Caramelized, roasted fennel provides a mild licorice taste that pairs nicely in this salad with salty feta, fresh cherry tomatoes, and plenty of bright, fresh herbs. This pasta salad is perfect for summer picnics or BBQs.
- 1 pound fusilli pasta
- 2 fennel bulbs, fronds reserved
- 1/2 cup diced roasted peppers
- 1/2 cup diced black olives
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered or halved
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 1/2 cup diced marinated artichokes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- sea salt + pepper
For the Dressing:
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel salt (or sea salt)*
- heavy pinch black pepper
- 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare the fennel. Cut the stalks off of the bulb and reserve the leafy fronds. Discard stalks, or save for stock at a later time.
- Cut bulbs in half lengthwise, remove the core, and brush both sides with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Place bulbs cut-side down and roast until tender and the edges are caramelized, turning once, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool, and then slice fennel into thin strips.
- In the meantime, cook fusilli pasta in salted, boiling water until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Make the dressing. Place all ingredients in a mason jar and shake, shake, shake, until combined and thickened. Alternatively, you can whisk Dijon, lemon, and vinegar together, and then slowly whisk in olive oil.
- Make the salad. Toss pasta with sliced roasted fennel, peppers, cherry tomatoes, olives, shallot, artichokes, feta, and herbs. Roughly chop the fennel fronds and add to salad. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with the dressing and refrigerate overnight. Serve salad chilled or at room temperature.
*See paragraph above on where to find fennel salt or how to make it.