eat the whole thing by myself. So much for fennel and gagging.

Dandelion Greens with Shaved Fennel, Celery and Parsley

1 bunch dandelion greens, washed dried and torn up into large’ish pieces
1 bulb shaved fennel (shaved on the mandolin)
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced (paper-thin)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

extra virgin olive oil (best quality you have)
lemon juice
fleur de sel


Wash and dry the dandelion greens and tear them into large’ish chunks (or cut them, but I prefer the messy look of tearing).

On a mandolin, on a thin setting (I cannot recall which on mine, but play around with yours) shave the fennel into paper thin slices. Cut your celery paper thin as well and chop your parsley, leaves and stems.

Combine in a bowl and mix together. Pour a couple of glugs of olive oli and add juice of half a lemon. Sprinkle a bit of salt and toss together. If you want more dressing, add a bit more olive oil and lemon juice. Adjust dressing and salt to your liking. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.


  • Claire

    Like you I adore fennel – my mother introduced me to it a number of years back and I haven’t looked back! This looks delicious – although as we’re heading into winter I’m looking forward to slowly braised or roasted fennel to go with slow cooked meats and roast potatoes.. I hope spring is well and truly establishing itself for you!

  • Katie @ Cozydelicious

    I do adore fennel but I am brand new to dandelion greens. I have had them twice recently and loved them and am all for making a dandelion green salad at home. This looks just perfect! But I have what is perhaps a silly question… are the dandelion greens that I see at the farmers market the very same as those growing in my yard? I mean, can I just pick them from my dandelion-filled lawn? That would be very convenient…

  • lo

    Interestingly enough, in years past it wouldn’t have been the fennel that gave me pause, but the dandelion greens. Only recently have I come around to their strong flavor. Fennel, on the other hand… I’m a virtual devotee. :)

  • Radish

    Katie – yes, they are the same, I’m pretty sure. Farms cultivate them, but in Russia we did just go and pick them ourselves.

  • Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks

    Was looking for a dandelion recipe this week. I was out working in the garden and, like every spring, dandelions are popping up – so, I snipped off a few here and there. They are very bitter. I haven’t eaten them much nor harvested what’s growing in the backyard. I went to a workshop awhile back and was cautioned about where you source your d. greens. As I investigate further, I’ll report back.

  • Radish

    Andrea — actually, yes, pls investigate and let us know. I don’t want to steer Katie in the wrong direction!!

  • Winnie

    This is a lovely salad. I adore dandelion greens and they are amazingly good for you. Combined with the fennel, this sounds wonderful. To answer Katie’s question, yes you can indeed pick them from your lawn but obviously it’s best to know that they have not been peed on (I have dogs so this is a genuine concern), that they are not too close to the road (exhaust fumes=yuck), and probably most importantly, that you don’t use chemical fertilizers, etc. on your lawn. Also, it’s best to pick the leaves before there is a flower, meaning in very early spring. Once they flower, they will have that extremely bitter flavor.

  • molly

    Funny, this. I’ve long loved fennel, but dandelion greens make me gag! Perhaps it’s time I give them another go, as everything else about this salad sounds magic.

  • whimsy2

    I have a fresh crop of unsprayed dandelion greens on my front lawn at this very moment. Gotta make this salad!

  • codfish

    I took a long time to come around to fennel, too. I still don’t like any part but the very inner layers unless it is blanched until very tender, but I love the flavor.

    What brand of olive oil did you use?

  • Mark Scarbrough

    Please don’t blame it on work. It’s brilliant that you want to cook like this. And it’s a gorgeous salad, too. I loved shaved fennel. No wonder you guests wanted seconds!

  • Nadia @ for the love of yum

    I used to hate fennel too, but I’ve come to really enjoy it. This salad looks great, simple and fresh. I need a mandolin now! My knife skills won’t allow me to go wafer thin with the fennel and celery.

  • Shaheen

    I’ve seen shaved fennel recipes quite a bit in the recent past. Fennel is a relatively new green that is now available here. Can you believe I’ve never tried it? I keep seeing it at the market, but have never bother to buy it because I’m afraid it will just end up sitting in the refrigerator for days before I throw it out. Dandelion greens is new to me as well. I’m going to try and find out if it has a local name or something.

  • The Rowdy Chowgirl

    I just started loving braised fennel, so maybe it’s time I give raw fennel another try. I’m lamenting the fact that the landscapers just came a few days ago-otherwise, I think I’d be out in my yard harvesting some dandelion greens tonight. Oh well, they’ll pop back up in a few days…

  • Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks

    After having reviewed my notes from a seminar I attended years ago,Winnie rightfully pointed out concerns about harvesting from the yard (free from animal marking, road pollutants, chemicals).

    Dandelions are great for detoxification and aiding digestion. Here’s a great article about it’s medicinal and culinary use:

  • bigjobsboard

    Thanks for sharing this one! Actually, my kids doesn’t really eat veggies but if I cook veggies everyday, they will be forced to eat some. LOL. So this recipe goes right in my veggies recipe book! Thanks.

  • Radish

    bigjobsboard – i have a feeling that if you put it in front of your kids enough and they have no other options, they’ll grow to eat and like vegetables. i’ve “trained” my friend’s son to eat ALL vegetables at my house – and he’s SUCH a picky eater. it can DEFINITELY be done!

  • banu

    I love dandelion for its detoxification properties; it seems right to eat loads of it in springtime, and I think the sweetness of the fennel is a great idea to mitigate the greens’ bitterness. Thanks!

  • Nastassia (Let Me Eat Cake)

    This salad looks fantastic. I used to feel the same way about fennel. I don’t know what changed but I love a thinly sliced raw fennel in my salad. I haven’t tried dandelion greens before, but I will keep my eye out for them at the market so I can give them a try.

  • Dandy Salad « What we ate

    […] Leave a Comment Had delicious delicious no-knead bread, rolled in sesame and black onion seed with dandelion greens, fennel, and celery salad. Had a hard boiled egg with it for a smidge of protein on the side. The salad was good, but, my oh […]

  • Radish

    Marc – would you and your wife ever want to come over for dinner? I would be delighted to cook for you guys!

  • Dana @ Proof of the Pudding

    You know, I don’t think I was a big fennel fan either when I was little. I think it reminded me of black licorice, which I didn’t really like. But now I love fennel (and I like black licorice too), so who knows? I’d love to make this some time soon — especially with all the greens at the farmers’ market.

  • Olya

    Same thing happened to me with fennel :) Used to despise it or anything with it, and now I have to bake a bulb on weekly basis, I carve it so. Crazy, eh? Anyhow, this is kind of a silly question, but where to you get the dandelion greens? Pick ’em? Thanks!

  • Olya

    um…nevermind about the picking dandelions question…just read all your comments here…

  • Ren

    You can also use a truffle cutter for the fennel. They have a fantastic strong steel blade that lasts for ever. In Italy I learnt that in the spring the country folk pick tarrasaco, wild dandelion, to cook as well ,as they say it is a stong detox after the winter. Makes sense!

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