Garden to Table: Roasted Fennel and Beet Salad with Tahini Herb Sauce

We are huge fennel fans here at the nursery. It’s a lovely vegetable and very versatile. Fennel is often sliced thin and eaten raw in salads or tossed in a creamy dressing and served as more of a slaw. When eaten raw, it’s crunchy, with a faint anise flavor, which is why I think some people shy away from it. Once it’s roasted or grilled, that anise flavor tames down and the fennel takes on a subtle, sweet flavor. The whole bulb, including the stalks and fronds are edible. I like to save the fronds for garnish and even sprinkle them on other dishes throughout the week. 

Parsley and Dill are also very good, versatile herbs that go well in sauces, soups, stews, salads and many other dishes that accompany this dish. Oh and we certainly cannot forego mentioning how all three of these herbs are great host plants for the black swallowtail buttery. Stop by the nursery to see our herb selection and more butterfly/herb gardening info. 

This recipe is what Elizabeth calls the "perfect winter salad" equipped with her favorite winter herbs and vegetables.


For the salad:
2 medium-sized fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch wedges (save the fronds for garnish)
4 beets, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 cup French green lentils, rinsed and picked over
2 tablespoons fennel fronds
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill


For the sauce:

1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons tahini
1/2 teaspoon local honey
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped dill
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

2. Toss the fennel and beets with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast in the oven until tender and lightly browned, about 25 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.

3. While the vegetables are roasting, place the lentils in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered until the lentils are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside.

4. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and whisk until smooth and creamy. Taste test and adjust seasonings if need be.

4. To serve, divide the lentils between 4 plates and top with the roasted vegetables. Drizzle with the sauce and garnish each plate with fennel fronds, parsley and dill. Season with additional salt and pepper.

Spring Herb Recipes

Whether you have a backyard herb garden or prefer to grow herbs in pots, spring and summer harvests will have you incorporating vibrant new flavors and depth to your everyday meals. Last week Lilly and I hosted the Annual Herbal Event and were asked to post some of the recipes we talked about and brought in to share. Here's a couple tasty and unique ways to cook with fresh picked herbs.

Sweet Onion & Oregano Flax Crackers


1 cup flaxseeds
1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds or sunflower seeds
1 cup flax meal
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup fresh herbs (rosemary, oregano, garlic chives, etc)
4 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
2-3 tbsp maple syrup
2 sweet onions
1/2 c water

*Various herbs can be used to tune them to your taste. 


1. Chop roughly 1 1/2 sweet onions and then process in a blender or food processor on low until it becomes a thick choppy liquid. The other half can be cut into very thin slices to later add to the rest of the ingredients. 

2. In a medium bowl mix together all ingredients and let sit for 30 minutes to let the chia and flax gelatinize. Mix with a big spoon or spatula. If the mixture seems to dry add a tablespoon or two of water. 

2. If you have a dehydrator spread mixture thinly and evenly on the liner tray. I have an Excalibur Dehydrator that I couldn't live without. Alternatively line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set your oven to the lowest setting, leaving the oven door cracked open to help keep the temperature below 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Dehydrate or bake in oven for 4 to 6 hours until crispy.

3. Break into cracker size pieces.

*Note: they can be preserved in the fridge for about two weeks and in the freezer for about two months.

Fresh Sage and Homegrown Potatoes



Olive Oil
2 lbs potatoes
Fresh Sage
Sea Salt


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scrub and dry approximately 2 lbs. of small new potatoes.

2. Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil into a large (preferably cast iron) skillet.

3. Lay a bed of fresh sage leaves so they completely cover the bottom of the skillet. Sprinkle with sea salt (be fairly generous as it will be absorbed by the potatoes).

4. Cut small potatoes in half and larger ones into quarters and arrange cut side down onto the sage.

5. Bake uncovered until potatoes are tender (approximately 30 minutes).

Luscious Lemon Basil Pizza


Sourdough pizza dough
Olive Oil
Lemon Basil
Sea Salt
Mozzarella Cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out one recipe sourdough or Italian pizza dough (make your own or store bought refrigerated) onto a pizza stone that has been sprinkled with finely ground cornmeal. Drizzle some olive oil across the dough and smooth it out. Sprinkle with sea salt, add a layer of fresh lemon basil and top with mozzarella (don’t be stingy). Bake for approximately 12 minutes (‘til crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbling).

Cabbage Slaw with Lemon Balm Dressing


For salad:
8 cups shredded cabbage
1 large apple, chopped
2 carrots, shredded
½ cup raisins
½ cup cashews or almonds, chopped

For dressing:
½ cup minced lemon balm
¼ cup chopped green onion
1 cup plain yogurt
½ cup canola oil
3 T cider vinegar
2 T sugar
½ cup apple juice


Mix all ingredients, and chill ‘til read to serve.