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

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


Fennel + Citrus Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

Pretty please tell me that you are not sick of citrus yet?

This is the first year I’ve really tried making actual citrus recipes, and I kind of can’t stop.  Just be glad it’s not still butternut squash + pumpkin.

I’m actually kind of new to grapefruit.  Obviously I’ve known about this fruit since I was little, but I never enjoyed it until discovering the Ruby Red variety.  When it comes to the eating part, I really thought the only option was slicing it in half and digging the fruit out with a spoon.  That’s how my dad ate it so it must be the only way, right?

While that works, it’s a little annoying if you don’t have a grapefruit spoon.  I’ve tried peeling it like an orange but cannot stand the bitterness of the pith.  First it’s this juicy, sweet, citrusy fruit, and then it turns into the feeling of sucking on a sour cotton ball.

So, welcome to my new favorite method for consuming grapefruit.   

You may already know this method, but it was revolutionary to me so I just had to share.

How to slice a grapefruit:

  1. Wash + dry the grapefruit.
  2. With a sharp knife slice the skin + pith off the grapefruit, from end to end, being careful not to cut too deep.  You want to expose the flesh of the fruit but not cut too much away with the peel.
  3. Slice all the way around and on the top and bottom ends.
  4. Turn the grapefruit on its side and make a slice on both sides of the white segment lines towards the center core.
  5. Repeat all the way around, removing each grapefruit segment as you go.
  6. Squeeze remaining juice from the cut grapefruit into your mouth or a bowl if desired.

*Oranges can also be cut this way.

I think part of my citrus obsession can also be attributed to the fact that I LOVE photographing it. 

And then there’s fennel!  Definitely an underutilized ingredient in my kitchen.  Mostly due to the fact that it’s fairly pricey around here.  However, once in awhile I decide to buy it and I’m always so glad when I do.  The fennel ended up being a fabulous compliment to the citrus.

For a little more crunch and a slight sour bite, I also added green apple.

This was my first time creating a dressing with champagne vinaigrette.  Wow.  Bright, flavorful, and a definite match for this salad.  I highly recommend giving champagne vinaigrette a try if you haven’t yet.

This could turn into an everyday thing.

If there was ever a refreshing salad, this would be IT.

Print this!

Fennel + Citrus Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

gluten-free + vegan option // yields 2 generous salads

for the dressing:

  • 6 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey or agave
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt + pepper
  1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until fully combined.  Or, vigorously whisk together.  Taste and add more salt/pepper if desired.
  2. Chill excess in a sealed container for 2-3 days and shake before using.

for the salad:

  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 green apple, thinly sliced
  • 1 ruby red grapefruit
  • 1 large orange
  • mixed baby greens
  • pepitas to top
  1. Toss about 1/2 cup of the sliced fennel with 1 tablespoon of dressing and let sit.
  2. Slice the grapefruit and orange as instructed earlier in this post.
  3. Place mixed greens in the bowls and then top with the fruit and fennel toppings. 
  4. Finish with pepitas, salt, pepper and desired amount of dressing.
  5. Serve immediately.

I can guarantee at least one more citrus recipe in the next week or so.

Stay tuned.