Roasted Fennel Salad with Cranberry Balsamic

A delightful fennel salad of roasted fennel,feta, pomegranate seeds, sprouts, and a drizzle of cranberry balsamic #fennel #salad @mjskitchen

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Inspiration for a new recipe can come in different forms and from different sources, which is the case with this fennel salad.  Back in August I saw Soni’s Food Indian Spice Roasted Fennel and pinned it as a reminder to make it one day.  Then a few weeks ago when I dropped into the Santa Fe Olive Oil & Balsamic Company for a purchase and a tasting, I was asked if I would create a recipe and write a post on one of its products – specifically its Cranberry Balsamic vinegar.  After tasting this awesome balsamic and going through several different ideas for a recipe, I lit upon the marriage of Soni’s roasted fennel with the cranberry balsamic and thus this Roasted Fennel Salad with Cranberry Balsamic was born.

This beautiful fennel salad is made with red chile spiced roasted fennel and a generous drizzle of cranberry balsamic, topped with feta cheese, pomegranate seeds and daikon sprouts. It is an enticing mix of hot and cold, sweet and tart, crunchy and soft. It pairs well with pork and poultry, and is the perfect salad for a soup and salad.  It pairs quite well with this red pepper soup.

But before we go to the recipe, I must say something about the Cranberry Balsamic. Have you ever opened a balsamic vinegar and just wanted to pour it in a glass and drink it?  Well, that’s what I wanted to do with this cranberry balsamic.  What a perfect marriage of a great balsamic to an infusion of cranberry – sweet with a touch of cranberry tartness. This is a balsamic that I will keep in my pantry year round.

To learn more about the Santa Fe Olive Oil and Balsamic Company, read the information below.

Roasted Fennel Salad with Cranberry Balsamic

A delightful fennel salad of roasted fennel,feta, pomegranate seeds, sprouts, and a drizzle of cranberry balsamic #fennel #salad @mjskitchen

Recipe for Roasted Fennel Salad with Cranberry Balsamic
15 mins
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
A colorful and flavorful salad that dresses up any table and any meal.  A holiday favorite!

"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: Side Dish, Vegetarian
Yields: 4 servings
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ's Kitchen
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, cored, sliced vertically into ¼-½" slices
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. red chile spice blend*
  • ~2 Tbsp. feta, crumbled
  • Daikon radish sprouts*, chopped if desired
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Santa Fe Olive Oil & Balsamic Company Cranberry Balsamic*
  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Slice the fennel and transfer to large bowl.

  3. Whisk together the olive oil and red chile spice blend. Add the fennel and toss to coat with oil and spice.

  4. Transfer fennel to a 9" x 13” casserole dish and spread out evenly.
    Fennel seasoned with olive oil and a red chile blend | mjskitchen
  5. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and flip the fennel over. Return to oven and roast another 15 minutes*.
  6. Remove from the oven. Divide the fennel between 4 salad plates.
  7. Drizzle a generous amount of cranberry balsamic on top of fennel.
  8. Top each serving with feta, sprouts and pomegranate seeds.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Kitchen Notes

This salad has a lot of versatility to it.  You can change the spices that you use on the roasted fennel, change the type of sprouts and seeds, and the balsamic (if you dare :)).  It’s another one of those dishes that can be adjusted to what’s available in your area and in your pantry.


Red chile spice blend – This spice mix gives the fennel, and thus the salad, a slightly spicy and smoky flavor. If you haven’t made this blend yet, then just add some red chile powder, smoked paprika, garlic and onion powder, and salt to the olive oil.


Daikon Sprouts – The Daikon sprouts could be substituted with any type of radish sprout, a small bean sprout, or alfafa sprout, actually any sprout you enjoy.  Bobby found the whole sprouts hard to manage, so I cut them into smaller pieces which worked quite well.


Cranberry Balsamic – If you don’t have a cranberry balsamic, then use your favorite balsamic and replace the pomegranate seeds with dried cranberries, or in addition to.


Cook time – We found that just 15 minutes of cook time left the fennel a bit too crunchy for our tastes; therefore, I added another 15 minutes which resulted in a slightly crunchy fennel, a more preferred texture for us.  Therefore, you might want to test the fennel after 15 minutes for your preferred texture and go from there.




A delightful fennel salad of roasted fennel,feta, pomegranate seeds, sprouts, and a drizzle of cranberry balsamic #fennel #salad @mjskitchen |


If you enjoyed this Roasted Fennel Salad with Cranberry Balsamic, then you probably will also enjoy these other festive salads.

Apple Salad with Green Chile Dressing

Orange and Persimmon Salad

Mango and Jicama Salad

Cranberry Balsamic from the Santa Fe Olive Oil & Balsamic Company |

Santa Fe Olive Oil & Balsamic Co.

The Santa Fe Olive Oil & Balsamic Co. is a local company with two locations:  A Santa Fe location just off the Santa Fe Plaza and an Albuquerque location in the Nob Hill Shopping Center.  Each location encourages its visitors to test the company’s numerous varieties of olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

Olive Oils – This company carries olive oil from Greece, Spain, Italy, Australia, and Chile – one of my favorites being a Chilean Picual Olive Oil.  It also have a wide variety of infused olive oils from roasted red chile to habanero, lavender to rosemary.  Its gourmet oils have an even large variety:  black & white truffle oils, bacon, meyer lemons, butter, cilantro lime and sun-dried tomato – just to name a few.

