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Pickled Fennel Salad with Puy Lentils

Quick pickled fennel salad with shallots and lentils combines sweet and anise-based flavours with a sharp pickle and earthy lentils.

This side salad is wonderfully simple and cooks in a shade over 30 minutes and it pairs wonderfully with fish!

Overhead pickled fennel salad with shallots and puy lentils.

Lentil and Fennel Salad

Lentils often get a rough ride in cooking circles probably because of their association with pious food.

Well, I rarely, ok NEVER, eat piously and I ADORE lentils!

For me, they provide a delicious earthy note to sweet, sharp and salty flavours.

I use them a lot in salads too, you must check out this puy lentil salad with goats cheese and this asparagus and lentil salad.

This salad skips this cheese though and goes vegan and with the glorious flavour of pickled fennel!

You do not have to dig far to find quick pickle recipes here, whether it is my pickled daikon or quick pickled cucumber.

The sweet anise flavour of fennel makes it a wonderful vegetable to be pickled!

Close-up pickled fennel salad with shallots and puy lentils.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different type of vinegar?

Yes, this recipe works very well with cider vinegar, red wine vinegar tastes superb, but it does discolour the fennel.

Can I use a different type of lentil?

Yes, this recipe works well with brown or green lentils, you should avoid lentils that break down when cooked like red or yellow lentils.

Do I have to use a mandolin to slice the fennel?

No, but it is a lot easier than thinly slicing fennel by hand. If you are using a knife take a small slice off the side of the fennel that you are going to place on the chopping board, it will help with stability.

Can I make this in advance?

Yes, but it will only be good for a couple of days, this is a quick pickle recipe and not a preserving pickle recipe.

Can I leave the fennel in the vinegar mix for longer?

Yes, however the longer you leave it the more pronounced the flavour will become.

Portrait image of a pickled fennel salad with puy lentils served with pan seared salmon fillet

Serving Suggestions

This pickled fennel salad is really versatile. You could eat it as a light salad for lunch with some salad leaves.

But it really comes into its own as a side dish! 

It is the perfect complement for fish.

I often serve it with pan-seared salmon (pictured above) and it works wonderfully with my sea bream fillet recipe (pictured below).

But it ain’t just good for fish. Pork and fennel is a classic combination and this salad would work with everything from a pan fried pork chop through to my Instant Pot Pork Belly.

But no, that is not it, you can stay vegan or vegetarian, add something like this air fryer seitan or fried halloumi and you have a great meal!

Portrait overhead image of pan fried sea bream fillet served with a parsley crumb and puy lentils with fennel

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Hob or stovetop.
  • 20cm or 8″ saucepan.
  • 15cm or 6″ saucepan.
  • Fine mesh sieve.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Mandolin (optional).
  • A combination of weighing scales, measuring jug, cups and spoons.
  • Large mixing bowl.
Quick pickled fennel salad with shallots and puy lentils.
Yield: 2 Servings

Pickled Fennel Salad Recipe with Puy Lentils

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Earthy lentils and the aniseed of fennel are a great match add in a but of quick pickling and you end up with this utterly fantastic pickled fennel salad.


  • 1 Medium Fennel Bulb
  • 1 Medium Echalion Shallot
  • 75g (1 Cup) Puy Lentils
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 150ml (½ Cup + 2 Tbsp) White Wine Vinegar
  • 150ml (½ Cup + 2 Tbsp) Water
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • 6 Black Peppercorns
  • 1 Tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste


  1. Place the white wine vinegar, water, peppercorns, mustard seeds, sugar and one tablespoon of salt in a small (15cm or 6") saucepan and bring them to a boil.
  2. Whilst this is happening peel and slice the shallot as finely as you can and place them in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Trim the base off the fennel and then slice it as finely as you can (I use a mandolin) and add it to the mixing bowl.
  4. Cut the onion in half and add it to a 20cm or 8" saucepan filled with water, throw in the bay leaf and bring the pan to a boil.
  5. When the vinegar mix comes to a boil remove from the heat and allow to cool for 2 minutes before pouring over the fennel and shallots. Picking out the peppercorns now avoids eating them later.
  6. Let the fennel and shallot steep for 25 minutes.
  7. By now the water, onion and bay leaf should be boiling, add in the puy lentils and allow to simmer for 25 minutes.
  8. Drain the lentils and mix together with the fennel and shallot.
  9. Season with salt and pepper (to taste), add the olive oil and then a little of the pickling liquid to taste.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 241Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3842mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 8gSugar: 19gProtein: 6g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Wednesday 1st of July 2020

Fantastic and delicious

Brian Jones

Sunday 5th of July 2020

Thanks Robert

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