West African Fonio Grain Bowl

December 15, 2020

Fonio is an ancient grain and the oldest cultivated cereal in West Africa. Today, fonio can be found in countries along the Sahel Region. To prep, all you need to do is boil and fluff within 5 minutes. The taste is similar to a fine and grainy firm couscous, the taste is nutty and earthy, the perfect addition to a hearty grain bowl. Fonio can be purchase preferably at your local African Market, otherwise, you can order online.

For this bowl, I kept it simple. I used seasonal vegetables like kale, beets, and sweet potatoes and topped it with some cilantro and my favorite dressing. I love how simple and easy this bowl is and how versatile you can make it depending on the season. The most effort you’ll put into this dish is chopping up veggies!


Roasted Sweet Potato

1 medium sweet potato

1 tablespoon of olive oil

¼ tablespoon of salt

Balsamic Roasted Mushroom

8 oz container of cremini mushrooms

2 tablespoons of aged or regular balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon of olive oil

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

½ tablespoon of dried parsley 

Remainder of Salad

1 bunch of kale, chopped

½ cup of cherry tomatoes, sliced

½ cup of cucumbers, sliced and halved

½ a medium beet, sliced and quartered

¼ cup of fonio

½ cup of water



Roasted Vegetables

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel and dice sweet potatoes into bitesize pieces. 
  2. In a baking sheet or cast-iron skillet, drizzle olive oil over sweet potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a separate sheet season mushrooms with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place sweet potatoes and mushrooms in the oven for 30 minutes.


  1. Preheat a pan over medium heat. Add fonio grain and let toast for about 2 minutes. Lower heat, then gradually add in water, add a pinch of salt, and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Fluff.
  2. Assembly grain bowl starting with chopped kale. Top with roasted sweet potatoes, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, and fonio.

Recipe by Local Roots recipe contributor, Fati Son of Je Gbese, @jegbese.

Rather have a taste first?

Local Roots Experiences are fun, pop-up events where we bring the farm to you!

Subscribe to text updates

VIP discounts and more. Get 20% off any add-on just for signing up!