Feeling Alright! Good Digestion Fennel Salad

As the weather is starting to warm and the days are growing longer, I am thinking of lighter meals suitable for the imminent summer season. Summer and salad really go hand in hand for me. I love a light crisp, salad for a summer dinner. But salad doesn't always have to start with leafy greens and when the fennel started showing up in my food delivery box this month, I got excited to try out some new recipes.


Some years back I attended a potluck where I had my first ever fennel salad. This was before I was even really aware of what fennel was, but I instantly fell in love with its earthy, hint of licorice taste. The dressing was a creamy mayonnaise laced heavily with Dijon mustard and citrus but it was truly delicious. I wanted to recreate something that highlighted the taste of the fennel but with a lighter feel.


As it turns out, fennel is not only delicious, it is also amazing for your digestion. It has long been regarded as a digestive aid that eases symptoms of gastrointestinal distress such as gas and bloating. Fennel is rich in polyphenols including vitamin c, and quercetin which have anti-inflammatory properties.[1] Fennel is also a good source of magnesium which relaxes smooth muscles such as the intestines. It also has an anti-spasmodic influence on the intestines, thus relieving cramps,[2] reducing gas and bloating, and the pain associated with these symptoms.[3]


In fact, this whole salad is great for your digestion. Pineapple is a source of bromelain[4], a powerful digestive enzyme. Miso is a fermented soy product (be sure to buy organic!) and fermented foods provide much needed probiotics and a host of digestive enzymes. Ginger is probably best known for its anti-nausea effects but it is also rich in antioxidants and acts on the entire gastrointestinal system.[5] As such, its uses go

beyond the treatment of nausea and has a calming effect on the entire digestive system. This calming characteristic of ginger and its antioxidant properties help to calm inflammation in the gut caused by intestinal distress related either to IBS symptoms or food that has been consumed.[6] Ginger helps to reduce gas, painful bloating, and soothes the muscles of the intestines.[7]


And finally mint. Similar to ginger and fennel, mint is another renowned traditional digestive aid. Mint exerts an anti-spasmodic effect on the gut by relaxing the smooth muscles of the intestines.[8] Mint also helps to reduce bloating and gas and aids overall in digestion.[9]


Aside from all the digestive benefits of this salad, it really is just fresh and delicious. The perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken, salmon, or tofu and a sunny summer night.


Good Digestion Fennel Salad


Serves 4 as a side

Salad:

1 medium organic fennel bulb, core removed and thinly sliced, fronds reserved for garnish

½ small organic red onion, julienned

½ cup fresh, organic pineapple, cut into thin tidbits

1/3 cup organic mint, cut into ribbons


Dressing:

¼ cup organic flax oil

Juice and zest of one organic lime

1 teaspoon gluten free organic tamari

1 teaspoon organic white miso paste

1 teaspoon ginger, grated

1 tablespoon raw honey (optional)


Directions:

To make the dressing: place all ingredients in a mason jar and shake until well combined.

Place the fennel in a salad bowl and add the red onion and pineapple. Toss gently to combine (clean hands work the best for this).

Add mint.

Add dressing and toss lightly to combine all ingredients (probably best not to use your hands this time).

Garnish with reserved fennel fronds.

Serve immediately. This salad will keep in the fridge, but beware! The red onion gets more intense the longer it sits.



Are you wondering what else you can do with fennel? Here’s a quick list- chop it and toss it with ghee and garlic and roast it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes; add it to your onions and garlic when making your favorite homemade spaghetti sauce; sub it for celery in your mire poix for your favorite chicken or vegetable soup; throw it in the juicer with greens, celery, cucumber, purple cabbage, and an apple; segment an orange and a grapefruit, toss with sliced fennel and red onion, drizzle with olive oil and the juice from your citrus for a simple salad.






Wondering how culinary nutrition can help you meet your personal health and wellness goals in the kitchen? Check out our offerings on our personal services menu.







[1] Murray, Michael et al. Encyclopedia of Healing foods. New York, New York: Atria Books, 2005. [2] Murray, Michael et al. Encyclopedia of Healing foods. New York, New York: Atria Books, 2005. [3] Murray, Michael et al. Encyclopedia of Healing foods. New York, New York: Atria Books, 2005. [4] Murray, Michael et al. Encyclopedia of Healing foods. New York, New York: Atria Books, 2005. [5] Murray, Michael et al. Encyclopedia of Healing foods. New York, New York: Atria Books, 2005. [6] Murray, Michael et al. Encyclopedia of Healing foods. New York, New York: Atria Books, 2005. [7] Murray, Michael et al. Encyclopedia of Healing foods. New York, New York: Atria Books, 2005. [8] Murray, Michael et al. Encyclopedia of Healing foods. New York, New York: Atria Books, 2005. [9] Murray, Michael et al. Encyclopedia of Healing foods. New York, New York: Atria Books, 2005.

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