Home ยป Fennel, Apple, and Red Onion Salad with Crispy Tempeh and Walnut Cream

Fennel, Apple, and Red Onion Salad with Crispy Tempeh and Walnut Cream

Mild anise-flavored fennel, tart apple, and biting red onion combine with fresh herbs, walnut cream, sweet cranberries and honey (syrup to be vegan!), and crunchy tempeh to make a show-stopper presentation and vegan main or side with a sourdough vehicle for enjoyment!


I spent an AMAZING weekend in Chicago with some of my closest gals pals, both my OG girl, Kristen, as well as many of my local mom friends who were traveling in to see Jagged Little Pill. The show was SO good! Eating around the city? So good. The drinks? So good. We walked everywhere on the BEAUTIFUL, warm, sunny weekend and soaked up all that city life and skylines have to offer. It is a lot of fun being touristy in the place I grew up in and getting to do all the things and yes, a little kid-free time.

While the weekend included sleeveless outfits, shorts, and flipflops, the temperatures dropped on Sunday and by yesterday, Monday, we were sitting in the snow with real feels in the TEENS. IN APRIL. I feel so duped. The birds are wildly confused. Mark and I were FREEZING at Shea’s soccer game and Piper and I ended up leaving after the 3rd quarter. Poor Shea kept saying her lungs were burning from running so much in the cold! Needless to say, we’re anxious for spring, especially after that little tease!


  • Vegans and Vegetarians. Plus all the people out there who love complex flavors, healthy eats, and to eat with their eyes! This fennel salad is (nearly) vegan and extremely versatile!
  • Fennel Fans. Available fall through early spring, fennel has taste elements that are great for warmer months as well as cooler months alike!
  • Salad Lovers. You can eat this salad as is, piled on top of toasted bread, as suggested by the recipe. However it can easily double as a salad served over greens such as tenderized lacinato kale, kale salad, cooked sweet potatoes, or shaved brussels sprouts for a little something different! Even a “grain” bowl or salad with a base of wild rice, brown rice, or quinoa would work beautifully!
  • Multi-Purpose Meal or Side. The perfect balance of flavors, this can be a main dish or a side salad. As you prepare the dish, be sure to use a large bowl as it will end up making more than you realize!


  • Honey: To be vegan, swap in pure maple syrup and BOOM, it’s vegan!
  • Apple: I used Granny Smith for that fun, tart punch of flavor. It pairs beautifully with fennel bulbs and fennel fronds, however any apple will do, or can be omitted altogether.
  • Tempeh: Honestly, if there’s one part to this recipe that can go, it would be the tempeh. However, the additional protein is a nice touch! I like the additional crunch and nutritional value-add, however there’s not a ton of flavor – just a fun ingredient!
  • Dried Cranberries: If you’d prefer to swap in dried cherries, raisins, or golden raisins, any would work great! Even dried apricots would be tasty!
  • Walnuts: If you are looking for a nut substitutes, cashews would be the best substitute. Cashew cream is equally as good as walnut cream! Other nuts like pecan, pistachios, and Brazil nuts would well, however almonds are a bit too tough to soften quickly.
  • Lemon Juice: You can use lime juice, apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar if lemon juice isn’t available. You’ll need about 1/4 cup to equal the amount of juice from one lemon.
  • Olive Oil: Swap in avocado oil or another oil of your preference – no problem!
  • Capers: Green olives can be used in place of capers however capers are best!
  • Herbs: This recipe calls for dill and basil, however mint and tarragon would be delicious, too!


  • Tempeh is a vegan source of protein offering 6 grams of protein per ounce which is just one gram shy of most animal proteins (per ounce). It is less processed than tofu, making it a preferred vegan protein source for many. It also provides 3 grams of fiber per ounce!
  • Walnuts are incredibly healthy and are an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid (2.5g). The amount in walnuts is more than in any other tree nut.


  • I highly recommend using a mandolin to thinly slice the fennel, onion, and apple. It makes for a great texture and is a time saver, too! Just watch those fingers – mandolins are SHARP!
  • If you find raw onions to be a little too biting and sharp, try soaking them for 10-15 minutes in ice cold water. Rinse and drain well before continuing with the preparation.
  • For a fun twist, spread some goat cheese on each piece of toasted bread before piling it high with the salad.
  • If you want to add more protein (and fiber!) to this recipe, add in other vegetarian protein sources such as chickpeas, cannellini beans (or any white bean), lentils or any other protein source of your liking!
  • Store the salad in an air tight container in the fridge, separate from the bread which will need to be warmed/toasted before serving. The salad is great at room temperature or chilled.

Fennel, Apple, and Red Onion Salad with Crispy Tempeh and Walnut Cream

Fennel, Apple, and Red Onion Salad with Crispy Tempeh and Walnut Cream

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Mild anise-flavored fennel, tart apple, and biting red onion combine with fresh herbs, walnut cream, sweet cranberries and honey, and crunchy tempeh to make a show-stopped presentation and vegan option with a sourdough vehicle for enjoyment!


  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 8 oz tempeh
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium fennel, thinly sliced*
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced*
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced*
  • 1/2 cup basil, chiffonade
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh dill, stems removed
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp honey*
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (16 oz) loaf sourdough bread, sliced into 8 slices


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a heat-safe bowl, pour a few cups of boiling water over the walnuts and allow them to soak. In a mason jar or small bowl, soak the cranberries in the vinegar; stir and allow to sit.
  3. Crumble with your fingers or chop the tempeh to your desired texture; place onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss and spread into an even layer.
  4. Bake tempeh for 12-18 minutes or until golden. Baking time will vary based on the coarseness of your crumble.
  5. Meanwhile, thinly slice and place the fennel, onion, and apple into a large bowl. Remove about 1/2 cup of fronds from the fennel; chop and include in the bowl, along with the basil.
  6. Drain the walnuts and add them to a blender of mini food prep/processor, along with the dill, capers, lemon juice, Dijon, honey, cranberries (and vinegar), along with 1/4 cup water; blend until smooth and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper, to taste.
  7. Toast the bread so that it is warm, yet tender. Remove the tempeh from the oven.
  8. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to coat. Serve immediately on the bread and topped with the crunchy tempeh.


Recipe adapted from Justine Doiron

*swap pure maple syrup for honey to make vegan

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/8 recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 295Total Fat: 6.8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 591mgCarbohydrates: 45.9gFiber: 5.0gSugar: 17.2gProtein: 12.5g

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