Lettuce-less Salad

May 27, 2009


We eat a lot of salad in the Dana Treat house.  Almost every night that I cook, I make a salad.  It is usually simple with just lettuce with some essentials (tomatoes, mushrooms, avocado) and a rotating list of favorites (hearts of palm, olives, chickpeas, pea sprouts).  The stuff to lettuce ratio is always heavy on the stuff.  I don’t love lettuce-y salads.

And sometimes I don’t want lettuce at all.  Sometimes I want something light and crunchy and nothing like my regular salads.  That’s when I make this one.  Blanched green beans, thinly sliced fennel, and mushrooms get tossed in a lemon balsamic vinaigrette with lots of herbs.  It’s really a lovely salad when you want something cold and crisp but don’t want to wrestle with lettuce.


One year ago:  Roasted Potatoes and Onions with Wilted Greens

Green Bean and Fennel Salad

Adapted from Bon Appétit
Serves 4

This recipe originally called for a lot of parsley.  I toned it down here a bit.  Next time I make it, I am going to add some tarragon to the mix because I think it’s slightly anise-y flavor would be most welcome.

3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed, and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced cross-wise
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
Zest of one medium lemon

Whisk first 3 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.  Season with salt and pepper.

Cook green beans in a large pot of salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl of ice water.  Drain beans.  Pat dry.  (Can be made one day ahead.  Cover and chill dressing.  Wrap beans in paper towels and chill.)

Place beans in large bowl.  Add fennel, mushrooms, parsley, chives, and lemon peel.  Drizzle dressing over, toss.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and chill 30 minutes.  Toss again and serve.  (Can be made 3 hours ahead.  After that the green beans start to discolor.)


  1. I’ve never tried fennel, crazy, I know! This salad does look very refreshing and I do like my salads without lettuce.

    Comment by kickpleat — May 27, 2009 @ 5:28 pm

  2. What a delicious combination. Love them both, though never combine them together. I will though, after seeing your post.

    Comment by elra — May 27, 2009 @ 9:55 pm

  3. I love fresh green beans in a vinaigrette like this! Sounds great with the fennel too.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — May 27, 2009 @ 10:00 pm

  4. We usually eat salad too but most of the time it’s just lettuce (well recently it’s been spinach). I love salads like this one you’ve made though so I should try making this kind of salad more often! Looks delicious.

    Comment by Ashley — May 28, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

  5. We eat lots of salad, too, but most of ours are laden with lettuce or spinach. My husband prefers very traditional lettuce+tomato+cucumber+croutons combinations, even though I often throw a surprise in the mix. But green beans and mushrooms with lemon and balsamic vinegar sound like summer in a bowl to me. I’ll put this on my menu and let you know how it is received! I always look forward to seeing your innovative recipes. :)

    Comment by Tammy — May 28, 2009 @ 7:24 pm

  6. what a great combination! that looks delicious!

    Comment by Dimah — May 30, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

  7. The mushrooms are missing from the ingredient list. Please assist. Recipe looks GREAT!

    Comment by Topper — May 29, 2010 @ 8:53 pm

  8. Dana- don’t know how I missed this one in the archives, but a friend made last week when I was over for dinner and I loved it! made it again tonight with fresh local beans/fennel– wow.

    Comment by catherine — August 3, 2011 @ 2:41 am

  9. Made this tonight with 1/4 the fennel (all I had), a dried mushroom spice mix instead of fresh, and with some mint thrown in with the parsley – delicious!

    Comment by mellowfood — August 4, 2012 @ 2:19 am

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