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Grilled Fennel + Veggie Millet Salad with Kale Pesto

I’ve been thinking about grilling fennel ever since seeing Spoon, Fork, Bacon’s recent post for their Grilled Fennel Tart.  It never occurred to me to grill this vegetable but wow, am I in love.

Grilled Fennel + Veggie Millet Salad with Kale Pesto // edible perspective

The fennel becomes tender but still holds a nice bite, while the flavor mellows and turns slightly sweet.  It proved to be an ideal match with this hearty, garlicky kale pesto you see below.

You can make pesto out of nearly anything.  Broccoli, arugula, parsley, cilantro, etc.  You don’t have to limit yourself to basil + pine nuts.  Walnuts are the perfect substitute when lightly toasted and while kale isn't as flavorful as basil it creates its own unique pesto qualities.  Slightly nutty—especially with the walnuts + parmesan—and a bit earthy as kale normally is.  A bit of lemon brightens everything up!

Grilled Fennel + Veggie Millet Salad with Kale Pesto // edible perspective

You can make this pesto as is or throw in sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parsley, or maybe some roasted garlic.  It’s a pretty flexible recipe, so feel free to get creative.

Grilled Fennel + Veggie Millet Salad with Kale Pesto // edible perspective

Print this!

Grilled Fennel + Veggie Millet Salad with Kale Pesto gluten-free, vegan option // serves ~4

Kale Pesto

adapted from: vegan kale pesto

  • 1 large bunch lacinato/dinosaur kale, washed + stemmed
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted chopped walnuts
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt + pepper
  • 1/4 cup basil or other herb, optional
  1. Bring water to boil in a large pot.
  2. Prepare a large bowl with ice water.
  3. Once boiling place kale into the pot and stir for 2 minutes until wilted and bright green.
  4. Drain water + place kale immediately into the ice bath.
  5. Drain once chilled and pat dry with a kitchen towel, soaking up as much moisture as possible.
  6. Place the garlic in the food processor and turn on until chopped.
  7. Scrape the sides and place the kale, cheese, walnuts, and lemon juice in the food processor.
  8. Pulse until well combined.  Scrape the sides as needed.
  9. Turn on or pulse while streaming in the olive oil.  Add more olive oil until desired consistency is reached.  Blend further for a smoother texture.
  10. Taste and add salt + pepper to your preference.  I used about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of each.

Two other vegan pesto recipes: White Bean or Tofu Creamy Basil Pesto + Avocado Basil Pesto

Grilled Fennel Veggie Salad

  • 1 cup uncooked millet, rinsed + drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 head lacinato/dinosaur kale, washed + stemmed
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 1 1/2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, stemmed + sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 tablespoon ghee or olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • salt + pepper

*roasted chickpeas would be a great addition

  1. Melt oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat.
  2. Once hot add the millet and stir for about 3-5 minutes until lightly toasted.
  3. Add the water, bring to a boil, stir then reduce heat to simmer and cover for 20 minutes.  Keep covered and place on a cool burner for 5-10min.  Fluff with a fork.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350*.
  5. While the millet is cooking lightly coat the kale with oil, salt, and pepper and place in a single layer on a large pan.  Roast for about 15-20 minutes until just starting to brown and crisp. Toss once while cooking.
  6. Lightly coat the rest of the veggies with oil, salt, and pepper and heat a grill pan over medium/med-high.
  7. Grill the cauliflower and fennel for about 4-5min per side until just tender and golden brown.  Coarsely chop then place on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.
  8. Grill the pepper for 2-3min per side flipping once.
  9. Toss the millet and veggies together or top veggies over millet.
  10. Serve hot with a side of pesto.

notes/subs:  If you don’t have a grill pan or panini pan you can sauté the vegetables instead.

Grilled Fennel + Veggie Millet Salad with Kale Pesto // edible perspective

There are really so many options with this dish.  You can make the entire meal, only the grilled veggies, just the pesto, the pesto and veggies, stuff it all into a wrap, or maybe something else? The sky’s the limit!

Grilled Fennel + Veggie Millet Salad with Kale Pesto // edible perspective

This week is going to be extremely delicious.  Get ready.


Reader Comments (9)

I love when traditional pesto recipes are turned on their heads and made into something unique. This pesto fits the bill completely! It sounds so good. I will definitely be throwing some fennel on the grill this year. That tart from Spoon, Fork, Bacon looked divine.
March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
I've always been a little afraid of fennel, but really, between you and S,F,B, I have to try it!
March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAbby @The Frosted Vegan
I love how bright green this is. It would be my fist time tasting kale, and I think this looks like a non-scary way to try it for the first time!
March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJess
I'm convinced that pesto can be made from pretty much anything, it's so versatile. This salad looks awesome, I love millet.
Kale pesto! And I can't wait to see your other recipes this week ;)
I never thought to grill fennel either. Looks amazing! I'll definitely be giving this a try. Your pesto looks so yummy too!

Thanks for sharing.
March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
We've got wild fennel growing in our backyard!
March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris
My 2013 challenge for myself has been to use unfamiliar vegetables in unfamiliar ways. Just when I'm in a rut, this is what I need! I have never been a huge fan of fennel, but the grilling aspect adds some interesting dimension.
- jessica
WOW!!!! I love when traditional pesto recipes are turned on their heads and made into something unique.
Thanks for sharing
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVoucher Discount

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