Apple Fennel Salad

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A light and tangy Apple Fennel Salad with thinly sliced apples, celery, and fennel topped with walnuts and parmesan


Overhead shot of apple walnut salad

Apple Fennel Salad

I took a trip to Italy earlier this year and came away so inspired by all the different foods I ate while there. This apple and fennel salad is a recreation of one of the most surprisingly tasty things I ate in Italy. Surprising in a good way of course πŸ™‚

In one of the cooking classes my husband and I attended, we watched as the instructor made a variation of this salad. The entire time I thought, I won’t love this one — mostly because fennel is not my favorite. But when it came time to eat it, I was obsessed — I couldn’t get enough. The flavors complement each other so well that this salad even converted me to liking fennel.

Now, many months later, and after making this recipe way too many times, I’m sharing it here πŸ™‚

Good ingredients make a huge difference

With recipes that require so few ingredients, the ingredients use make such a big difference. For this apple fennel salad, the olive oil makes the biggest difference. Since the dressing on this salad is really only 2 ingredients — olive oil and lemon (plus salt and pepper), the better the olive oil, the better the flavor. With good, extra virgin olive oil, you’ll be shocked how good the “dressing” is for only having 2 ingredients.

Apple fennel salad tips

This apple fennel salad is so easy to make, but here are a few tips to get it tasting its best.

  • Emulsify the oil. To do this combine the lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil in a mason jar and shake it until well combined. 
  • Use a mandoline slicer. The fennel bulb, apples, and celery all get sliced very thing, giving this salad a great texture with a variation of flavors in each bite. Using a mandolin slice ensures everything is uniformly and consistently cut. We want paper thin apple and fennel pieces for this salad.
  • Toast the walnuts. Toasting the walnuts adds so much flavor to this salad. If I’m pressed for time, I’ll often buy toasted or candied walnuts from the grocery store.

Apple fennel salad storage notes

  • This salad doesn’t sit well, so avoid making it too far in advance. While the lemon juice will delay the apple from browning too quickly, I wouldn’t recommend making this salad more than 30 minutes in advance.
  • This salad is best with very cold ingredients so make sure to stick the fennel, apple, and celery in the fridge for a few hours before preparing this salad.
  • Add the walnuts and cheese right bfore serving to keep both these toppings from getting soggy.

Pair this apple fennel salad with one of these main dishes:

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Apple Fennel Salad

5 from 13 votes
A light and tangy Italian salad with thinly sliced apples, celery, and fennel topped with walnuts and Parmigiano Reggiano PDO
Print Recipe

Apple Fennel Salad

5 from 13 votes
A light and tangy Italian salad with thinly sliced apples, celery, and fennel topped with walnuts and Parmigiano Reggiano PDO
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Keyword apple walnut salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 -6 as a side
Chelsea Lords


  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice* (plus more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, halved, cored, & thinly sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup honey roasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmigiano Reggiano


  • In a mason jar, add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and Toscano PGI Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add salt and pepper to taste (I use 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Put on the lid and shake to combine until dressing is emulsified. Add and taste to adjust salt/pepper/lemon as needed. (If your lemon isn't super ripe, you might want a bit more juice).
  • Using a mandolin slicer, thinly slice the fennel bulb. Cut the apples in half and then half again. Remove the core and then thinly slice all the apples on the mandolin slicer. Thinly slice the celery on the mandolin. Add the fennel, apple, and celery to a large bowl.
  • Gently toss the salad with the dressing. Right before serving add the roasted walnuts and freshly shaved/grated Parmigiano Reggiano PDO. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*Depending on how much total fruit/veggies your salad yields and your preference for amount of dressing, you may want to double the dressing. We often like a doubled amount of dressing, but double/add to your desired preference

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


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5 from 13 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


    1. 5 stars
      This is absolutely delicious. Fresh and bright flavors the marry perfectly. We used pistachios, because that’s what we had and it worked well and looked nice.

  1. I got to live in Italy for three years and it changed my life! I had a similar experience; not liking certain foods and then loving them after being prepared with an Italian appreciation and technique. You and I could probably talk for hours about Italy and their food. I still plan on returning to attend a culinary school there. And this recipe sounds amazing! Can’t wait to show it to my mom!

    1. Ahhh what an amazing experience! I am soooo jealous! I could seriously talk about my experience and food for hours too! And oh my gosh how cool would it be to attend culinary school there! AMAZING!!! But seriously you guys have to try this one!

  2. I’m making this tonight but know there will be left overs. You said it doesn’t sit well. Any tips for keeping it well for lunch tomorrow? I’ll keep the nuts and cheese on the side but will the dressing keep it from browning? How mushy will it het?

    1. You should be fine to keep it overnight if you have the dressing on it and keep those ingredients on the side! I hope you enjoy! πŸ™‚

  3. Random question — can you share where you bought the oval serving dish for this recipe? It’s so simple and beautiful!

  4. 5 stars
    I made a few additions:
    Added honey & Apple cider vinegar to emulsified lemon and EVOO.
    Omitted celery and cheese because I am lactose intolerant.
    Added strawberries for color and texture.
    Substituted toasted almond slices.
    Love the pairing of apples and fennel.

  5. 5 stars
    Love, love, love this! (Though I like it to marinate as much as overnight….)

    Back to make it again!!!

    Can’t wait!

  6. 5 stars
    This was better than I expected. My mandolin was at home so I had to cut everything by hand but I didn’t make the full salad I had no candied walnuts and I didn’t want to candy any so I just put a bit o honey in the dressing. I shaved bits of elder flower cheese which had just the right texture and scent.

  7. 5 stars
    This is my new favorite salad!! I used toasted walnuts and put a little honey in the dressing for the tiny bit of sweetness. Honestly I could eat this every day of my life.

  8. 5 stars
    This sales is so addicting!!! I made it for the second time today and added a persimmon. Just a perfect salad!! Thank you!!

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