Broccoli and Fennel Salad

Broccoli and Fennel Salad
This is one of my favorite recipes.  It is light, flexible, and healthy.  It is delicious with fresh broccoli from the farmers market, and equally good with winter broccoli from the grocery store.  Best of all, it gets better with time and tastes good warm or cold, so it makes excellent leftovers!
Broccoli and Fennel Salad Ingredients (serves 4):
3 cups chopped broccoli
1 head fennel, chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
1 cup whole grain (brown rice, farro, barley, quinoa)
2 cups of water or broth
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari, liquid aminos, or soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
optional: 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
optional: 1/4 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
Broccoli and Fennel Salad
Start by washing and chopping the broccoli and fennel.  Toss both with olive oil and lay out on a baking sheet.  Roast at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes until cooked through and beginning to crisp.  Note, I love fennel and think it’s great in this recipe, but certain people really don’t like fennel.  If you’re one of those fennel-haters, feel free to skip it and make this salad with just broccoli.
While the broccoli and fennel are roasting, begin to cook your grain.  I like to switch up my grains when making dishes like this – it keeps things interesting and ensures that you are getting all the varied nutritional benefits from different whole grains.  Remember to try tossing in some arame seaweed and/or astragalus root while cooking your grains for even more nutrients.
Combine olive oil, vinegar, tamari, and garlic in a separate jar to make the dressing.
Rinse your tomatoes and cut them in half.  If you’re using feta, crumble it and add it to a large bowl with the tomatoes.  Add the hot cooked grains, roasted vegetables, and dressing to the bowl and toss everything together so the warm grains melt the cheese.  Sprinkle sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds on top of the salad before serving.
Broccoli is one of those vegetables that I try to eat often.  It’s a member of the brassica family and is totally packed with nutrients and cancer-fighting properties.  I really like the fresh, green flavor of broccoli on its own, but I also like that broccoli absorbs the flavors it’s cooked with so well. As my friend Eli says, those little florets are flavor sponges!

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