Courgette and fennel salad

Asparagus season is over. Now we’re diving head first into courgette season; a time in the seasonal veg calendar which is much longer and more prolific than those tasty green stems. And incredibly versatile, which is just as well. If you grow them yourself, you’ll be all too aware just how many a couple of plants can produce!

I wrote a post back in 2020 during lockdown all about courgettes as we had an incredibly productive crop that kept on giving from our new raised beds. You can read it here. It includes links to various courgette recipes on the site.

And so now I’m going to add another recipe to the the list – this delightfully light and fresh summery courgette and fennel salad. It’s super quick to make and comes with a zesty dressing that really brings it to life. It can be served as a starter for 4 people, a side salad or, with some fresh crusty bread or sourdough, a lovely lunchtime dish. However you serve it, I’m sure you’ll love it!

Courgette pairs wonderfully with fennel, one of my favourite vegetables (I’m sure I say that to all veggies!). Raw fennel can be an acquired taste as it has a strong aniseed flavour so it’s not everyones favourite – especially if you overdid the Pernod in younger days like a few people I know! If this is you, the good news is the sharp flavours in the dressing take attention away from the aniseed flavour, which should make it more palatable for you.

Fennel is packed full of wonderful phytonutrients which support the body, as well as minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium (all be it in small amounts). The nutritional highlights for me include:

  • high amounts of vitamin C, used as a co-factor in many processes in the body and acts as a strong anti-oxidant
  • active compounds including a range of polyphenols which also have a strong anti-oxidant effect and help reduce inflammation
  • fibre which supports the microbiome but also other phytochemicals that act as a calmative in the gut, aiding digestion, relieving cramps and reducing wind.

One thing to bear in mind when preparing fennel is that it oxidises very quickly once cut – ie: it goes brown! So have everything else ready before you trim and slice it. Lemon juice reduces oxidisation, so the dressing slows the process right down. This is why it’s important to add it quickly after preparing the fennel.

If you are intolerant to vinegar then omit it and add extra lemon juice. It tastes just as good. Apple cider vinegar softens the flavour of the dressing slightly, as well as helps aid digestion. It’s a great flavour to add if it’s not going to have any side effects for you.

The other ingredient to be careful with is the Dijon mustard especially if you are gluten free. Some brands include wheat or a wheat derivative as a thickener, which is not good if you have to avoid it. Proper Dijon however doesn’t, so check the label before hand. It can also have vinegar as an ingredient, so if you are super sensitive, leave it out completely.

You may want to add a pinch of sugar and/or a dash of extra virgin olive oil instead as otherwise the dressing will essentially be just lemon juice. Unless you like that of course! The key is to adapt it to what works for you.

I hope you enjoy this lovely, quick summer dish. Do let me know how you get on.

Courgette and fennel salad

An easy summer salad with a zingy dressing that brings it to life
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Salad
Servings 4 portions


  • 1 large courgette
  • 1 large fennel bulb large or 2 small bulbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives or parsley
  • 1 lemon juice only
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or more lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds or pinenuts to garnish


  • Rinse and trim the courgette. With a wide peeler, carefully peel strips of courgette lengthways into the bowl.
  • Rinse and trim the fennel then cut into thin slices. Scatter them over the courgette along with the chopped herbs. Toss the veggies to combine.
  • Mix the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper together in a small jug and whisk to combine.
  • Pour over the lemon juice mix and toss to combine well.
  • Place on a serving plate, scatter toasted sesame seeds or pine nuts over the top and serve immediately.


Use white wine vinegar if you prefer or if intolerant to vinegar, add extra lemon juice. 
Keyword gut health, OMS friendly, summer salad

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