Hemsley & Hemsley's fennel, cucumber and dill salad will be your healthy go-to all season long.
The healthiest and simplest thing you can do for yourself is to eat seasonal, whole foods. By this point, we’ve learned that much. But that doesn’t mean we necessarily follow that mantra—there’s many a hurried workday when we end up with a Styrofoam takeout container of Thai food for lunch followed by a dinner of movie popcorn. As inconsistent as we are, there are people who make eating well (and making food that is healthy but never boring or bland) look ridiculously easy. Take sisters Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, the London-based foodies who are masters at seasonal nutrient-dense cooking that also, gasp, tastes good. Every Tuesday, Hemsley & Hemsley will be back with a new, easy-to-make recipe (for reals: this week’s takes just five minutes) perfect for al fresco summer dinners (rosé not included) and packed lunches alike. We’re hereby limiting our popcorn dinners to a once-a-month max.
Fresh and fragrant, our fennel, cucumber and dill salad is a favourite in the warmer months. Sweetly aromatic fennel and dill are balanced by the refreshing cucumber for a punchy flavour match made in heaven. Seasonal fennel, with its distinctive aniseed-y flavour and celery-like crunch is packed with nutrients and vitamin C—making it a veg we always look forward to finding it in our weekly box. Tossed with a tangy dressing, this crunchy, fuss-free dish can be served as a side with any of the recipes from our book, The Art Of Eating Well, for a simple food-combined meal that’s easy on digestion. Make it a main with the addition of a soft-boiled egg, avocado, smoked fish or feta cheese—wait ‘til you’ve tried it with our spicy Pablo’s chicken.
The quick and easy dressing champions two of our pantry staples, ACV + EVOO (which stand for apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil). Apple cider vinegar promotes digestion and encourages the growth of friendly bacteria; it’s high in minerals and potassium and is antiseptic. It's something that was always found in our kitchen cupboard growing up.
Look for ‘raw’ apple cider vinegar or ‘with the mother’ to ensure it hasn’t been pasteurized in order to make the most of its health-giving properties (if the bottle is clear and you see a cloudy swirl at the bottom—that’s the ‘mother’!). For the olive oil, make sure it’s cold-pressed extra-virgin. Both these staples are worth getting right to ensure you’re getting bang for your buck and enjoying the full nutritional benefits to the maximum. Paying a little extra to ensure you’re getting quality products that provide optimal health-boosting properties will pay off in the long run—your body will thank you for it!
Delicious with a green salad or slaw and to pep up some cold roast veggies or leftover quinoa, this versatile dressing is one for the repertoire. If you haven’t tried our Sunday Cook-Off yet, get on board this weekend by making up a couple of our easy dressings and pestos to fill your fridge. They’ll make mid-week suppers come together in a flash, as well as stop you from getting bored of your leftovers! We promise you’ll have this fennel, cucumber and dill salad on the table in five minutes flat.
Enjoy al fresco, with friends, in the sunshine or treat yourself to a great packed lunch, dressing it at the very last minute to keep everything crisp and crunchy.
Use organic where possible (Serves 2 as a side)
FOR THE SALAD:
1 fennel bulb
1⁄2 large cucumber
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp snipped fresh chives or 1 spring onion, sliced
1 large avocado, halved and sliced
1 tbsp poppy seeds
FOR THE DRESSING:
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp raw runny honey
sea salt and black pepper
1. Using a mandolin or very sharp knife, finely slice the fennel, keeping the feathery fronds and chopping them up. Halve the cucumber lengthways and very thinly slice on the angle, then add everything to a big serving bowl.
2. Add chopped dill, chives or spring onion and sliced avocado if using.
3. Whisk the dressing ingredients together, pour over the salad and mix well with your hands. Top with the poppy seeds, if using.