Caramelized Fennel and Black Quinoa Salad with Mozzarella, Black Olives, and Basil

Black quinoa has a bit of an earthier flavor and crunchier texture than white quinoa and it pairs really well with different variations of roasted vegetables. This quinoa salad puts sweet roasted and caramelized fennel wedges front and center, complementing them with the gentle creaminess of mozzarella and the salinity of black olives. It’s salty, tangy, herbaceous, and creamy all at once. Serve warm or chilled.

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  • Servings: 4
KEY: Grains

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  • 2 large fennel bulbs, halved, cored and cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup black quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • 8 large leaves basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Combine the fennel quarters and extra virgin olive oil in a bowl and toss to coat. Arrange the pieces cut side down on the lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes, turning over once half way through, until tender and browned. Let stand at room temperature.

  3. In a fine mesh sieve, rinse the quinoa under cold water and strain. Combine the quinoa, water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and gently simmer for 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the quinoa to a strainer to drain out the remaining cooking liquid. Fluff the quinoa, let stand at room temperature and set aside.

  4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the white balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, honey, and olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Add the quinoa, fennel wedges, Kalamata olives, mozzarella, basil, and parsley to the bowl and lightly toss to combine. Taste to adjust for seasonings with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, drizzle lightly with olive oil right before serving.

Make Ahead

This quinoa salad can be made up to one day ahead and served chilled.

Contributed By Photo © Sarah Bolla Published June 2014

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