Warm Millet & Broccoli

September 5, 2010

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Post image for Warm Millet & Broccoli

Let me start by admitting I’ve not often cooked with millet in the past. When perusing the ancient super grain section of the bulk bins, I mostly gravitate toward the quinoa (especially red quinoa), occasionally amaranth, sometimes buckwheat, but very rarely millet. I think on some level the knowledge that I could also pick some up in the bird food section of my local pet food store has had something to do with my hesitation.

But recently this little yellow grain has crept its way into my cooking and I’ve become quite the fan. While unfamiliar to some, millet is a gluten-free grain that’s used widely throughout the hot and dry parts of the world. It has a light nutty, savory taste, and when lightly toasted prior to cooking, it takes on a delicious cashew-like flavor. I love to cook it so it is light and fluffy – perfect for warm salads and couscous-like dishes.

For this dish I eagerly wanted something salad-like that would celebrate the end of the long, cold winter we’ve had down here. Although, it’s probably premature to declare spring has sprung because it’s still more than a tad chilly outside. I decided millet would be perfect as it’s often celebrated for the warming effect it has on the body. The recipe is relatively simple: I took some fluffy millet and tossed it with crunchy broccoli and a flat-leaf parsley and walnut pesto, then topped it off with a handful of toasted walnuts and sliced avocado.

Warm Millet & Broccoli Recipe

1 cup hulled (pearled) millet
2-3 cups broccoli florets
¾ cup plus ¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 packed cup flat leaf parsley
⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
⅔ cup finely grated parmesan
2 cloves garlic
fine ground sea salt

Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid over high heat. Place 1 cup of millet into the pot and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until it smells deliciously toasty and cashew-like. Be sure the millet doesn’t brown. Carefully add 2 cups boiling water and ½ teaspoon salt. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover the pot. Simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, 20-25 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff immediately with a fork. Set aside.

To cook the broccoli, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add a couple big pinches of sea salt. Add the broccoli and cook for about 30 seconds – just long enough for the colour to change to bright green. Quickly drain and run under cold water for 20 seconds to stop it cooking further.

In a food processor, combine ¾ cup walnuts, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan, garlic, and a big pinch of sea salt. Process until well combined. Taste and adjust salt or lemon juice as you desire.

Toss the millet with cooked broccoli and ¾ of the pesto. Taste and add more pesto if you think it needs it. Top with remaining walnuts.

Optional toppings:
- sliced avocado
- crumbled feta
- lightly toasted karengo fronds or dulse

Serves 4.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

mary September 6, 2010 at 11:46 am

Our cast off millet has sprouted in the garden and the birds go crazy over the fresh millet fronds. I remember eating puffed millet with milk as a child, for breakfast. Thanks for the recipe. It looks great (I know the birds really favor the millet seeds. )

Anna Johnston September 9, 2010 at 11:55 am

Hi there! I’ve literally stumbled upon your blog from I don’t know where & found myself reading this Millet recipe. I’ve never cooked with millet but this looks great. Thanks for sharing.
Cheers Anna

fresh365 September 10, 2010 at 12:43 am

I don’t think I’ve cooked with millet either, but this looks like the perfect place to start. Can’t go wrong with pesto!

Jessica September 10, 2010 at 6:43 am

This dish would be a definite kitchen adventure for me; while I’ve never tried millet, I’ve also never had broccoli and avocado together in one dish (though I adore both)! It sounds great!

Emm September 13, 2010 at 9:50 pm

I have been reading your blog for a wee while now and am loving it. Your photos are beautiful (very Heidi Swanson). It’s so nice to see fellow Kiwi’s taking to this food blogging like the rest of the world :-) Nice work Joe, I am a huge fan of millet so will have to try this one out at some stage :-) Cheers.

Joe September 13, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Thanks everyone for your kind words :)

Emm – I checked out your site too and I’m glad to find another NZ food blogger! Your pics are beautiful as well.

Delaney September 16, 2010 at 2:58 pm

I would never have thought to use millet like this, it looks great though. My Gran still makes millet like porridge; I have fond memories of eating it like that with runny honey and tinned peaches as a kid up on the farm! Will have to give this a try, thanks.

Joe September 16, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Hi Delaney, yeah I’ve seen the millet cereal at the store and often wondered what it’s like. I intend to give it a go one day – although I am very routine when it comes to breakfast… it is the one time of day where I struggle to venture from my comfort zone!

Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls November 16, 2010 at 6:18 pm

What a beautiful, colorful, healthy salad!!!

Mary xo
Delightful Bitefuls

Nellie April 28, 2011 at 10:59 am

Well, looks like I’m the market for some millet now… this looks SO tasty.

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