Millet with arugula and dried cranberries (July 2023)

Millet with arugula and dried cranberries (July 2023) Credit: Marge Perry

Millet is not just for birds. Yes, you may know it best as an ingredient in birdseed, but it is actually a gluten free whole grain very well suited for human consumption.

And consume it we should. It tastes great — with a nutty, slightly sweet flavor and pleasant texture. Millet is relatively high in protein, fiber and a bunch of other nutrients. It's a sustainable crop that can be grown in poor soil without the use of fertilizer and pesticide. Millet is widely eaten as a whole grain and also ground into flour in developing countries in Asia and Africa.

There are two basic ways to cook whole millet: Toast it and boil it in twice the amount of liquid. Or boil it in three times the liquid to make it into a porridge.

This method is simple: Put the grains (dry) in a saucepan and cook, stirring, for about 4 or 5 minutes, until it becomes fragrant and lightly golden. Add water, a little olive oil and some salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and cook about 15 minutes. Let the millet stand, covered, another 10 minutes or so, then fluff with a fork. It’s that easy.

Millet- Arugula Salad

1 cup millet

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

4 cups arugula

1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries (or more, to taste)

1. Place the millet in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is fragrant and lightly golden, about 4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, ¼ teaspoon of the salt and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; immediately reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, 10 minutes.

2. Combine the Dijon, honey, remaining ½ teaspoon salt and vinegar; add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and whisk until the dressing is creamy looking. Toss with the arugula and dried cranberries.

Fluff the millet with a fork and let cool to room temperature. Add to the arugula-cranberry mixture and toss well.


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