15 Minute Fresh Sliced Cucumber and Fennel Salad
This bright, crunchy and refreshing cucumber and fennel salad will shake up your salad rut! Crisp cucumber and fennel paired with juicy peach, mint and salted almonds and a garlic vinaigrette make a quick and simple salad that has so much flavour and texture you’re going to want to make it every week.
Hi, my name is Desiree and I really, really love salads. And no, that’s not the dietitian me talking. It’s the me, the food nerd: I take my salads seriously because I would happily eat a salad every single day! Whether it’s my creamy, tangy kale caesar, a filling kale and quinoa salad or my eats-like-a-meal vegan cobb salad, a good salad on the table makes me very, very happy.
Which is why I tend to make a lot of meal-sized salads, both here on the blog and in my books, like Eat More Plants. And I realized that it might be time to make something a little more side salad appropriate. Like you just need to whip up something quick and fresh and flavourful, whether you’ve got people coming over or it’s just a Tuesday night at home.
But simple doesn’t mean boring… I know that a lot of folks are subjected to bland, uninspired salads in the name of a bit of ruffage. But to me, as far as plant-based recipes go, salads are one of the most exciting ways to play with colour, texture and flavour…which is why I created this cucumber and fennel salad to show you just how delicious a simple, 5 ingredient salad can be!
It’s a lovely side dish salad pretty enough to serve guests but fast enough to make on a weeknight. It is versatile enough to pair with whatever else you’re serving, whether it’s grilled tofu, a curry, lasagna or even a veggie burger.
And if you’ve never tried fennel in a salad before, this is your chance! When sliced super thin, it has the perfect crisp texture without being too annoying to crunch through and it’s mild flavour, with a hint of licorice is never overpowering, I promise!
Grab your ingredients for this delicious cucumber and fennel salad
This gorgeous cucumber and fennel salad has just 5 ingredients, plus a delicious garlic vinaigrette that brings it all together. It’s so simple and so lovely, you’ve just got to try it!
- Fennel: Choose a firm fennel bulb without any browning. You can thinly slice it with a sharp knife, a mandolin (what I do!) or you can use the slicer attachment on your food processor. And fennel keeps really well, so don’t worry if you have leftovers!
- Cucumber: I use the mini Persian cucumbers here but you can absolutely use long English cukes if that’s what you’ve got on hand. Just slice thinly!
- Peach: I really love the juicy sweetness of peach in this salad but for those months when peach isn’t in season, some ripe pear or fresh apple would absolutely work.
- Mint: I’m doubling down on freshness and greens by using fresh mint. You could also add any fennel fronds from the fennel bulb too!
- Salted almonds: yes, you can totally use raw almonds here but roasted and salted almonds – or black pepper almonds, which I’ve also used – add a nice touch
- Garlic Vinaigrette: I’ve tried this with a couple of dressings, and I love it with my easy garlic vinaigrette best…it’s the most popular salad dressing on my blog for a reason!
How to make a fresh cucumber and fennel salad in just minutes
This incredibly simple cucumber and fennel salad is SO easy to make, and comes together in just 15 minutes, including shaking up the dressing! Here’s how to do it
Step One: Shake up the garlic vinaigrette in a jam jar and set aside.
Step Two: Prep the veggies: slice the peach, mint and chop the almonds. Thinly slice the cucumber and fennel…the thinner the better! I use my mandolin because it’s super easy but you can absolutely do this by hand with a sharp knife. The thinner the fennel is, the nicer it is to eat raw.
Step Three: arrange the cucumber, fennel, sliced peach, mint and almonds in a shallow salad bowl or on a platter. Serve with dressing on the side.
Why fennel is so, so good for you
I feel like fennel is a really overlooked vegetable here in North America…but it’s got such a beautiful flavour and texture, so let’s change that! Remember, variety is so important when it comes to nutrition, both so we get all the nutrients we need but also because our gut microbiomes grow stronger with diverse diets. Need more convincing? Here are just a few of the nutritional benefits of fennel.
- Fennel is rich in fibre, with 3 grams of fibre per cup as well as fermentable carbohydrates (fructan, mannitol) to boost the gut microbiome. Low FODMAP folks: the low FODMAP serving of fennel is ½ cup!
- Fennel also contains vitamin C, as well as multiple phytochemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties such as quercetin and chlorogenic acid.
- Fresh fennel also contains small amounts of important minerals, like almost 50mg of plant-based calcium, 0.7mg of vegan iron, as well as potassium, selenium and manganese.
Desiree’s tips, tricks and variations
- I feel like this salad is at its freshest and crunchiest on the day it is made but it absolutely keeps for 1-2 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Peaches out of season? Try some thinly sliced apple or pear!
- Like a bit of heat? Add a good pinch of dried chile flakes to the garlic vinaigrette for something different.
- Want to make a low FODMAP version of this salad? Keep your portion of cucumber and fennel to ½ cup each, ditch the peach, and swap garlic flavoured oil for actual garlic in the dressing.
More easy and flavourful side salads
- Simple 10-Minute Red Beet Arugula Salad
- 10 Minute Fast Spinach and Arugula Salad
- Fresh Peach Arugula Salad with Vinaigrette
- 15 Minute Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Smoked Tofu
- Healthy Vegan Broccoli Salad
15 Minute Fresh Sliced Cucumber and Fennel Salad
- 1 medium bulb fennel , thinly sliced
- 2 Persian (mini) cucumbers, thinly sliced, about 1 cup
- 1 peach, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup mint leaves, sliced
- ⅓ cup salted almonds , chopped
- 1 batch garlic vinaigrette
- mandolin optional, for slicing fennel
- Start by shaking up the garlic vinaigrette, if you haven't already. Set aside so the flavours have a few minutes to blend.
- Arrange the cucumber, fennel, peach, mint and almonds in a shallow salad bowl or platter. Serve with dressing on the side.
- Yep, that's it…that's the whole recipe, easy right??