Fresh and light, this fennel cucumber salad combines the delicious flavors of anise and dill. It's so quick and easy to make in just 10 minutes and always a crowd-pleaser served as a summer side salad with BBQ food or picnic food!
Do have a peek at my cucumber and mango salad for another refreshing salad idea!
It's so easy to make my fennel salad with dill, with all simple steps. All we need to do is some slicing of vegetables and a stir of oil, honey, dill and apple cider vinegar to make a flavorful dill dressing. I'm sure your guests will enjoy this fennel dill salad with their summer BBQ food if you're entertaining!
⭐ Why this recipe is so good
Light and refreshing. With hydrating cucumbers and slightly crunchy fennel, this is a light salad with moreish anise flavors and fragrant dill.
Versatile. Serve this fennel cucumber salad as a side or add some toppings for a heartier lunch recipe.
Quick and easy. No complicated steps, it all comes together in about 10 minutes!
All the ingredients and their quantities are set out in the recipe card below.
Some notes on a few of them:
- Cucumber - I suggest to use English cucumber or Perisan cucumber for this salad recipe.
- Fennel - use fresh unbruised produce and give it a good wash as dirt often hides between the layers!
- Dill - I suggest to use fresh dill rather than dried herbs.
📖 Swaps and variations
Add apple or radish. If you like extra crunchy vegetables and fruit, then some finely sliced apples and radish go so well with the fennel and cucumber flavors.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice. If citrus works for you, then you can add a small squeeze (likely not suitable if you're looking for low histamine diet recipes).
Swap dill for mint or parsley. If you're out of fresh dill, then mint and parsley are both good options for a summer salad!
🧀 Ideas for toppings
To make this cucumber and fennel salad more hearty and a main lunch recipe rather than a side salad, you can add:
- Fresh mozzarella, cottage cheese or goat cheese, if they work for you, are all tasty!
- Shredded chicken or turkey.
- Adding crushed unsalted pistachios, pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds gives a nice flavor and crunch!
- For a creamier salad dressing you can use a little of my dill tahini dressing as a swap for the oil-based dressing below in the recipe card.
📖 How to cut a fennel bulb for salad
For this recipe, the fennel just needs a few steps before you add to your salad:
- Slice off the tougher stalks and fronds of the fennel.
- Give it a good wash, removing any dirt between the layers and discarding any bruised or dry outer layers.
- Cut the fennel in half lengthways, through the root.
- Finely slice with a knife, or use a mandolin, going horizontally across the fennel. If your fennel is larger in size you may wish to cut into quarters first.
- Finely slice the fennel until you come to the tougher root at the bottom, which you can discard.
For more tips see the post by the Kitchn on preparing fennel.
🔪 Step by step instructions
Making this fennel cucumber salad recipe is very easy, and has just a few simple steps.
All the instructions are in the recipe card below, but these process shots should help guide you.
Step 1: Finely slice the fennel
Remove the stalks of the fennel bulb, then cut lengthways through the root. Either use a mandolin or sharp knife to cut across for thinly sliced fennel pieces (image 1).
Step 2: Finely slice the cucumber
Cut the cucumber in half lengthways, then use a sharp knife to cut horizontally so you have half moon shapes (image 2). It is to preference whether you first remove the seeds or not.
Step 3: Make the dill dressing
Combine extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, finely diced dill, honey, salt and optional black pepper and stir or whisk (image 3).
Step 4: Combine the fennel salad
Add the finely sliced fennel and cucumber to a bowl and toss in the dill salad dressing (image 4).
💭 Expert recipe tips and notes
- Slice the fennel and cucumber quite finely. If you have one, a mandolin is a good tool to slice the fennel. But a sharp knife works well too!
- Although the apple cider vinegar will help slow down browning, I suggest to slice the fennel fairly shortly before you serve the salad.
- It's down to preference whether to peel the cucumber or not. Personally I do not, as I like the extra crunch and it isn't necessary with English cucumber or Persian cucumber as they have edible skin.
- Adjust the amount of dill and apple cider vinegar in the dressing to taste preference.
📋 Frequently asked questions
Raw fennel is delicious in salads. Prepare the fennel by either using a mandolin or finely slicing with a sharp knife.
If you want very thin slices for a shaved fennel salad then a mandolin is easier, but you can also simply slice your fennel finely with a sharp knife.
English cucumber and Persian cucumber are both good options for salads as they have thin edible skin that doesn't have to be peeled. Persian cucumbers have relatively few seeds and so are less watery than many other types of cucumber.
If you are using English cucumber or Persian cucumbers then you don't need to peel them as they have thin skin. Whether you scoop out the seeds or not is down to preference.
We use honey in this salad for the dressing. For a vegan option, swap the honey out for maple syrup.
🍽 How to serve cucumber and fennel salad
- Serve as a side dish with BBQ food such as my chicken and pesto kabobs or my turkey skewers for a fun dinner. Pair with my mango slaw as it's always a crowd-pleaser!
- Refreshing salads always go so well with simple dishes such as my rosemary skillet chicken, turmeric turkey, baked fish or rice dishes.
- Pair with other salads for a picnic lunch. My beet and broccoli salad and creamy vegetable pasta salad are great accompaniments!
🥗 More fun salad recipes
I'm always in the kitchen, so come join me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to be the first to hear of new recipes! And I love to hear from you - so please do leave a star rating ⭐⭐⭐ and comment if you've tried the recipe!
Refreshing Fennel Cucumber Salad
- Prepare the fennel by slicing off the stalks and fronds. Slice lengthways through the root. Then finely slice horizontally with a sharp knife or use a mandolin.
- Slice the cucumber lengthways, then slice into half moon shapes. If you wish, you can remove the seeds with a small spoon or peel the cucumber.
- Combine the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, diced dill, honey, salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Stir or whisk to combine.
- Add all the salad ingredients to a bowl and toss to coat the vegetables in the dill dressing. Adjust with more salt or black pepper to taste.
- English cucumber and Persian cucumbers have thin edible skin, so don't have to be peeled, but you can if you prefer. Scooping out the seeds is also down to preference.
- While the apple cider vinegar will help slow browning, I suggest slicing the fennel shortly before you serve the salad.
- If lemon juice works for you, then add a small squeeze (likely not suitable for my low histamine readers).
- Using a mandolin will give you very finely sliced fennel, but if you don't have one a sharp knife and steady hand will work too!
- Adjust the dressing to taste preference, with more apple cider vinegar, salt or black pepper.
- Please note that nutritional information is offered as a courtesy. It is auto-generated and should be understood to be an estimate.
- dill scores 1, with a note, 'Small amounts not usually a problem. High salicylate content'.
- apple cider vinegar, which scores 1. White distilled vinegar scores 0 as a swap.
- black pepper, which scores 2.