Balsamic – If you are a balsamic vinegar fanatic, then you really do need to check this place out. Its 25 Star Traditional is one of its best sellers and one of my favorites. But the ones you can have fun with and that inspire a variety of creations are the infused vinegars.  These vinegars range from fruity (e.g., cherry, blackberry ginger, Manderin orange, green apple, fig), to more savory (e.g., smoked balsamic, garlic, espresso, garlic cilantro).

So next time you are in Santa Fe or Albuquerque, be sure to stop in and get a taste or two or three.  Actually, plan to stay a while.  There’s a lot to take in.  But you don’t have to be present to buy. You can buy online at its online store.

Disclaimer:  I did not receive any compensation for this post other than a bottle of Cranberry Balsamic.  The Fennel Salad recipe and the opinion of the balsamic are my own.




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50 Responses to “Roasted Fennel Salad with Cranberry Balsamic”

  1. Mike December 15, 2015 at 4:08 am #

    These look so good. And the presentation is so cute! This is such a beautiful, healthy salad.

    • mj December 15, 2015 at 11:08 am #

      Thanks so much Mike!

  2. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles December 9, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

    Absolutely gorgeous salad MJ – both visually and ingredients. I can’t believe I’ve never roasted fennel. I’ve been eating it raw for a decade now but I have to say roasting this time of year sounds like a particularly good idea (warmth… ) plus, I imagine it creates a whole different level of flavor not to mention texture. Cranberry balsamic vinegar does sound good enough to drink 🙂 thank you for the introduction.

    • mj December 10, 2015 at 10:41 am #

      It’s funny that raw seems to be the prefer method of eating for fresh fennel. But it’s SO GOOD roasted. Bobby isn’t crazy about fresh fennel but he really loves it roasted. It’s sweeter and has less of the pungent licorice flavor. Thanks Kelly!

  3. April J Harris December 9, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    Cranberry Balsamic Marinade? Oh wow, you are definitely speaking my language, MJ! Love this beautiful, seasonal salad!

    • mj December 10, 2015 at 10:38 am #

      Thanks so much April! That cranberry balsamic is amazing!

  4. Easyfoodsmith December 8, 2015 at 7:17 am #

    Sounds lovely and looks so so pretty!

    • mj December 8, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

      Thanks Darlin!

  5. Raymund December 8, 2015 at 1:38 am #

    Next time my office mate gives me some fennel this will be in my menu list. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe

    • mj December 8, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

      I do think you’ll enjoy it! Thanks Raymund!

  6. Nami | Just One Cookbook December 7, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

    Wow the sound of “cranberry balsamic” alone is super appetizing! Great way to use it for salad, and I do love fennel salad too! Your salad looks so Christmassy and beautiful, MJ!

    • mj December 8, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

      Thanks so much Nami!

  7. Sissi December 6, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    Such a gorgeous and mysterious-looking plate! I would never guess it’s fennel! I fell in love with fennel as soon as I tasted it raw (I knew only the mushy overcooked versions before) so now I guess it’s time to experiment it roasted. Especially when it’s made Indian way. I love your dish! (I can imagine how good the vinegar is…. here we have a shop selling different flavoured vinegars – and also unflavoured – and their mango and black currant vinegars are exactly as you say: one wants to pour a glass and empty it in one go.)

    • mj December 8, 2015 at 8:32 pm #

      Thanks for much Sissi! I’m with you, I like my fennel, even my roasted fennel still a little crunchy. Bobby likes the mushy kind. 🙂 If you like it the Indian way, you really need to check out Soni’s Indian roasted fennel. Her flavors look fabulous! Have you tried the chocolate balsamic yet? A friend gave me a bottle last year and it’s awesome!

      • Sissi December 14, 2015 at 8:39 am #

        Chocolate balsamic??? Wow! I’ve never heard about it. I must see if I can get it here! It sounds fantastic.

        • mj December 15, 2015 at 11:07 am #

          You should try it. It’s REALLY good!

  8. Treat and Trick December 5, 2015 at 8:32 pm #

    New to me, never tasted cranberry balsamic before, Your recipe is great way to explore it. Sounds so yum…

    • mj December 8, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

      Thanks so much!

  9. Debra December 5, 2015 at 8:03 am #

    What a great holiday recipe and of course I am pinning the Santa Fe Oil Co. to my “Places to Go” board! 🙂

    • mj December 8, 2015 at 8:28 pm #

      Thanks Debra! If you end of in Albuquerque, I could meet you for an oil and vinegar tasting. 🙂

  10. Katerina December 4, 2015 at 3:34 am #

    I love fruity balsamic vinegar and gives such a special touch to the salad! You made one fine dish MJ and the flavors are perfectly matched! Pinned!

    • mj December 4, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

      Thanks so much Katerina! Thanks for pinning!

