Halfway through planning a vacation with friends, I had a mild panic attack at the thought of being in a bikini within the next month (it didn’t help that I was literally holding a taco when I came to this realization).
While I appreciate the dieting staple that is lettuce and I’m completely dependent upon spinach for adding “green” to my morning green protein shake, both are super boring. I’ve had a very long love affair with kale mainly for its crunchiness, its incredible levels of vitamin A, its trendiness (let’s be honest), and because it instills in me my childhood dream of eating wet leaves like Littlefoot in the Land Before Time (I was a weird kid). But it was probably after my fourth lunchtime trip to the Ardmore Sweetgreen last week that kale lost its appeal and I began a rather desperate search for a new and exciting salad base.
Enter: fennel, a very hearty Italian herb with a spicy, peppery finish and the perfect level of crunch which comes in bulb form and is very fun to chop really quickly even though I almost sliced a finger off twice. Fennel, too, is having kind of a moment (it might be the new kale).
Normally I eschew anything from Cooking Light because it doesn’t involve me eating half a stick of butter, but my sister turned me on to this recipe last summer. Loaded with fresh Mediterranean ingredients, including protein-packed cannellini beans and a citrusy vinaigrette, this salad is good enough that the idea of having it for dinner didn’t make me want to slit my wrists as I walked past Shake Shack last night.