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Warm Mushroom, Fennel and Olive Salad

There's something slightly treat-like about having something warm in my salad. Probably to do with the fact that it involves more than just chopping up raw vegetables, piling them in a bowl with a drizzle of random dressing type condiments, before diving in with just a fork. So you could argue this is a salad of self-love - spending that little bit of extra time to make the day a smidge more special.

Warm Mushroom, Fennel and Olive Salad

Marinating the fennel mellows out the strong liquorice flavour and the addition of juniper berries adds a fresh citrusy scent. The crunchy fennel contrasts against the earthy pan-fried mushrooms; the olives add another good pop of umami savouriness and a smattering of pumpkin seeds provide texture as well as some satiating good fat.

The honey mustard dressing is best drizzled on at the table and brings everything together with a delicate orangey sweetness.

Warm Mushroom, Fennel and Olive Salad
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Nut-free
Serves 2

Marinated Fennel:
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, cut in half lengthways and finely sliced
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 juniper berries, crushed
big pinch sea salt

Pan-fried Mushrooms:
250g chestnuts mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/2 tsp thyme leaves
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp olive oil (or flavourless coconut oil)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 handfuls rocket leaves
1 handful coriander, roughly chopped
handful pumpkin seeds
10 pitted black olives
optional: raw beetroot slices

Honey Mustard Dressing:
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp raw honey
2 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp lemon juice (1/4 lemon)
1 tbsp fresh orange juice

1. Marinate fennel in lime juice, EVOO, juniper berries and salt, in a covered glass dish for 2-3hours, refrigerated.
2. In a small lidded jar, whisk or shake together dressing ingredients to emulsify. Set aside.
3. Heat olive oil in a heavy based frying pan over medium to high heat before adding mushrooms, thyme and ACV. Sautee for approx 7mins, until golden and liquid has been released. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. Assemble a handful of rocket per serving plate. Divide marinated fennel between the two plates, removing juniper berries. Add olives, coriander, pumpkin seeds and beetroot slices, if using, evenly to each plate.
5. Serve alongside dressing for drizzling at the table.