CSA Week 9: Raw Fennel + Squash + Avocado Salad
I’m a little behind on my weekly CSA posts, and to be honest, I can’t remember exactly what items came which week. But I do know that I recently had Skylight Farm fennel, squash, and basil in my kitchen–along with a perfectly ripe avocado–and that combination was good. Crunchy and good. Except the avocado… it was creamy and good. But I digress.
This vegan salad is simple to make (as long as slicing isn’t too much of a chore for you) and refreshingly light. This recipe makes a salad for one or a side for two.
1 medium summer squash
1 medium-small fennel bulb (1/2 large bulb)
1 ripe avocado
1-2 Tbsp basil oil* or pesto
juice of 1/2 lemon (1-2 Tbsp)
1/2 c fresh basil leaves, packed
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
Process in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add more oil if too thick. Makes about 1/3 c basil oil. Store extra in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Rinse squash and very thinly slice with a vegetable peeler, mandolin slicer, or sharp knife. Discard stem (good for holding onto while slicing).
Rinse fennel and remove fronds from bulb. Thinly slice bulb, holding onto root end. Discard root/core. Chop stems and set aside leaves from top for garnish (if desired).
Dice avocado into roughly 1/2″ cubes. Detailed instructions below in notes.
In a bowl, toss sliced squash, fennel, and avocado with 1-2 Tbsp basil oil or pesto and juice of 1/2 lemon (1-2 Tbsp). Season to taste with salt.
Garnish with fennel or basil leaves if desired. Serve cold or room temperature.
To dice an avocado: cut avocado in half lengthwise, using a circular motion around the large seed in the center. Twist halves to separate. Securely place the middle of a knife blade in the avocado seed and twist to remove seed. Discard seed. Cut avocado flesh into roughly 1/2″ cubes with a crisscross pattern (careful not to cut all the way through the skin). Use a spoon to scoop out the cubes. Discard skin.
I used pattypan squash, but any summer squash (that includes zucchini) works well.
The lemon juice should keep the avocado from oxidizing (turning brown), which keeps this salad attractive longer. If making ahead, I still recommend adding the avocado just before serving.
If you opt to use pesto, depending on how thick it is, you may need to thin it with additional olive oil.
Goat cheese, parmesan, or pine nuts would all make great additions.
Use your extra basil oil for salad dressing, meat marinades, or anywhere else you’d typically use olive oil.