Pear & Fennel Salad

Crisp fennel, juicy pear, walnuts, feta & fresh mint create the perfect balance of sweet, salty, creamy & crunchy elements in this satisfying winter salad.

Pear & Fennel Salad

Happy New Year!

Do you all make resolutions? In the past I haven’t, but this year, I’m going to give it a go. (And I’m thinking if I write them here, maybe I’ll feel some sense of accountability).

1. Learn Italian. So far, I can read most restaurant menus, I can order gelato… I can ask for directions… but I’d love to be able to have an actual conversation.

2. Send back wedding rsvp cards, and mail out baby gifts on time. I’m the worst… I’m the friend that shows up to your baby shower with a printout from of what I purchased off your registry that morning. But I mean well, really I do.

3. Get some furniture and hang things on my walls. We moved into this new house just about two years ago. If you’ve seen our kitchen, it might appear as if we live in a state of togetherness, but I assure you that every other room has a ways to go. Furniture is hard.

I haven’t made any specific food resolutions… but if eating healthier in the new year is one of yours, this fennel & pear salad is a good tasty place to start. It’s light, yet satisfying, and it packs a nice kick. Sweet pears and paper-thin fennel are tossed in a tangy Dijon vinaigrette. Salty feta adds richness (and just a little bit goes a long way).

For more winter salad ideas, try this kale salad, this beet salad, or this farro salad!

5.0 from 10 reviews

Pear & Fennel Salad

Prep time
Total time
Pear & fennel are one of my favorite cold-weather salad pairings. Lightly sweet & fresh with a pop from tangy feta, this salad is a great light lunch or dinner side.
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 2-3
  • 2 ripe pears, sliced about ⅛ inch thick
  • 1 small fennel bulb, sliced paper thin (I use a mandoline)
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • A handful of arugula or other baby salad greens
  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta
  • A few mint leaves
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (to taste)
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon honey (optional)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt & fresh black pepper
  1. Thinly slice fennel into a small bowl (using a mandoline, ideally). Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil, a small squeeze of lemon, and sprinkle some salt. Toss and set aside. (I find that marinating the fennel like this for a few minutes helps it become more tender).
  2. Whisk together the dressing components, taste and adjust to your liking. Set aside.
  3. In a larger bowl, toss together the pears, arugula, fennel, most of the feta, and most of the walnuts. Taste and adjust seasonings again. Assemble on a platter and top with the remaining feta, walnuts, and mint leaves.




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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Suzy

    I love this salad it is my go to when i want to impress visitors… thank you for sharing !!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      I’m so glad you love it!

  2. I really enjoyed this simple tasty salad. My husband loves fennel and I love arugula so we had to try it. It’s light and has just the right amount of crunch. The dressing components were portioned perfectly! We substituted the pear with a honey crisp apple due to store availability.

  3. Jean B

    Made this for supper tonight to go with shrimp. Loved the flavors of this salad. My husband and I had never had fennel and don’t like the taste of anise. This was awesome!!! It was a light tasty salad that went perfectly with a rich protein.

  4. Juanita Seguin

    Am I correct in assuming this salad makes 2 servings?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Juanita, it should serve about 3 as a side dish, you could increase the fennel or pear to serve more, while leaving the dressing amount as-is.

  5. Luz

    Doing it today…I have all the ingredients 😉

  6. This salad was even more delicious than I imagined! I have been trying to figure out something to use fennel it and this was the perfect dish. I featured this recipe in my most recent meal plan on my blog, thank you!

    • jeanine

      so glad you liked it! It turned out to be one of my new favorites too!

  7. Great resolutions! I too want to finish decorating and organizing home. And I’m also excited to learn a new language. Although, in my case, I’m re-learning one (Japanese). And another resolution I have is to try cooking with different ingredients. Oddly enough, I’ve not cooked with fennel at home. So, I will definitely be making this fantastic look salad ASAP. 🙂

  8. This salad looks divine. I plan on making some for my lunch this week. Thank you!!!!

  9. jaybird

    I’m eating this salad right now and it is absolutely delicious. Thank you for this recipe (and your beautiful photography)!

  10. Happy new year, Jeanine! I am so guilty of your resolution #2. We do mean well, though, don’t we?

    • jeanine

      I love raw fennel, the key is slicing it paper thin so it’s not such a tough bite…

  11. Liz from

    This salad looks so beautiful, i think I’d be afraid to eat it!

  12. Kristen from

    I think your resolutions sound great! Happy new year!

  13. Salad looks delicious!

    For learning Italian, check out Earworms Learning Rapid Italian (I know that’s an awful name 🙂 You learn words and phrases set to music, remarkably easier to remember than traditional language courses.

    Happy New Year!

    • jeanine

      thanks, I’ll check it out!

  14. Kathryn from

    Happy new year! I like your resolutions a lot (especially number two which I could probably do with making myself…). This salad sounds like a perfect way to bring in the new year too, bright and fresh and full of flavour!

  15. Kasey from

    These sound like great resolutions! I actually have stopped making them because I find that when I really want to accomplish something, I’ll do it no matter what…and if I don’t, well…chances are it wasn’t ever going to happen (whether I wrote it down or not). This salad looks tremendous! Happy New Year to you, and thank you again for the beautiful recipe cards. I can’t wait to put them to use!

  16. Wow, this sounds good! I will probably be making this in the near future 😉 . I love that there’s red pepper flakes in the dressing and dijon mustard. Mmm, mmm, mmm! 🙂

  17. I love this winter salad! I think so many people are unsure of what to do with fennel.

    • Rachal

      Me too! I started using fennel only 2 years ago, and have found it to be tasty in so many dishes and prepared different ways. I think my favorite way to eat it so far is just raw and thinly sliced like this in a salad or on a crudité platter, but I did not feel like having to wash my mandolin, so I made thicker slices than instructed in the recipe -1/8 inch approximately – and it’s also good that way, because fresh fennel when it’s not sliced paper thin has a fantastic and hearty crunch that breaks up the sameness texture-wise of baby salad greens. If making for guests, and not just a quick weeknight dinner, I’ll pull out the mandolin and slice paper thin because it will make for not only a finer presentation, but easier to eat for guests. I skipped the goat cheese because there was plenty in our main dish, and I did not miss it at all eating it by itself before even touching the main dish. I also used 1 whole Asian pear, cored, quartered, and sliced very thinly instead of regular pears from the grocery store. It was sweet, moist, and held up to tossing better than a ripened green pear, they are more consistently sweet and juicy than regular varieties of supermarket pears, and they looked exceptionally pretty.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.