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Jul 30, 2019

Tomato and Fennel Salad

This tomato and Fennel Salad is light and refreshing, and simply elegant. 

Tomato and Fennel Salad

 This tomato and fennel salad is lightly dressed in a mixture of olive oil, orange juice, and cider vinegar, and garnished with orange zest and fennel fronds.

Serve this tomato salad at an elegant outdoor summer soirée. It's juicy, flavorful, and makes the most of summer's fresh farmer's market tomatoes.

In the summer, I'm always drawn to tomato salads, like this Greek Style Watermelon and Tomato Salad (it's so delicious!), White Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad, and Spicy Tomato and Corn Salad. It's hard to beat the deliciousness of a perfectly ripe tomato.

This tomato and Fennel Salad is light and refreshing, and simply elegant.

What kind of tomatoes should you use in this salad?

It depends on the time of year. In the summer, if you have farmers markets in your area, any fresh locally grown tomato will be tasty. A variety of different colored heirloom tomatoes would also be delicious and gorgeous. 

In the supermarket, the Campari tomatoes are really red and juicy right now, so I combined them with  some gorgeous and sweet orange grape tomatoes. 

In the off season, I'm always drawn to the baskets of cherry tomatoes and their other small cousins. I might use a combination of halved cherry tomatoes, sun golds, orange grape, and yellow pear tomatoes. The small snacking tomatoes seem to always be juicy and flavorful. 

Fresh tomato and fennel salad

How to make this tomato salad:

Depending on the size of the tomatoes, cut them into wedges, removing the core if necessary. 

Next, you thinly slice a small fennel bulb and separate the pieces. Reserve some of the fennel fronds to garnish the salad. 

Finally, you add olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, cider vinegar, salt, and pepper to the tomatoes and fennel and toss the ingredients together. That's it! Easy, elegant, and delicious, and very few dishes to wash. 

Secret Ingredient Alert: 

For the orange juice in the recipe, I substituted Trader Joe's tangerine juice. If your Trader Joe's carries it and you haven't tried it, you must. It's freshly squeezed orange juice on flavor steroids. It also makes amazing mimosas. 

What to do with leftovers?

Cover any leftovers and refrigerate. Remove the salad from the refrigerator about 30 to 45 minutes before serving to so that the olive oil will liquefy (it solidifies a bit in the fridge). While not as pretty as when the salad is freshly assembled, the leftovers were pretty tasty for lunch for a couple of days. 

Bottom line? I'm pretty sure you'll love this salad. 

For another great salad with fennel, be sure to try Fennel, Red Cabbage, Goat Cheese, and Citrus Salad, and for a great salad with tomatoes, try Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction from Spice Roots. 

Fresh tomato and fennel salad with olive oil and orange juice dressing

Tomato and Fennel Salad Recipe

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
This tomato and Fennel Salad is elegant, light, and refreshing.


  • 1 1/2 pounds juicy tomatoes (see note in post about the tomatoes to use) 
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Zest of half an orange
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Reserved fennel fronds for garnish


How to make Tomato and Fennel Salad Recipe

  1. Depending on the tomatoes you use, cut the tomatoes into wedges, removing the cores if using larger tomatoes. 
  2. Cut off the top of the fennel and save some of the fronds for garnish. 
  3. Halve and then thinly slice the fennel bulb with a knife or a mandoline. Separate the pieces. 
  4. Add the tomatoes and fennel to a bowl and add the olive oil, zest, orange juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. 
  5. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. 
  6. Garnish with a few fennel fronds and serve. 
salad, tomatoes, parties
Created using The Recipes Generator

This recipe was adapted from Barefoot Contessa's Parties: Ideas and Recipes for Easy Parties That Are Really Fun by Ina Garten, published in 2001. This book is timeless, and my go-to cookbook for dinner party menus and ideas.

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Your lovely salad reminds me of a recipe I used to make that was a sort of fresh tomato sauce with fennel, that goes over pasta. Now I am off to look it up, because looking at your photos has me drooling for tomatoes and fennel. I will try yours!

    1. Ooooh, your sauce sounds fabulous! and thanks so much!

  2. I'm pretty sure I will love this salad, too, Karen! Yes indeed, tomatoes and summer go together... I love the addition of orange juice and zest to the dressing! Perfection.

  3. Such a beautiful salad! I love fennel and orange salad, and this summertime variation is guaranteed to be another favorite. Love the tip about the tangerine juice - I'll have to go looking for it! Thanks for sharing a lovely and delicious salad for our celebration dinner!

  4. I love raw fennel. When my kids were young, I used to put it in their lunch bags. They said the other kids would laugh, thinking that they were going to eat raw onions. Then my kids would have them close their eyes and take a bite. The taste is unlike anything else you can put in a salad. I often pair it with mushrooms in salad (which is an old Alice Waters recipe) - but it looks perfect with tomatoes too. Can't wait to try this combination.

    1. That's so cool! You had open minded kids!

  5. I don't use fennel often enough and that needs to change! Such a flavorful vegetable and that dressing definitely complements both the tomato and fennel. Lovely!


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