Italian Millet

Millet is my newest favorite grain. It’s so simple to cook and it takes on other flavors so easily just as rice does. But unlike most rice dishes, millet is lower in simple carbs and higher in complex carbs so a great alternative to those watching their blood sugar levels. Here’s a really easy recipe that incorporates some of the great Italian flavors we all enjoy – sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, onion and garlic. This is definitely NOT a low-fat side dish! I used vegetable stock rather than a meat stock because most vegetable stocks have a nice mushroom flavor which adds umami to the dish. Be sure to use sun-dried tomatoes in oil because some of that oil will be used in cooking the dish.

First, cook per package directions (except using stock instead of water):

1/2 cup millet

in 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock

Generally, this means toasting the whole millet in a little oil and then adding it to the boiling stock, covering and cooking on low heat for 30-40 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the millet is soft. I like to take it off the heat at this point, leave the cover for a few minutes and then fluff the millet with a fork.

In the same skillet, heat until shimmering:

2 tablespoon olive oil (from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes)

Add and cook until tender, over medium heat:

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup shredded carrots* (optional)

When the onion is translucent, add:

1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes

2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)

1 teaspoon cumin (or turmeric)

2 teaspoons Italian herb mix (or dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, and basil)

Mix thoroughly so that the onion mixture is covered with the herbs. Continue cooking until the tomatoes and garlic are heated through, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cooked millet. If the millet is cold, continue to cook over medium low heat for 3-4 minutes to reheat the millet. Serves 4.

*I like a lot of vegetables in my grains so I added a cup of shredded carrots with the onions.

Millet and Vegetable Salad

I don’t know about you but the recipe for Spicy Millet and Carrot was way too much for my household. I had about three-quarters of it left over. Now what should I do with this, I thought? Why not make a cold salad with it! It came out so good, I think I’ll use that recipe now as a basis for a salad all the time, it was so delectable. I used what I had on hand but feel free to use whatever vegetables you like – some cooked summer squash, diced avocado, chopped mushrooms, or peas would be great in this salad.

In a medium mixing bowl combine:

1 to 1 1/2 cups of the spicy millet with carrot, cold*

10-12 grape tomatoes, sliced in half or quarters

1 stalk celery, diced

1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced

1 scallion, sliced

Mix to combine the vegetables then add a simple vinaigrette of:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar (use less if you use a stronger vinegar such as white or cider)

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 tablespoon mustard

1 teaspoon siracha (optional)

Whisk to combine. I actually always use a small jelly jar to mix my vinaigrette – add ingredients, screw on the lid and shake for a minute or two. Mix the vinaigrette into the millet mixture and serve. Makes 2-3 servings.

*If you haven’t made the Spicy Carrot Millet, see the recipe under side dishes. You could use cooked millet and simply add some of the spices to the vinaigrette along with some julienned carrots to the salad.

Spiced Carrot Millet

If you’re looking for something different as a side dish, here’s a tasty way to go. If you haven’t tried millet, or just used it for breakfast, this gives you a great introduction to using it as a savory side dish. Per usual, the recipe is very adjustable – carrot is one way to go but parsnips, butternut squash, or even pea puree would work just as well depending on your family’s tastes. It’s fairly quick, about 30 minutes to prepare, and quite an easy, straightforward recipe. Enjoy something different!

First, in a 12″ skillet over medium heat dry toast:

1 cup whole millet

While the millet is toasting, in a 4-quart saucepan, over medium high heat, bring to a boil:

2 cups stock (I used vegetable stock but use any type you like, or even water, works)

Once millet is toasted (about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally), add it to the boiling stock. Stir to combine, cover and reduce heat to medium low or low, and cook through, about 20 minutes, until water is evaporated and the millet is softened.

While the millet cooks, in a double boiler, steam:

3/4 cup carrots (I used the pre-sliced but any kind will work)

Steam until soft and then blend, using a hand-held immersion blender with:

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin (or 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric)

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black ground pepper)

In the bowl of a food processor, or using a hand grater, grate:

6-8 baby carrots

You should have about 1/3 to 1/2 cup. Once the millet is cooked, stir in these grated carrots and cover again. Let sit for 2-3 minutes. Once the cooked carrots are pureed (you could also use a food processor or stand blender), add to the millet mixture, stirring to combine.

Finish with some avocado oil, vegan butter or margarine; or a squeeze of lemon and/or 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind. Garnish with some cilantro, green onions or chopped carrot top if desired. Serves 8.

Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread

I’ve often said on this blog that I’ve been searching for a bread recipe that doesn’t turn out like a brick or is gummy. That’s very difficult when eggs aren’t included in the recipe. Flax gel and other egg substitutes just don’t seem to work well in breads. I may, however, have finally found the answer. Here’s a bread recipe that I’ve just made, raises very nicely, is very easy to make, even with the yeast. It’s really not that difficult to use yeast, the correct temperature to activate yeast is between 98 and 101 degrees so lukewarm like baby formula. And it tastes delicious!

Grease an 8×4″ loaf pan. In a 2-cup bowl, heat in the microwave for 40-45 seconds:

1 cup non-dairy milk

When you take it out, stir it a little then test it with your finger or put a drop on your wrist. It should be lukewarm, your body temperature so if you put a drop on your wrist, it shouldn’t feel hot or cold. If it feels cool, put it back in the microwave for 5-10 seconds more. If it feels too hot, stir with a metal spoon and whisk in:

2 teaspoons date sugar

This should help cool it down but test it again. If it already feels lukewarm on your wrist go ahead and add the date sugar along with:

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Whisk in the yeast and set aside for 10-15 minutes. If your yeast/milk mixture doesn’t start bubbling (foaming) in the first 5 minutes, it’s no good, throw it out and start again.

While the yeast works, in a large bowl combine:

1 cup millet flour

1 cup oat flour

1/2 cup arrowroot

1/2 cup tapioca starch (or flour)

1/4 cup quinoa flour

1/4 cup whole millet (optional)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Whisk to combine, leaving a pit in the middle of the dry ingredients. In a small bowl combine:

5 tablespoons ground chia seeds

1 cup warm water (again test on your wrist for lukewarm)

3 tablespoons oil

2 teaspoons vinegar

Let sit for a couple of minutes (3 or 4). Add to the dry ingredients and then add:

the yeast mixture

the chia mixture

Stir to combine wet and dry ingredients but be careful not to overmix or your bread will be tough. Spoon into the prepared loaf pan, pushing down the dough to release any air bubbles and gaps along the sides of the pan. Set in a warm place for 40-50 minutes or until dough reaches the top of the loaf pan.* Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the bread for 60 minutes. Remove and cool completely (3-4 hours at least) before cutting.

*I brushed the top of the loaf with avocado oil so that the top didn’t get dried out while rising. When I removed it from the oven, I brushed it again with the oil to soften the top crust which likes to crumble with this bread.