Fennel and radish salad

Fennel and radish salad on a bed of lettuce makes a scrumptious side-dish; that's kale in the foreground.

Salads without lettuce are in vogue and I'm half-way sympathetic; fresh crisp greens are so difficult to obtain unless you grow them in your own garden.

  1. One fennel-bulb
  2. A dozen radishes
  3. Quarter of a red-onion
  4. Two spring-onions

For the dressing you need

  1. Quarter of a cup of joghurt
  2. Two tablespoons of olive-oil
  3. One jalapeno, or half a chili
  4. One whole lemon or lime peeled, using some of the zest
  5. A slosh of water
  6. Salt and black-pepper to taste

Fennel and kale in the foreground.

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 5th April, 2021.

Lettuce seedlings monthly.

We try to make sure that every month we've got a row of mixed, tiny lettuce-seedlings like this coming up; fresh from the garden they form the basis of every good salad, rich in nutrients.

The iceberg doesn't count; it is not a green and, though loved by the world, as far as I am concerned has little virtue. No wonder so many folk hate a lettuce-salad. 

Fennel is one of those mystical herbs that most of us have never seen or tasted, yet it's not difficult to grow; it does need plenty of water, and seeds itself like coriander every spring.

It's actually related to the carrot-family, as you can see from the fronds of yellow flowers and it is crunchy rather like celery, though sweeter. In fact you will notice if you are a gardener that the blooms look very like dill, parsley and cilantro.

Fennel is rich in many anti-tumour flavonoids; they also reduce inflammation. Names like quercitin, kaempferol and rutin that you may have heard of, and anethole that probably draws a blank, characterise fennel; google them if you're interested.

My point is simply that to escape getting neoplasms it is not enough simply not to smoke and avoid constipation; and avoiding hormone-replacement therapy.

We need to be enjoying these vital phytonutrients on a daily basis, and the only way to do that is to eat a widely varied-diet; one that might include a fennel and radish salad periodically.

Radish is almost certainly the easiest salad vegetable to grow; it is where I begin with my grandchildren. Pop a row of seeds into the ground, cover them and within a month you will all be munching one of their favourites.

I love the spicy bite that they give to an otherwise bland-salad and they too are rich in a heap of different phytonutrients.

Every salad needs a dressing and today, rather than our trusty hummus, I am going to suggest a creamy yoghurt sauce with dill and of course lemon-pulp. I almost never recommend just the strained juice since more than half the nutrients are lost.

Nevertheless to give our fennel and radish salad some protein, we are going to throw in a handful of chickpeas; you could use cubes of feta-cheese instead.

Every salad worthy of the name must have a very substantial drizzle of extra virgin olive oil; there you'll find even more anti-inflammatory phytochemicals to easy the pain in your angry muscles and joints, not to mention the blood vessels and organs.

So let's cut the crap and get to our fennel and radish salad.

Fennel and radish salad

A fennel bulb.

Fennel and radish salad gives you half the coloured-foods you need every day in one dish.

Sorry but I have to put in one more word; seven coloured-foods every day will reduce your all cause of death by a massive 35 percent; you don't like pain and visits to doctors, I presume, and do want to live to a feisty eighty with all your marbles intact, right?

If you're very lucky to find a fennel-bulb at the green grocer, well and good, but it is unlikely, so venture down the garden and dig one from your veggie patch. Pick a good handful of dill and a dozen radishes, and a jalapeno. Add a dozen tender leaves of your favourite lettuce to the basket, and preferably several different kinds.

Romaine and butter-lettuce are our favourites. Wash everything thoroughly. In your favourite salad bowl,

  • Make a bed of fresh, crisp lettuce-leaves.
  • Cover the lettuce with finely sliced-fennel, onions and radishes, or tomato.
  • Sprinkle a handful of cooked-chickpeas.
  • Drizzle the whole with olive-oil.
Radish in autumn.

Using a stick-blender, mix the yoghurt, olive oil and lemon pulp; and a little of the zest, a handful of dill and a slosh of spring water. Add the sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper.

You could immediately pour the yoghurt dressing over the salads, but I prefer to allow your guests to add their own; it looks very appetising in a small crystal-jug.

More photographs will follow.

Easy lunch recipes


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This is one of our best easy-lunch recipes; if you have the fennel on hand. Otherwise think of another dish; could you replace it with celery? Of course.

Cooking chickpeas

Cooked chickpeas.

There are a number of reasons I recommend cooking chickpeas yourself; the cost is one quarter for starters. They go magnificently with any dish like your fennel and radish salad, adding a valuable source of vegetable protein, and the richest source of pyridoxine, a vital B-vitamin[1].

But you really do need a pressure-cooker; for me it is one of the most important kitchen appliances. They save you time, and money.

The longevity diet stresses plenty of whole grains and legumes; don't you too want to live to a strong and vital ninety with all your marbles intact?

Part of the deal is the magnesium for your heart.

With solar pressure cooking the cost is zero, but the time required for steaming chickpeas is one third. Freeze what's left over in cup-sized packets.

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Hilton, KZN

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