Fennel and Feta with Pomegranate Seeds

Fennel and Feta with Pomegranate Seeds, Edamame & Sumac

The salty creaminess of feta, tanginess of lemon, the licorice-laced crisp flavours of fennel, the explosive sweetness of Sultan’s Jewel tomatoes, the mild honeyish pomegranate seeds and the nuttiness of edamame all brought together in harmony by the grassiness of good extra virgin olive oil.

And to think sometimes I forget why salads are so addictive, so all-encompassing and very beautiful to look at. If something so simple (and simply put together) can taste so good, lifting my spirits with each bite, I’m never going to underestimate the humble salad ever again.

A friend once offered me a bottle of salad dressing, to which I turned it down saying I don’t really eat salad dressing. I enjoy salads mostly as they are – their component parts with no oily, wet dressing that splatters everywhere when I’ve got leafy bits sticking out between my lips like a goat. I don’t know if it’s some weird purist mentality I’ve got but that’s pretty much how I usually like my salads. Or if I really had to go for a salad dressing, then extra virgin olive oil and loads of balsamic vinegar which I love with a great passion. Anything mayonnaise-y, or something thick like thousand island dressing really puts me off. Not that I can’t stomach it, I just won’t enjoy it as much. And give my tummy a few hours, it’d probably start feeling a little upset and gurgling like it was part of a string orchestra. I kid you not. Therefore I stress clean, crisp flavours always. That’s just the way forward.

Fennel and Feta with Pomegranate Seeds 2

After months of wishing after the Ottolenghi cookbook, and the torturous process of having to see my beautiful foodie friends blog about their Ottolenghi recipes, experiences, it was high time I finally got my own copy. And I did. And it was such a luxury – a stylishly put-together cookbook with a glossy white cover; my heart was beating twice as fast and doing little skips as I flipped through the pages, eyeing the pulses and vegetables, curbing the urge to start sticking little 3M sticky notes in there with a frenzy for potential lunches and so forth. Happiness is moi. (Yes I’m so easily pleased with new cookbooks. But aren’t we foodies all a species of that sort? I’m eyeing the The French Laundry Cookbook next.) I’ve always been a fan of Ottolenghi food ever since I moved to London and even before I did, I’d browsed through the cookbook thinking how gorgeous the food must taste. Then I started visiting the Islington branch since I live just a little way from it. There was no turning back. I became a true fan. Unfortunately, I always felt a bit like a muggle or a half-blood without the cookbook. And having to queue for half a day (yes I exaggerate) or resorting to take-aways to get Ottolenghi grub in my mouth, down my esophagus and then safely into my stomach whenever I have a craving seems much too complicated. Remember, I am lazy.

Equipped with my new cookbook, life seems so rosy. With the beautiful weather too, it’s about time I shove that crabbiness so typical of my character somewhere where the sun don’t shine. I can’t wait to try out more of the recipes and actually, that’s probably not gonna change the fact that I’d still be hopping on a bus to Angel to take-away Ottolenghi cakes (and then eating them in the dark corners of my bedroom – on my own – a la Gollum) or meeting friends there for lunch.

On a final note, let me just say that I’m not just OCD, a perfectionist and anal (please, no crude jokes) to the point of being annoying. I also plan like a high-strung freak (not that I’m high-strung at all. I just have this thing about planning.) But here’s a confession – I’ve booked my sister and I in for dinner at Ottolenghi 2 MONTHS in advance. Yea, so I’m totally off my trolley like that. Crazy.

The original recipe uses tarragon instead of basil and adds no tomatoes or edamame. This makes about 4 servings.

Fennel and Feta with Pomegranate Seeds 3

Fennel and Feta with Pomegranate Seeds, Edamame & Sumac
Recipe adapted from the original (p.17) in Ottolenghi: The Cookbook

1/2 pomegranate
2 medium fennel heads
4 tbs fresh edamame beans
1/2 cup cherry/plum tomatoes
1 1/2tbs olive oil
2 tsp crushed sumac, plus extra for garnish
juice of 1 lemon
4 tbs fresh basil leaves, roughly shredded
2 tbs fresh flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped
70g Greek feta cheese
salt and ground black pepper, for seasoning
Remove pomegranate seeds from the fruit. Be careful not to bruise them or break the skin. You can purchase pomegranate seeds also fresh from the cut fruit section in major supermarkets.

Remove leaves from the fennel, reserving some for garnish later. Trim the base, making sure there’s still enough left on to hold the slices together. Slice very thinly lengthwise. Place sliced fennel, herbs, edamame and cherry tomatoes in a large salad bowl.

In another bowl, mix the olive oil, sumac, lemon juice, herbs and some salt and pepper. Add this to the salad bowl, toss well. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste.

