All Recipes/ Everyday Meals/ Latest Posts/ Salads/ Vegetarian

Baked Fonio with Pomegranate and Walnut Salsa

April 10, 2023 (Last Updated: November 11, 2023)

Perfectly cooked fonio with mint, topped with creamy goat cheese, and a tangy, sweet, and nutty salsa make this dish a vibrant, nutritious, and delicious addition to any meal. It’s so easy; you can make it for a weeknight dinner and sophisticated enough to make it the star of a festive meal.

This baked fonio with pomegranate and walnut salsa is perfect as a vegetarian main dish or can be a side dish for any type of meat. Since it can be served warm or cold, it’s perfect for sharing meals, garden parties, and potlucks.

Why we love this dish

There are so many reasons we love this recipe! Here are the most important ones:

  • It’s so vibrant and special, with so many flavors and textures. The spices and salsa make this baked fonio a star dish! And because it is so easy to make, it’s the type of dish that will wow guests with minimal effort.
  • Fonio is gluten-free and lectin-free, so a great alternative to other grain or pseudo-grain casseroles that have gluten or lectins (like quinoa, rice, or bulgur). While fonio is still a carb, it has a lower glycemic index than rice and more nutrients.
  • Cooked this way, the fonio grain shines. It is the best way I have cooked fonio so far!
  • Toasting coriander and cumin seeds, then grinding them, gives this combo a whole new flavor profile and pairs perfectly well with the fonio and mint. I use this combo to spice cakes, so feel free to experiment if you have leftovers.
  • The pomegranate and walnut salsa is amazing, with so much flavor and so much texture! Make sure you toast the walnuts whole first; then, grind them. Also, please use green olives. I tried with kalamata olives, and it’s not the same. Use good quality aged balsamic vinegar (the one that is a bit thick).
  • We love that this dish is so versatile: it can be served as a complete vegetarian meal by itself, with a green salad; it makes for a perfect side dish to your favorite protein and for a sharing platter for a potluck.
  • It can be served warm or cold; both ways are delicious.
  • All in all, this is a healthy meal, with a lot of nutrients: polyphenols, protein, fiber, omega-3s, healthy fats, and more!

Baked fonio: fluffy, light and easy to make

Inspired by an Ottolenghi baked rice recipe I discovered one day on Instagram, this dish is my new favorite way of cooking and eating fonio. Fonio is an African ancient grain that is very nutritious and a better alternative to rice. To learn more about fonio, what it is, where to buy it and how to use it, check out our article:

When I saw the baked rice recipe, I immediately wondered: ‘Can fonio be baked like this, in the oven? And what would the texture be like?’

It turned out baked fonio is the best way to cook fonio, at least from what I have tried so far. The result is fluffy and light fonio, with a lot of flavor from the butter, mint, and toasted coriander and cumin seeds.

The salsa, made with pomegranate arils, toasted walnuts, green olives, mint, and just a hint of garlic, bursts with flavors and adds so many interesting textures to the dish.

Ingredients to make baked fonio with pomegranate and walnut salsa

This dish is very easy, but to make things even smoother, I recommend you prepare the salsa in advance whenever you have 10 minutes during the day.

FOR THE SALSA (can be made in advance):

  • 6 tablespoons pomegranate arils
  • 7 tablespoons toasted walnuts (ground)
  • 3 tablespoons green olives (sliced or chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon raw, local honey or Manuka
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (aged Modena if possible)
  • pinch of sea salt (to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (only chop it before serving, to preserve freshness)

FOR THE FONIO:

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds + 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (you won’t use it all for this dish)
  • 1/2 cup fonio
  • 6-8 mint leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of French or Italian butter (about 20 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

EXTRA:

  • about 50 grams of Feta cheese or creamy goat cheese

How to make it fonio bake

To make this dish with the below quantities, you will need an ovenproof baking dish that can safely hold about 2 1/2 cups of liquid. Increase the size as you increase the quantity of ingredients.

These quantities will make 2 generous servings. If it’s a sharable platter, along with other side dishes and protein, then it can stretch to 4 servings.

TOAST THE SPICES AND WALNUTS:

  • Start by toasting the coriander and cumin seeds in a pan until they become fragrant, for a few minutes, tossing frequently. Grind them with a mortar and pestle, a small blender, or a spice grinder (I use a Nutribullet with a milling blade). You will only use about 1/2 teaspoon of this mix; store the rest in a jar, which you can use for meats, tacos, salads, and even desserts.
  • In the same pan, toast two handfuls of walnuts for a few minutes, ensuring they don’t burn. After toasting, process them in a food processor until they are chopped into smaller pieces, but they don’t get all the way to the flour texture.

