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Fennel and Onion Agrodolce Salad

A white and blue bowl filled with fennel, dill, pine nuts, and golden raisins on a white tablecloth.
Fennel and onion agrodolce salad is a Mediterranean dish that incorporates fennel, onion, golden raisins, dill, garlic, white wine vinegar, and pine nuts. Outstanding in its layers of complex flavors, it’s also pretty quick and pretty healthy.
Heather Thomas

Prep 15 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 45 mins
Salad
Mediterranean
4 servings
334 kcal

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup (1 oz) pine nuts
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 (14 oz) onions thinly sliced
  • 2 (1 lb) fennel bulbs* trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup (3 oz) golden raisins (sultanas)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • Small handful of fresh dill chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions 

  • In a small dry skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, tossing gently, until golden brown and fragrant, 1 to 3 minutes. Watch them carefully to ensure they don't burn. Remove from the skillet and let cool.
  • In a large skillet over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the fennel and garlic and cook until the fennel is slightly tender, about 5 minutes more.
  • Add the vinegar, 1/4 cup water, and the agave syrup, stir to combine. Cover and reduce the heat to low, simmer until the fennel and onion are very tender but still retain their shape, about 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the golden raisins and fennel seeds and cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the dill. Let cool to room temperature.

    TESTER TIP: If the salad is sweeter than you prefer, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

  • Serve the salad at room temperature, sprinkled with the toasted pine nuts.

Notes

*What is fennel?

It's a flowering plant in the carrot family, but yet not a root vegetable. It's actually a perennial herb. Every part of it is edible from the flowers to the seeds to the bulb; even the pollen is collected and used to give an intense fennel flavor to dishes. Most often, however, it's the bulb that's called for in a recipe. When raw, it has a crisp texture similar to celery and a fresh licorice flavor. It caramelizes as it cooks, taking on a sweeter flavor and a tender, lush, melting texture.