QUINOA WITH ROASTED FENNEL, CURRANTS, AND DILL

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I am very excited about this dish, and I rarely get excited about quinoa. This recipe came out of a request for a vegan entree at a dinner party I recently catered.  Roasted fennel, toasted almonds, dill, and sweet dried currants all tossed together with warm quinoa. Substantial enough to stand on its own as an entree, it can easily be a side dish for any number of proteins. Both sweet and savory, it is complex in flavor, deeply satisfying, and tastes like winter.

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QUINOA WITH ROASTED FENNEL, CURRANTS, AND DILL

1 cup organic quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
A pinch of sea salt

4 scallions, washed, trimmed, sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/4 cup slivered, blanched almonds
1/8 cup dried currants
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dried dill
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Juice from 1 lemon
lemon olive oil (optional)
sea salt
black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place quinoa and water in a pot and season with salt. Cover, bring to a boil, and cook the quinoa until all the water is absorbed. With a fork, gently fluff the quinoa. Set aside. (If you have a rice cooker, you can prepare the quinoa as you would prepare white rice.)

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In a large bowl, combine the scallions, fennel, almonds, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, dill, garlic, and a generous pinch of sea salt. Mix to combine. Pour the mixture onto a baking sheet and evenly spread it out. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the fennel starts to brown.

IMG_4668Remove the pan from the oven. Pour the fennel mixture back into a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked quinoa, currants, chopped parsley, and lemon juice. Drizzle a little lemon olive oil or regular olive oil into the mixture if it seems a little dry. Stir to combine. Taste. Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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