To serve, layer the fennel, then the feta and then the pomegranate seeds. Garnish with reserved fennel leaves, sprinkle with sumac and more parsley leaves if you have any lying about. Serve.

36 Responses to “Fennel and Feta with Pomegranate Seeds, Edamame & Sumac”
cattycatty Says:
April 12th, at 1:41 pm
That is a stunning salad! And I do love the Ottolenghi cook book too, but wish it had more photos!

noobcooknoobcook Says:
April 12th, at 2:32 pm
Your salad looks really fresh! love the colours. The pomegrenate gives it a pretty touch.

tigerfishtigerfish Says:
April 12th, at 3:23 pm
Seriously, this is the kind of salad I enjoy – more cheese , some good olive oil and squeeze of zesty lemon. No heavy dressing, no mayo for me. Those mayo really spoil my love for salads.

Goodness, you even have pom! Do you spit out the seeds after that? ;p

divadiva Says:
April 12th, at 3:23 pm
catty: I know! That kind of put me off a bit but I’m quite glad either way. It’s refreshing to know that the recipes still work brilliantly even without pics.

divadiva Says:
April 12th, at 3:24 pm
tigerfish: oh no definitely not! Eat the seeds. They’re so sweet and crunchy.

SophiaSophia Says:
April 12th, at 4:40 pm
Very interesting idea to use pomegranate seeds in the salad. Never would have thought of that, but I think I’m going to try it in my next salad. I love feta too, so this is a fab recipe. Your pics are breathtaking as well! I found another pomegranate salad recipe too! But there isn’t any cheese. Pomegranate Citrus Salad – http://www.recipe4living.com/recipes/pomegranate_citrus_salad.htm

DimahDimah Says:
April 12th, at 4:40 pm
Your salad looks fresh and delicious!

RosaRosa Says:
April 12th, at 5:12 pm
A wonderful salad! Fresh, healthy and mouthwatering….



MeetaMeeta Says:
April 12th, at 5:21 pm
this has got ottolenghi written all over it!! love the freshness and flavorful combination. glad you are enjoying the book!

Jessica @ How SweetJessica @ How Sweet Says:
April 12th, at 5:33 pm
I adore fennel! It is a new obsession of mine.

NaomiNaomi Says:
April 12th, at 6:39 pm
This sounds and looks delish. I love fennel and all the rest. FYI-Beautifully photographed. So jealous of your photog skills!

SasaSasa Says:
April 12th, at 7:54 pm
SO pretty! I was peering at some pomegranates today(for years I was convinced it was pomeNgranates) and wondering if I should splurge…Wish I had now so I could make this.
Totally anal over here too, s’all good ;P

divadiva Says:
April 12th, at 8:01 pm
Naomi: oh my I have no idea what you’re talking about, especially coming from you!! Baking extraordinaire and amazing cake photographer! Bless you! I wasn’t so sure about raw fennel because the licorice taste is rather strong but all that lemon, sumac and feta helped to combat that licorice-ness. 🙂
Sasa: AH. I’ve been splurging so I’m probably not a good influence on you, especially when I probably have too little left to my name. yes I haven’t checked my bank accounts and I haven’t got paid yet. It’s thoroughly depressing. Three cheers for us mad, anal sods.


Laura @ Hungry and FrozenLaura @ Hungry and Frozen Says:
April 12th, at 8:08 pm
That salad is the most beautiful thing! I love raw fennel…I think your additions are fantastic too, there is never a bad time for edamame 🙂

Bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets)Bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets) Says:
April 12th, at 8:09 pm
The flavors here are right up my alley! I love the first picture it is so vibrant! well done!

Su-yinSu-yin Says:
April 12th, at 8:30 pm
Gorgeous colours! I love pomegranate seeds, and any salad that has them in it is my kind of salad. 😉

Couscous & ConsciousnessCouscous & Consciousness Says:
April 12th, at 11:47 pm
This looks gorgeous – I have been inseparable from my Ottolenghi cookbook ever since I bought it as my Xmas present to myself! I have made so many things from it already and have post-it notes on nearly every page!! Hope you enjoy your book as much as I do.
I’ve only just discovered your blog, via Sasasunakku. It’s beautiful – I’ll be back for sure.

SarkaSarka Says:
April 13th, at 12:27 am
This salad is calling my name, so fresh and beautiful! And I’m envious you got your copy of Ottolenghi cookbook. 🙂 It’s still on my wish list.

[email protected]@kokken69 Says:
April 13th, at 1:00 am
I should eat more vegetables, I really should…but I am usually at a loss when it comes to vegetable preparation. Thanks for sharing this! I believe I should have not problem eating vegetables dish like this!

