Walnut, fennel, and pomegranate salad is a jewel-toned beauty that makes a colorful statement. This winter salad combines bitter lettuce, fennel, walnuts, fresh dill, hard sheep’s cheese, and tangy pomegranate seeds with a light olive oil and lemon dressing. And it’s just as tasty as it is pretty.
Adapted from Rebecca Seal | The Islands of Greece | Hardie Grant, 2015
With the crunch of fennel and walnut and little jewels of pomegranate, this salad is just as good to look at as it is to eat. Rather than feta, for this, I prefer to use a firm white sheep’s milk cheese from Wales, It’s reasonably similar to graviera or myzithra. You could also use a young pecorino.—Rebecca Seal
Walnut, Fennel, and Pomegranate Salad FAQs
How do I cut fennel?
If this is your first time using fennel in a dish, you might be perplexed by the oddly feathery bulb you’ve brought home. Trim off the fluffy fronds, and the stems, and discard. Peel off the outer layers and discard. Quarter and discard the core. What you’re left with is the part you’re going to eat…chop into your desired size.
What is the easiest way to seed a pomegranate?
Pomegranates are notoriously messy and the juice can stain. The best way we’ve found is to break the fruit open in a bowl of water and pull it apart while it’s submerged. The seeds will sink and the pith will float.
Walnut, Fennel, and Pomegranate Salad
- 9 ounces bitter salad leaves such as radicchio, spinach, romaine, watercress, or arugula
- 1/3 cup walnut pieces toasted if desired
- 2 scallions green and white parts, finely chopped
- 2 ounces fennel finely sliced or shaved with a grater or potato peeler
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh dill
- 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Salt (optional)
- 4 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
- 2 1/2 ounces hard white sheep's milk cheese such as pecorino Romano
- In a serving bowl or on a serving platter, arrange the salad leaves, walnuts, scallions, fennel, and dill.
- In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and lemon juice together. Taste and season with salt, if desired. Drizzle over the salad and toss gently to combine.
- Scatter over the pomegranate seeds and, using a potato peeler or grater, shave thin slices of cheese over the top. Serve immediately.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This walnut, fennel, and pomegranate salad was a fresh and flavorful side and a nice change from our ordinary dinner salad. The fresh dill was definitely a nice touch. I made one-quarter of a recipe as it was just my husband and me eating it and we both had generous portions. We served our salad with an Italian potato, cheese, and swiss chard pie for a delicious vegetarian dinner.
If I were to make this again, I would likely make more dressing and use a bit more lemon juice or even a few drops of pomegranate molasses.
What a beautiful salad to serve during the holidays! This walnut, fennel, and pomegranate salad was fantastic, with its colorful presentation and mixture of sweet, salty, and tart flavors.
Everyone at the dinner table enjoyed the mixture of radicchio and spinach topped with peppery scallions, buttery walnuts, the distinct crisp and anise flavor of the fresh fennel and dill, the tart yet light lemon vinaigrette, the sweet pomegranate arils, and the punch of the shaved pecorino Romano cheese. Easy to put together, this is a combination of ingredients that I’ll definitely be making again.
I love the time of year where more jewel-toned produce pops up at the farmers market since it gives a luxe touch to my tablescape. This simple walnut, fennel, and pomegranate salad is an excellent way to do just that, all while having the perfect balance of bitter and sweet and salty in every bite. I especially loved how the pomegranate gems paired with the pecorino’s umami notes.
Originally published December 4, 2021
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Chock full of health benefits, this walnut, fennel, and pomegranate salad is also a work of art. In 21 minutes I tapped into my inner Picasso and was rewarded with a platter of colour and flavour. That included collecting the pomegranate arils. While one can purchase the arils already processed, they will never beat the pleasure of separating those jeweled and juicy segments. All this to say that even if it takes you more than 6 minutes, this salad is so good that it deserves the freshest of pomegranate arils.
Once my salad was assembled and I regaled in the scattering of the pomegranate arils, I decided the white Pecorino cheese would serve the salad better as Microplane “snow”. Regardless of the cheese process, the salty and nutty Pecorino was the perfect seasoning for the fresh dill and fennel, the peppery arugula, scallions, bitter radicchio, the sweet and tangy lemon and pomegranate, the fruity olive oil, and crunchy walnuts.
Beauty, flavour, and texture abound in this quick and nutritious salad. Would work well as a stand-alone with crispy pita bread. We enjoyed ours with roast chicken. The robust ingredients survived the dressing well, making for a great make-ahead salad. The leftovers provided a work lunch the following day. Bonus!