grapefruit and fennel salad

grapefruit and fennel salad // the muffin myth

I have this notebook.

It’s old and ratty, butter stained, and filled with the years of this blog. The things I’ve made, the things I want to make, recipes, notes, and post ideas. Sometimes, more often than I’d like, the season gets past me before I manage to post a recipe. My grandmother’s applesauce cake, for example, I’ve intended to post each autumn so far.

grapefruit and fennel salad // the muffin myth

It’s funny how a season can go flying by. I can hardly believe we’re into March already and I’ve got just three months to go on my thesis project. 91 days, if you’re counting (I’m totally counting). Spring has its official beginnings in a matter of weeks, and thanks to an unusually mild winter, we’re already seeing signs of life appearing here.

This grapefruit and fennel salad has lived for many seasons in my notebook, so I am unimaginably pleased to finally be sharing it with you all. I’m sneaking it in before the winter citrus disappears for the year (not that anything ever really disappears these days, but you know what I mean), and I hope that you make it because its flavour, bright and fresh, tastes like the changing season.

grapefruit and fennel salad // the muffin myth

The salad is a tangle of grapefruit, in careful rounds; fennel, sliced paper thin; and red onions, their bite mellowed with a grapefruit juice marinade. A simple but powerful dressing is made of toasted fennel seeds, grapefruit juice, and olive oil, all bound together with a touch of honey and Dijon mustard.

Not familiar with fennel? It’s a member of the Umbellifereae family, closely related to parsley, carrots, dill, and coriander. All parts of the plant are edible, from the seeds to the feathery greens, and it has a deliciously etherial licorice flavour. Fennel contains a unique complement of phytonutrients that give it strong antioxidant activity. Additionally, the fennel bulb (the part we’re using here) is rich in a type of vitamin C that is directly antimicrobial and vital for proper function and support of the immune system. Perfect for this time of year when the dregs of winter sicknesses are ravaging many of us.

MM_Know_Icon_FINALFennel is an amazing source of vitamin C. It is a great source of dietary fiber, potassium, molybdenum, manganese, copper, phosphorous, and folate. Furthermore, fennel is a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, and niacin.

Grapefruit, one of the giants of the citrus family, is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is also a great source of carotenoids; a pre-curser to vitamin A. Dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin B1 round out this nutritional powerhouse. Ruby red and pink grapefruits also contain lycopene (good for your prostates, fellas!). Grapefruits also contain pectin, which is a form of soluble fiber that has been shown to slow down the development of atherosclerosis and reduce blood levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.

grapefruit and fennel salad // the muffin myth

One year ago:  Live Well – finding balance
Two years ago:Maple Oat Scones and Green Pea Pesto Ravioli
Three years ago: Brown Rice Broccoli Tart

grapefruit and fennel salad // the muffin myth
5 from 1 vote

grapefruit and fennel salad

I've used baby spinach in this salad, but I also think that peppery arugula / rocket would work beautifully as well. All of the components of the salad can be sliced, chopped, and whisked in advance and then assembled just before serving.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Katie Trant


  • 3 ruby red grapefruits
  • 1/4 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 medium fennel bulb
  • 200 g baby spinach leaves or other green see headnotes


  1. Slice one of the grapefruits in half and squeeze the juice from it into a small bowl.
  2. Slice the onion in half, and then using a sharp knife or mandoline, slice the halves into thin half moons.
  3. Reserve 1/4 cup grapefruit juice for the dressing, and toss the remainder with the onion slices. Set aside to marinate while you're preparing the rest of the salad.
  4. Toast the fennel seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until they are just beginning to smell fragrant.
  5. Transfer them into a small bowl, and using the end of a wooden spoon (or a mortar and pestle if you've got that situation going on) bash the fennel seeds to break them up a bit.
  6. Add the reserved 1/4 cup grapefruit juice, honey, Dijon, some salt and pepper, and the olive oil, and whisk everything together to form the dressing.
  7. Using a pairing knife, slice the ends from the remaining two grapefruits, then cut all of the remaining peel and pith and outer membranes away.
  8. Slice the grapefruit into thin rounds or half moons.
  9. Trim the fronds from the fennel, slice the bulb in half, and remove the core. Use a very sharp knife or a mandoline to slice paper thin slices of fennel.
  10. When you're ready to serve, drain the onions from the grapefruit juice and place them in a large salad bowl. Add the spinach, grapefruit (you may need to drain this a bit as well), and fennel, then pour the dressing over top and give everything a good toss. Serve immediately.





  1. Jenny @ BAKE says

    I am completely shocked that it is spring every time I see blossom or new leaves. This salad looks absolutely delicious, I am so glad you shared it!

  2. Eileen says

    Such a beautiful salad! I never really know what to do with fennel, but a juicy salad is such a good solution. Also, now I’m craving grapefruit!

  3. Tessa says

    The little line up of ingredients in your photo makes food prep look easy. I will try this at home. This looks so good. I love avocado in any salad, even if it does get a bit mushy and might add it anyway. Hope you will post your avocado recipe!

    • themuffinmyth says

      The food prep is easy! Especially if you do it in advance. I’m sure avocado would be a fine addition, I just found the fresh crunchiness of the fennel to be so delightful, I wouldn’t mess with it. I will post the avocado recipe at some point for sure! It’s got a totally different twist to it.

    • themuffinmyth says

      Funny you should say that, as I was debating between posting this salad or a different grapefruit salad with avocado. In the end I settled on this one because it’s been living in my notebook for the longest. I think one of the things that makes it so delightful is the crunchiness, so I’d hesitate to add avocado here, but I agree that the combo of avocado and grapefruit is awesome (will post that one at some point!). If you do try adding avocado in, let me know how it turns out!

  4. Deena Kakaya says

    Hi Katie, lovely post. I haven’t tried grapefruit and fennel together before, but I can imagine that the bitter, sweet and tart elements come together so well. I ate a lot of fennel whilst breast feeding as apparently, it is helpful for milk production and helps to keep the baby’s tummy clear xx

    • themuffinmyth says

      It really is such a lovely combination, and the salad is so fresh and crunchy. I didn’t know that fennel was good for milk production, but I know dill is and it would make sense since they’re in the same family and all.


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