Fennel is beloved in my family. Shaved thinly in salads, cut in thick wedges for a veggie platter, or slowly braised with onions and tossed with pasta, we can’t get enough. This is one of our favorite salads – so bright with the addition of fresh herbs and citrus, and with a hearty protein kick from the chicken. I like to have this accompany a vegetarian main, such as a lasagne or homemade pizza, but it is also a lovely main course lunch salad.
Chicken, Fennel and Avocado Salad with Orange Vinaigrette and Herbs
- 1 large orange preferably organic since the zest will be used as well
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 2 cups cooked shredded chicken from a store-bought rotisserie chicken
- 1 large fennel bulb
- 1 medium Hass avocado
- 1 cup cilantro
- ½ cup basil leaves
- ¼ cup mint leaves
- juice from ½ lemon
- 1 jalapeno chili sliced thinly, optional
- Make the dressing. In a jar with a sealable lid, or a mixing bowl, zest ½ of the orange using a microplane grater. Next grate the garlic using the same grater and add it to the jar. Pour in the vinegar and let sit for a few minutes (I like to use this technique of letting the garlic “cook” a bit in the acid, which takes the sharp edge off). Add the honey, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Shake to combine, or whisk if using a bowl, and set aside.
- Cut the fennel in half lengthwise, and then into thin slices. Lay in the serving bowl. Next add the chicken, then peel the orange and cut the segments into two or three pieces each, adding them to the bowl. Cut the avocado in half, removing the pit. Cut it longways into ½ inch pieces, then scoop them out with a spoon and add to the salad. Squeeze the lemon over the ingredients, making sure to get the avocado so it resists turning brown. Gently tear the herbs and layer on top, and the jalapeno if using.
- At this point, the salad and dressing can be prepared and put in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours. Before serving, whisk or shake the dressing and drizzle evenly over the salad.