Today is a good day. Let me tell you why:
AJ and I are heading up to Tahoe (California’s playground, for those of you from other states) tonight, with an overnight stop at AJ’s parents’ house.
That means we get to eat a home-cooked meal that I don’t have to make, we get to go play outside, and I get to relax a little bit more than usual.
This is definitely not the prime time for us to be taking a vacation, but we could really use it. We’ll only be gone for a few days, so what can it hurt?
On top of the excited anticipation that I’m feeling for our upcoming trip, it’s also a good day because I made this roasted vegetable grain bowl thingamabob for dinner last night.
It has fennel in it. And I ate it. And I liked it.
guacamole fennel! I will be the first person to tell you that I don’t like fennel. I’m NOT a licorice fan, and when I feel like someone stuck licorice all up in my nice veggies, then I get really offended.
But apparently, when you roast fennel, 95% of the licorice-y-ness goes away, leaving behind just enough to actually be tasty.
I roasted the fennel with some carrots and Brussels sprouts, because these vegetables are mandatory at almost all meals served during the fall harvest season, and especially at Thanksgiving.
When they were done roasting, I tossed them with some cooked barley and drizzled a sesame sage dressing all over them.
The amount of dressing was kind of excessive. The amount of delicious was equally so.
This dish would make an amazing vegetarian or vegan main dish for Thanksgiving, or it would also be perfect as a side. Really, with a dish this simple and pretty, you just can’t go wrong.Print
This is the perfect fall meal! With fennel, carrots, and Brussels sprouts, it makes a great vegetarian or vegan main dish, or could be used as a side.
For the Dish:
- 1 bulb fennel
- 1 bunch carrots (about 10 small or 6 medium)
- 3 cups Brussels sprouts
- 3–4 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 8 oz par-cooked barley
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
- Fresh sage leaves
For the Dressing:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp ground sage
- 1/8 tsp ground coriander
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 450°F (400°F if you’re using convection).
- Slice the tops off the fennel without cutting into the bulb itself, and cut off the base of the bulb. Slice it in half from top to bottom, then cut into 1/2″ wedges, using the center core as the pivot.
- Cut the carrots in half lengthwise. If your carrots are thick, cut in half lengthwise again. Aim to get all your carrots to be about the same width so they cook evenly.
- Trim the Brussels sprouts and cut in half through the stalk.
- Place all the veggies in a 9×13″ baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, then use your hands to distribute the oil. Bake for about 1 hour (50 mins for convection), tossing halfway through, until the veggies are easily pierced with a fork.
- While the veggies cook, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and mix with a fork.
- Also cook the barley – bring a pot of water to boil and add the barley. Cook for 10 minutes and drain.*
- When the veggies are done roasting, combine them with the barley, then drizzle the dressing on top. Toss a bit and serve topped with sliced cherry tomatoes and pomegranate arils. Garnish with fresh sage leaves.
Depending on the barley you use, these instructions may vary. Check the package and cook according to package directions.
Serving size is based on a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner, where there are many dishes. If you are making this as a main dish, it’ll likely provide about 4 portions.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Vegetables
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Vegan
Keywords: side dish, barley, fennel, Brussels sprouts, vegan
What will you serve alongside these delicious vegan grain bowls? And how will you change up the recipe to make it your own? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it!
For even more veggie goodness, some of these delicious roasted recipes should trip your trigger:
Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on November 12, 2015. Last updated: December 31, 2019 at 5:36 am.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Raquel Smith
Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now merged into Foodal).