Roast Fennel and Leek Salad with Butterbeans


Necessity is the mother of invention.  That’s what they say isn’t it?  Well, whatever it is they say, it was true for me recently.  My cooking crisis had been threatening for some time, but I just didn’t want to face it.  I knew the day would come all too soon when my stove top would give out, but I chose to stick my head in the sand.  I think the first signs were about two years ago (I know, that long!) when the digital beeps rung out through the house for no reason.  No reason that I could see anyway.  Then, about 4 or 5 months ago, my sleek electric built in top notch stove top began to get really touchy.  It seemed like nothing I did made it happy.  Was my cooking too hot? Too cold? Too slow?  Too fast?  I just didn’t know anymore.  Then it happened.  The beeping started one hot summer’s day and it just wouldn’t stop.  All I could do to stop the constant squealing was to go to the mains and shut down the whole kitchen.  Panic, to say the least.  I  couldn’t cook, I couldn’t give lessons.  I spent a long Sunday evening on the internet looking for a saviour. An electrical genius to get me out of this mess.  Eventually, I found him, the man who could hook me up, but, he had a waiting list.  A positive sign, I told myself, you can’t expect a good tradesman to be available straight away.  The thought of him coming to replace my stove top calmed me to some extent, but what to do in the coming two weeks?  Monday morning, straight on the phone to clients, rescheduling complete, I slumped in my chair.  What was I going to eat?  Luckily, my oven was working.  So all was not lost, and, I  had worked out that if I switched my stove top off at the mains for 2 hours, then one, small ring would work for 6 minutes.  My first thoughts were of course that I could roast meat – great, make plenty and have it with some roast vegetables, then use the leftovers the next day.  Ok, then what?  The weather was good, so I could eat salads, yup, not bad either, but I wanted more than just roast chicken and some raw salad.  I had to pull something out of the recipe recesses of my mind for this one.  Then a light bulb moment, I could of course roast vegetables for salads too.  Not just the run of the mill vegetables, but some others that may be a bit forgotten about, a bit unloved.  Armed with, leeks, fennel, some flavour makers and a tin of butterbeans, I headed back into the kitchen.


Roast Fennel and Leek Salad with Butterbeans

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

For the Salad
2 x tsp olive oil
2 x fennel bulbs, chopped into thin slices (keep back the green feathery frons to dress)
3 x medium leeks, cleaned thoroughly and sliced into about 2cm (just under an inch) pieces
Salt and pepper
2 x 400gr tins of butterbeans, drained and rinsed
50gr feta cheese

The Dressing
2 x tbsp of olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1 x tbsp of honey


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C / 400°F
  2. Place the fennel and the leeks into a roasting tray, drizzle over the oil and add a little salt and pepper, mix through with your hands until everything is covered with the oil.  Put your vegetables in the oven to roast for about 25 minutes.  About halfway through the cooking time, remove from the oven and mix around so that you get a more even browning on the veggies.  The vegetables are ready when some are browned and they have all softened.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little.
  3. Whilst the vegetables are cooking you can mix up the dressing.
  4. Add the beans and the dressing to the roast vegetables, mix through carefully until you get an even looking salad, then check for seasoning.
  5. Place your salad into a serving bowl, crumble over the feta and sprinkle over the fennel frons.
  6. This salad is best served at room temperature.

Tips and Variations

  • I like to serve the salad with fish,  baked salmon is my favourite.  It goes really well with chicken and pork too.
  • This salad will keep for a couple of days in the fridge.  I like to liven it up by a tin of tuna or salmon through any leftovers for a tasty lunch the next day.






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