I'm always looking for grain salads to use as sides that are inexpensive and easy to prepare. It does not get much simpler than this salad which packs an unexpected wallop of toasty, anisey flavor. It came together, as so many good recipes do, by picking through things I had in my pantry and fridge, and the final product was so good, my husband and I agreed it could stand on it's own as a simple (but delicious) lunch. The quantities listed below aren't exact, because I threw this together sort of willy nilly, so feel free to go heavier on the things you like! —lisina
Cook quinoa as directed, adding the cardamom to the cooking liquid, as well as a bit of salt. When the quinoa is cooked, move it to a large mixing bowl and fluff with a fork..
Lay the fennel out on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast at 425 until the fennel is tender and crisp. My fennel was diced very small, so this only took about 15 minutes for me. Add the fennel to the mixing bowl.
Reduce your oven to 350. Lay your almonds on a baking sheet and roast until the almonds are toasted all the way through, about 25 minutes. Watch them carefully to make sure they don't burn. Let the almonds cool, then chop. Add the almonds, as well all the almond crumbs and almond dust from chopping, into the mixing bowl.
Add the sultanas, the caraway and the fennel fronds to the bowl and stir everything together until it is very well mixed. Taste for seasoning and add more of anything you like! Do not add any additional oil to the salad--it will just way it down, and you want to keep this light and fluffy.
You can make this ahead and keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days for snacks, sides and lunches.