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I used to have picnics every week. It feels like a lifetime ago. I was working in an entomology lab post undergraduate school. We spent a lot of time in the vineyards staring at plants. More specifically, we looked at bugs on plants. When we had these 12 to 15 hour field trip days, we brought along a picnic lunch. It’s a much easier approach to feeding 8 hungry undergraduate, postgraduate, and graduate students in the middle of a field. (There were a decent amount of burritos thrown into the mix but that’s another story.)
These picnics were usually an assemblage of hummus, baba ghanoush, fresh fruit, pickles, olives, carrot sticks, cucumbers, bread, cheese, and charcuterie. When it was my turn to shop for the picnic, I always made this egg salad. A little egg salad goes a long way. So do pickles, but I digress.
The exact vegetables and proportions in this egg salad have changed over the years. But a few things have remained the same: poppyseed dressing and smoked paprika. The dressing stems from my aversion to mayonnaise. (If you too are mayo averse, check out this mayo-free green goddess pasta salad.) Combined with all the other savory foods on our picnic, something with a slightly sweet profile always did the trick. As did chocolate, which was also included. On the picnic that is. Not this egg salad.
This time of the year, I love roasting fennel to add a depth of unexpected flavor to egg salad. Traditional recipes sometimes call for celery, but I like the subtle sweetness that roasted fennel offers. You could roast the carrots as well, but I love the crunch and textural contrast it provides in the egg salad. If you want to skip roasting the fennel, it’s great raw in this egg salad. A word of warning that the anise licorice flavor is more prominent in raw fennel. I love it, but some may not.
This egg salad is so versatile! It’s great with other dips and spreads with crostini, on sandwiches, or alongside a hearty salad like this spinach farro salad.
Let me know if you try this recipe! Leave a comment below, rate it, and check out The Seasoned Vegetable on Facebook!
Easy Egg Salad Recipe with Roasted Fennel
An easy, fast, no mayo egg salad recipe with roasted fennel and carrots to get a few extra vegetables in this classic picnic dish.
small fennel bulbs, fronds removed
medium sized carrot
poppy seed dressing
Heat oven to 350°F.
To hard boil eggs, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Gently lower eggs into boiling water, reduce to simmer. Let simmer 10 minutes.
Remove eggs from heat and transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water to shock. Let sit 1 to 2 minutes. Then peel shells and transfer hard boiled eggs to a large bowl. Roughly mash eggs with a fork.
While water is boiling and eggs are cooking, prepare fennel.
Trim off the ends of fennel bulbs. Slice bulbs 1/4-inch thin and toss with olive oil. Spread fennel evenly on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. When fennel is tender, remove from oven and let cool to touch. Then mince fennel.
While fennel and eggs are cooking, mince carrot.
Transfer minced roasted fennel and minced carrot to the bowl with the hard boiled eggs. Add poppy seed dressing, smoked paprika, and salt. Mix well before serving.
I find this preparation of boiled eggs the most consistent. I also do my soft boiled eggs this way, but simmer for less time. The ice water bath shocks the eggs and makes the inner membranes easier to peel. Also, older eggs are easier to peel rather than fresh eggs.
CHECK THE FRIDGE
If you can’t find poppyseed dressing, try this recipe with any creamy dressing. Cilantro avocado, ranch, or my green goddess dressing are good options! Have other vegetables on hand? Radishes, parsnips, or kohlrabi would be good to add to the mix. Start with 1/4 cup and add more to taste!