MAKE THE SALSA (can be made a few hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator):

  • Mix all the ingredients, except for the fresh mint, in a jar or bowl, taste, and season with salt if necessary. Store it in the refrigerator until the fonio is ready. It can also be made while fonio is cooking, but make sure you only chop and add the mint before serving.

MAKE THE FONIO:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C. Prepare an oven-proof dish that can safely hold 2 1/2 cups of liquid.
  • Add the dry fonio to the dish and top with fresh mint leaves.
  • Heat 1 cup of water in a saucepan, to which you add the butter and the salt. It doesn’t need to be hot, just for the butter to melt.
  • Once the butter is melted, gently pour the liquid onto the fonio. Rearrange the mint leaves to cover the entire surface. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of ground toasted coriander and cumin mix.
  • Cover (wrap) with aluminum paper and bake for 20 minutes, undisturbed.

ASSEMBLE THE DISH:

  • When the fonio is ready, remove the aluminum paper and top it with cheese crumbles.
  • Mix the salsa with the chopped, fresh mint leaves, then place it on top of the fonio and cheese.
  • It’s wonderful to serve warm as a side dish, but it can also be served cold.

How to serve this baked fonio dish

Serve this dish as a vegetarian meal, warm or cold.

Serve it as a side dish, next to chicken, beef, lamb, or even fish.

Bring it to a potluck or garden party.

Make it the star of the show for a festive meal. It’s perfect for Easter!

I hope you love this baked fonio with pomegranate and walnut salsa as much as we did!

*This post contains affiliated links, which means I get a small commission if you choose to purchase something via one of my links, at no extra cost to you.

Baked Fonio with Pomegranate and Walnut Salsa

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...
By Claudia Curici, Health Coach Serves: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Perfectly cooked fonio with mint, topped with creamy goat cheese, and a tangy, sweet, and nutty salsa make this dish a vibrant, nutritious, and delicious addition to any meal. It's so easy; you can make it for a weeknight dinner and sophisticated enough to make it the star of a festive meal. This baked fonio with pomegranate and walnut salsa is perfect as a vegetarian main dish or can be a side dish for any type of meat. Since it can be served warm or cold, it's perfect for sharing meals, garden parties, and potlucks.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE SALSA (can be made in advance):
  • 6 tablespoons pomegranate arils
  • 7 tablespoons toasted walnuts (ground)
  • 3 tablespoons green olives (sliced or chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon raw, local honey or Manuka
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (aged Modena if possible)
  • pinch of sea salt (to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (only chop it before serving)
  • FOR THE FONIO:
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds + 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (you won't use it all for this dish)
  • 1/2 cup fonio
  • 6-8 mint leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of butter (about 20 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • EXTRA:
  • about 50 grams of Feta cheese or creamy goat cheese

Instructions

1

Start by toasting the coriander and cumin seeds in a pan until they become fragrant, for a few minutes, tossing frequently. Grind them with a mortar and pestle, a small blender, or a spice grinder (I use a Nutribullet with a milling blade). You will only use about 1/2 teaspoon of this mix; store the rest in a jar, which you can use for meats, tacos, salads, and even desserts.

2

In the same pan, toast two handfuls of walnuts for a few minutes, ensuring they don't burn. After toasting, process them in a food processor until they are chopped into smaller pieces, but they don't get all the way to the flour texture.

3

MAKE THE SALSA (can be made a few hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator): mix all the ingredients, except for the fresh mint, in a jar or bowl, taste, and season with salt if necessary. Store it in the refrigerator until the fonio is ready. It can also be made while fonio is cooking, but make sure you only chop and add the mint before serving.

4

MAKE THE FONIO:

5

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C. Prepare an oven-proof dish that can safely hold 2 1/2 cups of liquid.

6

Add the dry fonio to the dish and top with fresh mint leaves.

7

Heat 1 cup of water in a saucepan, to which you add the butter and the salt. It doesn't need to be hot, just for the butter to melt.

8

Once the butter is melted, gently pour the liquid on top of the fonio. Rearrange the mint leaves to cover the entire surface. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of toasted coriander and cumin mix.

9

Cover with aluminum paper and bake for 20 minutes, undisturbed.

10

ASSEMBLE THE DISH:

11

When the fonio is ready, remove the aluminum paper and top it with cheese crumbles.

12

Mix the salsa with the chopped, fresh mint leaves, then place it on top of the fonio and cheese.

13

It's wonderful to serve warm as a side dish, but it can also be served cold.

Gundry MD Ambassador Shop

Stock a gut-healthy pantry

No Comments

Leave a Reply