Bagna Cauda Fennel Grains

The New York Times posted last week about a Spanish study done on the people in the Mediterranean and their diet. The study aimed to prove that people that lived on the Mediterranean diet had lowered chances of heart diseases. Its goal was not to say that they were thinner or not, but that they were altogether healthier. People ate more fresh veggies and fruit, more fish and less red meat, and NO processed meats, sugars, ready-made meals (horsemeat lasagna anyone?!), no junk food, no sodas. It just boggles my mind that something as this, as common sense needs to be put on as an ultimatum to people so that they would pay attention. Of course if you don’t eat junk food, you’ll feel and look better! Why does it need to be a study for you to believe what is common sense and maybe realize it for yourself and start practicing it???

Considering my vegetable pantry situation, it was time to experiment. I had one little fennel bulb that I don’t even know what I bought it for and now needed to be used. But then I also remembered how much I loved that bagna cauda dressing and as I said, I was dreaming of putting it into something, over something hahah I don’t even know if I should be calling this a recipe, since it’s a mix of many things, but it was exactly that – an improvisation with a very tasty end! I was standing over the stovetop and meditating to myself: this Mediterranean, think Mediterranean…. Therefore, take this as a suggestion. Modify things to your taste, but keep it Mediterranean 🙂 Tomatoes, wine, olive oil, dark chocolate are your friends; heavy creams, sugars, flours and butter are not. I am not saying don’t ever have cream (I mean WHO has the mascarpone? hint: it’s not the Swedes!) but they’re supposed to be treats, not an every day staple!


1 tbsp olive oil

1 small fennel bulb, cleaned, halved and sliced

1 small onion, halved and sliced

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 of recipe for bagna cauda dressing

cooked grains (I had a handful of wheatberries, and two handfuls of quinoa, I eyeballed it)

a sprinkling of dried thyme

a sprinkling of fresh/frozen chopped basil

1 small tomato

a bunch or two of arugula

lemon juice/olive oil

1/2 of 1 ripe avocado


1. Cook your grains in a pot of boiling water, lightly salted and seasoned with some dried thyme. When done, strain and transfer to a bowl.

2. Heat the 1 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan and add the fennel and onion. Lower the heat to medium.

fennel simmering away…

3. Cook and keep stirring so it doesn’t stick until the fennel has softened. You can cook it until it is as soft or as crunchy as you’d like. When done to your likeness, remove from the pan and mix with the grains.

4. Use the same pan to make the bagna cauda dressing. When it is done, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool.

5. When the bagna cauda has cooled a bit, it should still be warm, mix it with the grains. Season with salt, pepper and the chopped basil.

6. Chop the little tomato and dress the arugula with the avocado, lemon juice and olive oil. I did not add salt, because the grains were salty enough from the bagna cauda and that was enough for me.


And there it is! A healthy Mediterranean feast! How easy was that???



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