Honeycrisp and Fennel Salad

Fall Flavors
A light, fresh fall salad featuring sweet Honeycrisp apples and fragrant fennel with a zingy lemon-mustard dressing.

This Honeycrisp and fennel salad is simple enough for weekday dinners but also elegant enough to take its place on your holiday table. I first made it for Thanksgiving, and I think it’s a great complement to the rich, heavier dishes that are typically served that day. It’s light and refreshing but doesn’t skimp on flavor – my kind of salad.

Sweet, fragrant Honeycrisp apple is paired with thinly sliced fennel, which has slightly licorice-y notes. Fennel is great for adding a unique flavor to salads and other dishes! Don’t forget the fennel fronds, which you can sprinkle on top of the salad just like herbs. Romaine, cucumber, and green onion add crunch and freshness to this salad. I also added crumbled goat cheese and toasted walnuts, whose savory notes add a nice contrast to the sweetness of the fennel and apple. Finally, a zingy lemon-mustard dressing brings out all the flavors and takes this salad over the top.

Tips for making this Honeycrisp and fennel salad

Slice the fennel bulb thinly. If you haven’t worked with fennel before, figuring out how to slice it can be a bit confusing. Here is a helpful tutorial. Once you’ve removed the stalks (which are too tough to eat) and cut away the core, slice the bulb thinly cross-wise so you get half-moon slices. Don’t forget to save the fennel fronds! We’ll chop them and scatter them over the salad, just like herbs.

Toast the walnuts. Don’t skip this step! Toasting the walnuts adds a more intensely savory, nutty flavor that you won’t get with raw nuts.

Change up how you slice the apples. You can cut them into thin slices, like I did in the photos, which I find helps them absorb the dressing more. Or you can cut them into small cubes to add a different texture to the salad.

Honeycrisp and Fennel Salad

A light, fresh fall salad featuring sweet Honeycrisp apples and fragrant fennel with a zingy lemon-mustard dressing.
Servings 4
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the salad:

  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 medium fennel bulb and fronds
  • 1 medium-to-large romaine heart, chopped (about 9 ounces)
  • 1 medium Honeycrisp apple, diced
  • 2 mini/Persian cucumbers, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (about 3 onions)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese


  • Make the salad dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust if needed (to make the dressing more zingy, add more lemon juice or mustard; to mellow it out, add more olive oil or honey).
  • Toast the walnuts: In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and turning darker brown in spots. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.
  • Using a sharp chef’s knife or a mandolin, slice the fennel bulb into very thin slices. Roughly chop up the fennel fronds and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the walnuts, sliced fennel bulb, chopped romaine, apple, cucumbers, and green onions. Add enough dressing to lightly coat the lettuce and toss to combine (you might not need all of the dressing). Add the goat cheese and fennel fronds and gently toss once more. Add more salt and/or pepper to taste, and serve immediately.


This salad is best served immediately, but if you want to make it ahead of time, wait to chop the apple and dress the salad until you’re ready to serve.
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Apples, Fall, Fennel

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below, tag @curiouscitrus on Instagram, and hashtag it #curiouscitrus.

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