This pear and fennel salad is fresh and light, with a flavourful mint dressing. Perfect as a summer side salad for BBQs, picnics and potlucks, it's a vegan, gluten free and low histamine recipe.
I love combining fruit with vegetables for a summer salad as it adds such a lovely sweetness. Apples, pears and fresh summer peaches are always a go-to for me! For some other ideas you may also like to see my stone fruit caprese salad, tropical mango coleslaw and apple, fennel and radish salad. All full of fruity flavour!
This fennel salad recipe combines crisp fruit and vegetables with a mint dressing. It's very quick and easy to make, and a lovely complement to BBQ food or summer spreads of many dishes.
Why this recipe is so good
Fresh and crisp. Finely sliced fruit and vegetables have a lightness that goes so well with other dishes, and are perfect as a spring or summer salad.
Balance of flavours. Sweet pears balance out the aniseed flavour of fennel, and the fragrant mint.
Quick and easy to make. A very simple salad to make, taking just ten minutes (or less!).
Salad without mayo! For those of us who either don't like mayo or find that it is isn't suitable for dietary requirements, this mint dressing focuses on olive oil as it's base.
This pear fennel salad combines fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs and pantry staples for the dressing. All the ingredients you will need are detailed below in the recipe card, but a few notes on some of them:
- Pears - any variety of pears works well. I suggest using them when they are ripe but still crisp. Too ripe and they will be a bit too soft.
- Fennel - a flavourful aniseed taste, this is best sliced very finely. Too thick and the flavour can be a little overpowering.
- Pistachios - while fennel salad often uses walnuts, I find that pistachios work well and are better for some dietary requirements. Be sure to use unsalted pistachios, and ones that have not been roasted.
- Olive oil - I suggest using extra virgin olive for its depth of flavour (and health benefits too!).
Variations to the recipe
Swap pistachios for walnuts or pumpkin seeds. If you prefer walnuts, these work well, although I suggest my low histamine readers would want to stick with pistachios. Nut free? Pumpkin seeds give a good crunch too!
Swap arugula for another salad leaf. Lamb's lettuce would also be lovely!
Omit the freshly ground black pepper. While the pepper does add a nice touch of heat to the salad, this is optional if it's not suitable for you.
Swap apple cider vinegar for white distilled vinegar. For those on a low histamine diet, white distilled vinegar scores 0 on the SIGHI list. Alternatively, leave out if vinegar isn't suitable for you.
Step by step instructions
Making this summer salad is very easy with just a few steps.
Make the mint dressing. Combine the ingredients for the dressing and stir well to combine (image 1). I find that dicing the mint works well as it is, but you can add all the ingredients to a blender if you wish.
Crush the pistachios. If your pistachios are whole, then I suggest crushing into smaller pieces using the back of a spoon (or whizz for a few seconds in a blender) (image 2).
Finely dice the fruit and vegetables. Either slice using a knife, or use a mandolin if you have one, for very thin slices (especially the fennel) (image 3).
Combine all the ingredients. Add the fruit and vegetables, along with the arugula and nuts to a bowl and then drizzle over the dressing (image 4).
Recipe tip: slice the fruit and vegetables just before serving as they can brown very quickly. Then combine as soon as possible with the dressing, as the vinegar will help prevent browning.
Frequently asked questions
It's best to use ripe pears for their sweetness, but not too ripe otherwise they won't be crisp.
A honey dressing, such as the one in my apple, fennel and radish salad, would work well (note that this would make the salad vegetarian, rather than vegan).
If you want a lower histamine option, then white distilled vinegar may be more suitable. For those not on a low histamine diet, lemon juice can also be used.
Sharp knife - to finely slice the fruit and vegetables.
Mandolin - for those who wish to have a very fine dice of the ingredients, then a mandolin is your best option. Careful with fingers when using it!
More salads to enjoy
You will find lots of spring and summer salads on my salads page, but here are some tasty recent recipes to try out:
Pear and fennel salad
- 3 small pears finely sliced
- 1 fennel bulb finely sliced
- 1 celery stick finely diced
- handful arugula
- ¼ cup pistachios crushed
For the mint dressing
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoon mint leaves diced, more to taste preference
- pinch salt
- pinch black pepper optional
- Make the mint dressing by combining all the ingredients and stirring well. Alternatively, add to a blender and blend.
- Crush the pistachios with the back of a spoon.
- Finely slice the pears, fennel and celery.
- Combine all the ingredients in your bowl and drizzle over the dressing. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Dice the fruit and vegetables, particularly the fennel, as finely as you can.
- Prepare the fruit and vegetables last, just before serving, as they can brown quickly.
- Make sure to use unsalted pistachios!
- You can use whole pistachios if you prefer, but I suggest crushed is a little better and easier to eat in the salad.
- pears, which score 1.
- arugula isn't rated on the SIGHI list. Swap out for another salad leaf if preferred.
- apple cider vinegar, which scores 1.
- black pepper, which scores 2.