We have arrived! The time of year where patio dinners can finally happen. As you know, Joanna has a pretty nice outdoor dining setup, so I wanted to create a recipe that would be the perfect addition to any summer BBQ or chill evening dinner: a warm mixed grain salad recipe topped with roasted fennel and dandelion greens. This month’s dish can be served as a side, but is hardy enough to be a delicious vegetarian or vegan main dish with the flexibility to omit the shaved parmesan. As food trends move in a greener direction, I thought it would be fun to explore some delicious meat-free options. With this salad, it’s not missed at all. The addition of crushed green olives gives it a hearty texture, while the briny flavor complements the floral and bitter flavors of the dandelion greens perfectly. Get ready to eat this all summer long!
Never had dandelion greens? You’re probably not alone. These greens are a mix of floral and bitter. The earlier you get them in the spring, the less bitter they are. The flavor profile is similar to that of endive or radicchio. If you’re concerned with the bitter flavor, you can always do a very simple sauté with olive oil or replace them with a peppery alternative, arugula. With the greens growing in popularity and availability, though, why not give it a go?
Warm Mixed Grain Salad Recipe with Roasted Fennel and Dandelion Greens
- 4 cups mixed grains/ancient grains cooked
- 1/2 cup dandelion greens (or arugula) chopped
- 1 lemon zested
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- to taste parmesan shaved
- 1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives pitted and crushed
- 1 medium bulb fennel tops removed and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
- olive oil
- to taste salt and pepper
- Prepare the grains of your choice according to the packaging and set them aside. For additional flavor, cook with vegetable broth instead of water.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Slice and prepare fennel, then toss in olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste, then spread out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Roast the fennel for about 15 to 20 minutes, flipping the pieces halfway through. Once the fennel is done roasting, set it aside to allow it to cool slightly.
- Zest the lemon over the reserved grain mixture along with the fennel, shaved parmesan cheese, and crushed olive. Next, salt and pepper to taste and toss in the dandelion greens and lemon juice.
Serve this salad slightly warm right away or at room temperature at a gathering! Enjoy!
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