I can’t think of a single thing to not like about this recipe. If you like salad and you like steak — I’ve got a winner for you. This hearty salad is really beautiful and doesn’t take much time to prepare. In our home we generally shoot for one salad a week that is a full meal. This one is very satisfying and you won’t be wishing you had something more.
A Quick Tip : Leftover Protein
So, it’s TIP time! As we all know, a real food diet can be tricky when you have to prepare most of your food. But I have found the secret is planning ahead and cooking more when you DO cook so that other days (say busier ones) you don’t have to do as much. What you want to do is find ways to make your meals stretch — not in that you simply eat leftovers, but finding other meals (that are quicker) to make with items you’ve already prepared in abundance. In this case, a salad using leftover steak. In our home we may have steaks for dinner one night, if so — I will make sure I throw on another steak or two so that later in the week we could make something like this. A completely different recipe (in order to fight off boredom) but the meat is already done. Boom.
Let’s Talk About Fennel
Probably my favorite part of this salad is the roasted fennel. It is in the name for a reason — as it truly serves as the bright & shining star here. If you have never had roasted fennel – I highly suggest that you give it a go! As the fennel was roasting in the oven I couldn’t help but feel like its aroma was incredibly familiar in a very holiday-like comforting kind of way. After I gave it some thought it clicked — it smells like gingerbread. Yes. When fennel is roasted it gets this slightly sweet caramelized thing going on and it’s just wonderful. It really added something special to this salad.
Fennel can be a kind of scary veggie to use. In fact, fennel seems to bring on the most questions at the grocery store checkout line. Cashiers ask me (practically every time) what is this? what do you do with it? …then I hold up the line because no one seems to know its produce code by memory. Poor fennel. Anyway, there’s a trick to slicing it up for roasting. Start by slicing off the bottom to the white bulb, then slice off the green stalks & fronds. While it is simply sitting up on it’s bottom side make 1/4″ slices. Then cut those slices in half.
The following amounts will serve 2.
Ingredients for Salad
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 (8 oz.) pre-cooked steak, chopped (any variety will do)
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1/2 cup frozen sweet dark cherries, thawed
- 2 tbsp. pecans, chopped
Ingredients for Dressing
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. spicy brown mustard
- 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
- Salt & pepper to taste
- First, you need to roast the fennel. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the sliced fennel with the 1 tbsp. of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the fennel slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
- While the fennel is roasting prepare the dressing. Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until well blended. Set aside.
- Divide the spinach, green onion, chopped steak, cherries, and fennel between two plates.
- Top with the prepared dressing and sprinkle pecans on top.