Millet Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

In the blur of the last two weeks of dog sadness and new-hound hope, I almost forgot that this was a food blog. You’ve all been so kind with your words of sympathy and now excitement for our soon-to-be hound, Miracle, you’ve made this transition in our lives easier to bear with your outpouring of support. We’re counting down to Sunday when Miracle joins the family. I expect that I shall splash a few more dog photos and stories up here as we get to know the little lady. But I promise, there will be food too.

Sunday morning, we had a brunch potluck with our friends…it was our holiday gathering, just not over the holidays. We all brought a dish to share – my favorite way to eat. Especially because Danielle made a killer apple crisp and used gluten-free oats so I could eat it. Apple crisp is one of my favorite desserts, and Danielle’s had that perfect ratio of apple slices to crunchy topping. Yum.

I came up with this dish using odds & ends from our CSA and my new favorite grain, millet. Quinoa, is so 2009, baby…my 2011 obsession might just be millet. It doesn’t have much flavor on its own, but toss some wine and aromatics into the rice cooker, and it comes out beautifully. For those of us who are gluten-free – millet is a perfect replacement for couscous. Chill it after cooking and once cool, you can scrape it with a fork to separate all the individual grains. I dressed the salad with a simple lemon vinaigrette, using the beautiful Meyer lemons that are in season right now, which add nice tang to the dressing.

Have you given millet a try yet? If so, share your favorite millet tricks in the comments. If you haven’t tried it – time to ‘fess up, and state your promise to give it a go in 2011.

Lemony Millet Salad
Serves 6-8 as a main dish

1 cup millet
3/4 cup white wine
1 1/2 cup water
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced parsley for garnish.

Cook the millet: Add the white wine, water, thyme, pepper and salt to the pot, cover and bring to a boil. Stir the millet into the boiling water, then cover and reduce heat to low and cook until the millet has soaked up all the water – about 25 minutes (or one full cycle of the rice cooker). Let the millet cool completely in the fridge. Once cool, gently scrape the millet with a fork to separate the grains.

2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
2 cups cooked chickpeas
3 cups finely shredded purple cabbage
3 scallions, washed and thinly sliced
1 handful of fresh parsley, minced
3 T lemon juice (bonus points for using meyer lemons, if they’re in season)
zest of one lemon
5 T olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
2oz crumbled feta (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Oil a sheet pan and spread the diced bell pepper onto the pan in one layer and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Roast for 25 minutes, until the peppers are softened, sweet-tasting, and just starting to caramelize at the edges. Take them out of the oven, and set aside to cool.
  2. Make the dressing: Combine lemon juice, olive oil, a couple pinches of salt & about ½ tsp of black pepper in a small bowl and whisk with a fork to combine. Taste, and if too tart, add a bit more olive oil.
  3. Put the cooked, cooled, and fluffed millet in a large mixing bowl along with the roasted peppers, cabbage, scallions, parsley, chickpeas and feta (optional). Fold it all together with a spatula, then drizzle the dressing overtop and stir to coat everything with the dressing evenly.

Note: The salad makes great leftovers for lunches and is also very tasty served warm.

15 thoughts on “Millet Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

  1. i knew i’d find some good CSA inspiration from you! I have a bunch of random ingredients, and some millet, lying around. also have a couple of meyer lemons because i love them so much i couldn’t resist. great idea :).

    • Trust me, Crysta, you need Meyer lemons in your life. They’re generally available December-February in the midwest, and I’ve only seen them at Whole Foods. They’re a hybrid of a regular lemon and some variety of tangerine – still plenty tart, but less acidic – a more “round” flavor. They are softer, much juicier and have a thin rind with wonderful zest – always use the zest! I can’t get enough of them – they’re a winter treat.

    • I’m loving the millet – I like that it’s a little firmer than quinoa. I’ve had some issues with waterlogged quinoa lately, so it’s a welcome change.

      We’re so excited for Miracle to join us…the waiting is SO hard!

  2. I’d like to be included on your recipe link… a friend of a friend sent my this and I think I’m going to really like it!!! Thanks!

  3. Just found you via Pintrest! I’m a little confused on the directions. You have 1 cup millet twice, and in the directions you say to add the millet plus other stuff then to add the millet after the water boils. So…I’m assuming that the first cup of millet is added to the cold water before putting on the stove and the 2nd cup is added after the water is boiling. Am I correct?
    I have never cooked with Millet before and would love to try this recipe out!

    • Stephanie – I am embarassed at my instructions on this one – thanks for asking, and I’ve corrected the recipe above. It’s one cup of millet, and you add it to the boiling liquid, then stir, reduce heat to low and simmer until cooked through. To be honest, I make millet exclusively in my rice cooker now – 1 c millet to 2.25 c liquid. It’s a very neutral tasting grain, so you can add just about any flavor to it, and it will soak it right up – cumin, curry, chicken stock – experiment and enjoy. It’s one of my favorite grains now.

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