This Roasted Fennel Salad really showcases the fennel and fresh figs which grow so naturally together in the wild and are a forager’s dream! Served with arugula, baby spinach, and a fresh and vibrant lemon tahini dressing results in a mouthwatering dish for family meals or BBQs with friends.
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Fig and Roasted Fennel Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. I highly recommend reading the blog post all the way through so that you don’t miss any tips or substitution suggestions; to ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required, and to understand the steps and timings involved.
Salads are one of my favorite dishes to make all year round, especially in the summer months.
There are endless possibilities with different ingredients and in this salad recipe, fresh figs are combined with roasted fennel and red onion and sat atop a bed of arugula (rocket) and baby spinach. The dressing is made with tahini and lemon.
Fennel is a unique looking vegetable with stalks growing out from a bulbous end, with feathery leaves at the tip of the stalks.
The bulb is used most often in recipes, either raw or cooked. It can be braised, sautéed, grilled, or roasted – like in this salad.
The stalks tend to be a bit fibrous to eat but the delicate leaves can be used as a herb in salads, dressings, sauces, and marinades.
I steered clear of fennel for the longest time because “it tastes like licorice” was all that I knew about it – and I dislike licorice! But boy was I missing out!
Yes, there is the flavor of licorice (or anise), especially when raw, but when cooked, the flavor becomes delicate and really mellows out adding a lovely savory taste.
The natural sweetness of roasted fennel and red onion adds subtle depth to this beautiful and delicious salad, while the addition of preserved lemon rind adds an unexpected pop of flavor to the dressing.
Preserved lemons are made by curing the fruit with salt. The sharpness of the citrus mellows, but the flavor intensifies and can add such a depth of flavor to dishes. Preserved lemons are a staple ingredient in Moroccan and North African dishes.
You can buy preserved lemons in jars in grocery stores, delis, or online. And you can actually make your own too!
Figs, to me, are a real treat. Here in the UK, they can be expensive to buy – unless you have a fig tree in your garden like my dad does!
This soft fruit has a unique, sweet taste that is hard to describe and unlike anything else I’ve ever eaten. Figs have a soft and chewy texture and contain tiny, slightly crunchy, edible seeds.
In this salad they’re used raw which adds a lovely contrast to the roasted fennel.
Tahini is a Middle Eastern condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame. It’s the base for dips including hummus, baba ghanoush, and I always have a jar or two of it in my pantry. As a Greek-Cypriot girl, I love this stuff and use it to make my favorite dip Tachinosalata.
Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe
While most ingredients can be bought in grocery stores, for your convenience, any specialized or notable ingredients (and equipment) needed for this recipe have been listed below and linked to Amazon or other stores if available online.
It does not include staple ingredients such as oil, salt, and pepper, as you’re likely to have those in your kitchen already. The complete list of ingredients with measurements is found in the recipe card.
- Fresh Produce – Lemons, Garlic, Fennel, Red Onion, Thyme, Arugula (Rocket), Baby Spinach, Figs
- Tahini – a sesame seed paste.
- Preserved Lemons – the rind is used in this recipe.
- Ground Cumin
- Cayenne Pepper
- Balsamic Vinegar
Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog use both cup measurements and/or weighted measurements. American cups and kitchen food scales are handy pieces of equipment to have in your kitchen as it means you’ll be able to make all of the different recipes on my blog. I try to give American, imperial, and metric measurements in my recipes. You can mix cup measurements with weighted measurements, but never mix imperial (pounds, ounces, pints, etc.,) with metric (kilograms, grams, litres, etc.,).
More Recipes Using Fennel
One of the hero ingredients in this dish is fennel, so here are some more recipes using the same:
- Strawberry Fennel Salad
- Roasted Fennel & Tomato Soup with Coconut Milk
- Roasted Fennel and Grapefruit Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
More Salad Recipes
Looking for more salads to make? Check these recipes out next:
- For best results, make the Lemon-Tahini Dressing in advance to give the flavors a chance to mingle. If you are short on time, the dressing can also be prepared while the vegetables are roasting.
How Do I Make Roasted Fennel Salad?
Check out the printable recipe card below with full ingredients and instructions. Any demonstration photos do not print out to save your ink.
For the Lemon-Tahini Dressing
- 3 Tbsp tahini
- 3 Tbsp hot water
- 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp preserved lemon rind, rinsed and chopped
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- Dash cayenne pepper
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
For the Salad
- 1 large fennel bulb
- 1 large red onion
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 3 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 cups arugula, washed and patted dry
- 2 cups baby spinach, washed and patted dry
- 3 medium ripe figs, cut in half, then sliced
- Prepare dressing by combining ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, scraping the sides with a spatula to ensure the tahini is thoroughly incorporated. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7 and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
- Remove the stems and bottom from the fennel bulb, then cut into ½” thick slices from top to bottom. Place slices in a large bowl and reserve the fronds for garnish, if desired. Set aside.
- Remove ends and outer skin of red onion. Cut in half from root to stem and then cut each half into ½” thick slices. Place half-round slices into bowl with fennel.
- Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar to bowl and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Gently toss until the fennel and red onion is evenly coated.
- Transfer vegetables to prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer without overcrowding. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves and place in pre-heated oven. Roast for 30-35 minutes, turning once. Once vegetables are golden brown, remove from oven and set aside.
- Place arugula and spinach in a large bowl and add 3 tablespoons of lemon-tahini dressing and toss to combine. Arrange greens on serving platter and top with roasted fennel, red onion, and fresh fig slices. Garnish with fennel fronds, if desired.
- To serve, drizzle additional dressing on top, if desired, and pass the remaining amount for those who prefer more. Enjoy!
Tip: For best results, make the Lemon-Tahini Dressing in advance to give the flavors a chance to mingle. If you are short on time, the dressing can also be prepared while the vegetables are roasting.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 256Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 295mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 4g
This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
Make It A Full Meal
You can enjoy this salad as a starter/appetizer, vegetarian main dish, or as a side – but what about the rest of the courses?
Here are additional recipes to make a full meal for a dinner party or special occasion:
- Appetizer: Feta Cucumber Cups Appetizer
- Soup: Gluten-Free Gazpacho Recipe with Chickpea “Croutons”
- Main Dish: Grilled Tuna Steaks with Preserved Lemon Gremolata
- Side Dish: Butter Parsley Baby Potatoes in the Instant Pot
- Beverage: Fresh Blueberry Lime Mocktail
- Dessert: Delicious & Easy Lemon Hand Pies
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy – please feel free to check them out too.