  11. Chgojohn December 3, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

    What a great looking dish, MJ! It would certainly feel at home on any holiday table. Love that you included substitutions for the ingredients that we may be lacking. Come to think of it, I’ve a couple bottles of flavored balsamic languishing on a shelf. It’s high time I take them down for a spin. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • mj December 4, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

      Thanks so much John! Yes, it’s time to get that bottle of balsamic down off the shelf. It’s so a wonderful flavor to enjoy is so many ways.

  12. Carolyn Jung December 3, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    That balsamic sounds divine! I like how you can enjoy the taste of cranberries all year round with it, too.

    • mj December 4, 2015 at 7:13 pm #

      I agree Carolyn. It is definitely a flavor I’ll enjoy year round.

  13. Gourmet Getaways December 2, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

    Oh yum!
    What a pretty dish!
    Thanks for sharing
    Gourmet Getaways

    • mj December 2, 2015 at 7:28 pm #

      Thanks so much Julie!

  14. Melanie @ Melanie Cooks December 2, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

    What a festive looking salad! So fresh and colorful!

    • mj December 2, 2015 at 7:28 pm #

      Thanks Melanie!

  15. Evelyne@cheapethniceatz December 2, 2015 at 9:23 am #

    I LOVE fennel so this is a great salad. I can only imagine how wonderful it is with this great balsamic find! Very festive my dear!

    • mj December 2, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

      Thanks Evelyne! Those beautiful pomegranate seeds do make it quite festive. 🙂

  16. Amy December 2, 2015 at 5:43 am #

    Very festive, great for entertaining!

    • mj December 2, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

      Thanks Amy!

  17. Amy (Savory Moments) December 2, 2015 at 5:12 am #

    Oooh MJ, what a lovely winter salad! I love everything about it and it looks beautiful.

    • mj December 2, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

      Thanks so much Amy!

  18. Hotly Spiced December 1, 2015 at 8:39 pm #

    Your salad is so pretty and it has wonderful presentation. I think it’s the perfect salad to grace a table on Christmas Day – the colours are perfect. I’ve never heard of, nor have I seen, cranberry balsamic – I will now try to track some down xx

    • mj December 2, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

      Thanks so much Charlie! It would be pretty on a Christmas table and actually a great dish because it’s not too sweet not heavy.

  19. John/Kitchen Riffs December 1, 2015 at 7:05 pm #

    I don’t think I’ve actually ever poured balsamic vinegar into a glass, but I’ve certainly had a spoonful of it before. Once. Or twice. Before I stopped counting. 🙂 Love fennel, and this is such a good way to use it. Really nifty recipe — thanks.

    • mj December 2, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

      Well, I was tempted to use a glass on this one. 🙂 Thanks John!

  20. Vicki Bensinger December 1, 2015 at 6:09 pm #

    MJ this is so pretty and unique. I especially like the sound of the vinaigrette. I will without a doubt make this. Hope your Thanksgiving was great!

    • mj December 2, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

      thanks so much Vicki! We did have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Hope you did too!

  21. Nads December 1, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    Amazing photos! I wish I had one of these right now to dig into. You can bet we will be doing so soon. I seldom use fennel. Not really sure I don’t do so more often. It’s just not one of those things I think about as a staple.I like the idea of sweet and spicy. I don’t have any cranberry balsamic but I do have both fig and cherry. One of those should do the trick. If I get back to my oil and vinegar store soon I look for the cranberry.

    • mj December 2, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

      Thanks Darlin! I had fun with this. 🙂 I actually don’t use fennel much because Bobby isn’t a fan of raw fennel, but he does like it roasted and was a huge fan of this salad. Cherry would definitely work but I curious as to how fig would works. If you use it, let me know.

  22. Angie@Angie's Recipes December 1, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    I had some raw fennel salad for the lunch today…bet the roasting brings out wonderful flavour and aroma from fennel. A great salad, MJ.

    • mj December 2, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

      Yes, roasted does enhance its flavor but in a richer, milder way. It’s quite a bit smoother on the palate. Thanks!

  23. Tamara December 1, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    I love this MJ! Fennel is a favorite salad vegetable during the holidays, but I’ve always used it raw. I love the idea of roasting it. Of course incorporating red chile never hurts either. I was able to move with a supply of Dixon red chile, so I’ll have to give this a try. I hope I can find the cranberry balsamic!

    • mj December 2, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

      Thanks so much Tamara! Fennel is quite a bit milder in flavor when roasted. Bobby is not a raw fennel fan, but he loves it roasted. And yes, the red chile never hurts. 🙂 Hope you do get a chance to try this. It’s quite good!

  24. susan / the wimpy vegetarian December 1, 2015 at 10:13 am #

    I love everything about this, MJ! Pinning!! And how fun to go vinegar and olive oil tasting. We recently did this in Carmel Valley when we took a short trip there, and stopped by a tasting place and felt the same way about a Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar. I’m off to check out the Santa Fe company!

    • mj December 2, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

      Thanks so much Susan! Oil and vinegar tasting quite fun, especially when it’s good oil & vinegar. Blackberry Balsamic sounds wonderful!

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