March 7th, 2009


Roasted Fennel Salad with Ras-el-Hanout Dressing

Walking through Borough market is truly inspirational. The different cultures, seasons and aromas draw you into this wonder world of food, it spits you out at the other end half bankrupt but wow what an experience!

It does not matter when you visit you are guaranteed to be inspired. Lots of people enjoy Borough market just as much as I do and it can get pretty crowded on a Saturday. I found that if you visit  very early in the morning on a Friday or Saturday you have a better chance to keep all your toes intact.

On my last visit I found The Arabica Food & Spice Company. What a find! I love the warm aromas of the spices that tickle your nostrils, almost making you sneeze, it’s addictive and you want more. I purchased their Ras-El-Hanout spice blend and have been making many delicious recipes with it ever since. We have a little ongoing joke in the house, when I have cooked, Ross will taste the food and say “what’s the secret tonight?” Ha ha yes you have guessed right it’s Ras-el-Hanout! It’s a potent and intense spice blend and should not be taken lightly.


I love the complicated and complex character of this particular blend. It seems to me that everytime  I use it with different ingredients ,another spice comes out. This Roasted Fennel Salad with Ras-El-Hanout Dressing is delicious hot or cold. I use the whole butternut squash, even the seeds. The seeds make a great snack or an interesting salad garnish.


  • 1 bulb of fennel, choose one with the green leaves on
  • 2 red onions
  • ½ butternut squash
  • 4tbs virgin olive oil
  • course sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp Ras el Hanout
  • seeds from the pumpkin
  • 1tbs linseeds

Preheat the oven to 220°C and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.

Peel the onions, cut the hairy bits from the roots but do not remove the root stump. Cut the onions including stump into 8.

Wash the fennel, remove the green leaves and place them in the fridge until serving.  Cut the fennel like the onions through the stump root in to wedges.

Scrub the butternut squash with a vegetable brush under cold running water. Cut the half with the seeds in half. Place the other half in the fridge for another use.

Scrape the seeds out and set aside for the garnish.

Keep the skin on and cut the butternut squash in wedges.

Place the fennel, butternut squash and onions in a large mixing bowl with the virgin olive oil, course sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Mix well and spread the vegetables on the lined baking tray. Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for 25 minutes until tender and golden brown. Stir a couple of times for an even colouring.

While the vegetables are roasting mix the pumpkin seeds with the linseeds, ¼ tsp of Ras el Hanout and a ¼ tsp of virgin olive oil.

Spread the seeds on a line baking tray.

Place the tray below the roasting vegetables in the oven check occasionally that they are not burning.

The seeds are ready when they are dry and crispy. This could have been done in an oven at 100°C for about 2 hours, if you have time.

Ras el Hanout Dressing

  • 1tbs sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp Ras el Hanout
  • 1tbs low salt soy sauce
  • 1tbs extra virgin olive oil

Use a clean small jam jar.

Place all the ingredients inside the jar, close and shake.

Once the vegetables are cooked, let them cool for 10 minutes.

Transfer the warm vegetables to a large mixing bowl and pour Ras el Hanout dressing over.Mix well and let the vegetables infuse.

Serve the vegetables with the fennel leaves and roasted pumpkin and linseeds.

Makes 4 portions

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One Comment to “Roasted Fennel Salad with Ras-el-Hanout Dressing”

  1. Jason Wang says:

    Nice to see how to cook fennel in English way.

    Fennel Leaves are popular food in Northern China. We use it makes dumplings. cut leaves to small size and mix with pork mince(or whatever meat, egg even cheese you prefer), add small amount of ginger, sprint onion and garlic (all in very small pieces). Seasoning with soy sauce, salt, black pepper powder etc. Then wrap them with flour cover (dumpling skin). Boiling dumpling is the traditional way but steam or fry also nice.

    It is so hard to find Fennel leaves in the UK. Dill leaves are looked similar but smell different.. All supermarkets here only sell fennel bulk but not tasty leaves. In China people throw fennel bulk to bin but English disposes leaves or feed horses. what a waste! British farmers please sell fennel leaves to local Chinese!

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