[email protected]@OohLook Says:
April 13th, at 2:18 am
I love the substitutions you made to the original salad – the colours are just gorgeous and it looks soooo edible 🙂

Lorraine @ Not Quite NigellaLorraine @ Not Quite Nigella Says:
April 13th, at 3:58 am
Gorgeous salad Diva! I love the colours and the flavours. I have some nice heirloom tomatoes in the fridge that would suit this perfectly! 😀

marla {family fresh cooking}marla {family fresh cooking} Says:
April 13th, at 4:14 am
I am so thrilled I just found your blog. So vibrant, creative and colorful. This salad sounds wonderful. The colors are amazing. I have never tried sumac, but I know I must soon.

ManggyManggy Says:
April 13th, at 6:42 am
Ah, “harmony” is indeed what entered my mind when I saw this beautiful plate. I am however glad that you decided to present us a salad with dressing! I’m not a drown-er but I do like a wet component somehow. If you love salads you might prefer Keller’s “Ad Hoc at Home” 🙂

Sarah, Maison CupcakeSarah, Maison Cupcake Says:
April 13th, at 6:51 am
Before I even clicked on the post I thought, ooh she’s done an Ottolenghi here! Looks fantastic, I hadn’t been sure about this one but having seen yours I would definitely try it.

On the lack of pictures… I’ve found that quite exciting that if I post something that isn’t pictured in the book that Ottolenghi fans reading will know which recipe I’m talking about and be glad to see what it looks like.

divadiva Says:
April 13th, at 8:09 am
marla {family fresh cooking}: I never tried sumac before I made this salad either and I don’t think I can go back. It’s quite tangy so it was love at first sight! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

manggy: I’ve heard of that cookbook! Thanks, I’ll need to check it out 🙂

Sarah, Maison Cupcake: That’s so true Sarah. And it’s quite liberating to not have any pictures so you don’t really know what the end result will be. Even if that’s quite scary, like being thrown into the deep end of the pool – and that’s REALLY scary for me since I can’t swim.


MizonMizon Says:
April 13th, at 1:12 pm
Mmmmmm this is absolutely my thing!!!! Miss your ammmazing food! And you! Xxx

deebadeeba Says:
April 14th, at 9:49 am
‘The salty creaminess of feta, tanginess of lemon, the licorice-laced crisp flavours of fennel, the explosive sweetness of Sultan’s Jewel tomatoes, the mild honeyish pomegranate seeds and the nuttiness of edamame all brought together in harmony by the grassiness of good extra virgin olive oil” … best salad I’ve seen evah sugah! It’s like a platter of treasures! Beautifully done. Enjoy Ottolenghi!!

5 Star Foodie5 Star Foodie Says:
April 14th, at 1:31 pm
What a refreshing and lovely salad – I love the combination of feta, fennel, and pom seeds – excellent!

Jennifer @ Maple n CornbreadJennifer @ Maple n Cornbread Says:
April 14th, at 3:59 pm
I just came across your blog and have to say- I love it!!! 🙂

Such a lovely salad- so vibrant and fresh, perfect for spring!

Sweets at VickySweets at Vicky’s Says:
April 15th, at 2:32 am
I’ve got my greeeeedy eyes on the Ad Hoc at Home book!!! I hear some gorgeous things about it, mostly being slightly less fussy and equally as yummy as those ‘fussier’ dishes.

I wanna chomp into that salad now and feel the burst of pomegranate! I must admit, Nigella got me into the whole pomegranate thing and i HEART it!

SophieSophie Says:
April 15th, at 11:17 am
A georgous & tasty spring salad, my dear!

Marvellous colours too!

Gera @ SweetsFoodsBlogGera @ SweetsFoodsBlog Says:
April 15th, at 9:34 pm
Adorable salad – a visual feast for the eyes and for the tummy too!
All the best,


David ADavid A Says:
April 15th, at 10:28 pm
Hi! I see you like cooking with Edamame!
Im with Seapoint Farms and we distribute edamame across the US! We just made a fun stop motion video about bad snacking which is on youtube.

Through tomorrow we are running a sweepstakes for people who comment on the video… leave a comment to win a case of KooLoos and dry roasted edamame!

Marc @ NoRecipesMarc @ NoRecipes Says:
April 16th, at 5:49 am
What a fun and playful salad. I love sumac and don’t know why it’s never occurred to me to stick it on a salad. I’m totally with you on thick cloying dressings like thousand island. Have a great weekend!

mochachocolataritamochachocolatarita Says:
April 17th, at 12:39 am
oh gosh, look at all the colors, it’s gotta be the most gorgeous lookin salad ever!

EricEric Says:
April 18th, at 5:39 am
Holy snap, that’s beautiful……