Grilled Fennel & Quinoa Crunch Salad

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 1 vote

Grilled fennel and quinoa salad has plenty of crunch and is a beautiful vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free potluck or side dish option.

Roasted Fennel & Quinoa Crunch Salad - The First Mess

Rather recently, I was talking to the man in my life about how my day went, happenings, the weather… you know, small talk. Then he said something big, my idea of big anyway. He had bought himself some organic quinoa at Costco. This is awesome because A) he independently thought it would be cool to have some whole grains kicking around and B) did you see A?!

Suffice to say, I was rather pleased at this development and set out to make a little salad with some strong and fresh flavours that he could get into. I know quinoa salad recipes are ubiquitous to say the least, but this one’s a keeper for me anyway. Grilled fennel, fresh dill, crunchy cucumbers, spicy radishes and a healthy dose of lemon… it’s a great combo. And the fennel loses a bit of its liquorice taste once caramelized. It’s a bit softer and just really nice! If you’re on the fence about fennel, I’d urge you to try it this way.

In addition to this grilled fennel and quinoa salad, I have lots of other great quinoa recipes if you’re looking to use some up: pesto quinoa and white bean bake, stuffed squash with broccoli rabe and quinoa, and sweet potato quinoa cakes to name a few.

With this recipe, the quinoa is pretty easy to cook and the rest of the vegetables need just a bit of chopping. I don’t even pre-whisk the dressing ingredients, just pour all of the components on top of the cooked grain and vegetables, and then I mix it all up together. Once you get the pre-soaking of the quinoa thing down, you’re off and running with this grilled fennel and quinoa salad.

Grilled Fennel and Quinoa Crunch Salad

Grilled fennel and quinoa salad has plenty of crunch and is a beautiful vegan and gluten-free and nut-free potluck option.
5 from 1 vote
Roasted Fennel & Quinoa Crunch Salad - The First Mess
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings 4 -6


  • ¾ cup quinoa, soaked & drained
  • cups water
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 small bulb of fennel, halved and core removed save some of the fronds for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for grilling/roasting
  • 4 radishes, halved and sliced thin
  • ½ of an english cucumber, small dice
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup toasted and chopped nuts or seeds (optional)


  • Grill


  • This recipe serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side.
  • I soak quinoa for about 15 minutes before I drain and cook, just to get some of the bitterness off of the exterior of the grains.
  • Also, you’re just grilling the fennel to soften it up a bit and get some char happening. There are instructions for roasting in the recipe as well.


  • Cook the quinoa: combine quinoa with the water and 1 teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  • IF ROASTING THE FENNEL: Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. IF GRILLING THE FENNEL: Preheat your grill to high.
  • Grill the fennel: brush the halved fennel with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place onto the grill, cut side down. Grill until char marks are achieved on both sides and fennel feels a bit soft, about 4-5 minutes per side.
  • Remove the fennel from the grill and cut into a rough small dice. I do this by placing the flat side of the fennel down, cutting into lengthwise slices and then cutting those slices into smaller pieces.
  • Or roast the fennel: slice the halves of fennel and toss them in a bit of oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them out on the lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until soft and there are golden, caramelized edges.
  • Fluff the cooled quinoa with a fork and place into a large bowl. Add grilled and chopped fennel, radishes, cucumber, dill and green onions. Add dijon, lemon juice and the 3 tablespoons of olive oil on top. Season liberally with salt and pepper and mix until thoroughly combined. Garnished with the toasted nuts/seeds (if using) and reserved fennel fronds if you like.
18/07/2011 (Last Updated 01/03/2024)
Posted in: appetizer, earthy, gluten free, grill, quick, refined sugar-free, salad, side dish, sour, spring, sweet, vegan


Recipe Rating

  • Joe Freilich

    Hi, where can i purchase the red rimmed bowl shown above? Is It part of a set ? Thanks

    • Laura

      Hi Joe, I purchased that bowl at an antique shop. West Elm sells a variety of enamelware bowls though. And Falcon Enamelware is a great source too.

  • Jackie Ryan

    Is there a way to get a printer friendly recipe?? Am I missing something??

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Jackie,
      As of right now, I haven’t found a print plug-in that I like, so it’ll have to be the old copy + paste move until then. Sorry!

  • IAmJ

    This was delicious, very refreshing and lovely. The fennel becomes nice and sweet upon roasting and plays very nicely off the cucumber and radishes. I added a small handful each of toasted pepitas and pine nuts. Great flavors all around! Thank you for the recipe!

  • Kelly Campagnola

    Made this this morning for a lunch time BBQ! A little nervous about introducing a bunch of meat eaters to the idea of fennel in a salad that isnt composed of potatoes and mayo – should be interesting. :) I subbed the quinoa for cous cous and its still very pleasant! So far I really like it – considering adding a couple chopped dates to sweeten it up just a tad! Obsessed with your website!!<3