Summer Garden Millet Salad
Yields: about 8 cups Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes (includes millet cooking time)
Millet is an ancient grain that is still used as a staple in many diets around the world, and really helps this salad stand out from the crowd. Rich in nutrients and fiber, this is a delicious and refreshing summer salad.
1 cup whole grain millet (about 3.5 - 4 cups cooked)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Kalamata olive juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, finely minced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup green onions or scallions
1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup finely shredded Swiss chard
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
1. Cook millet according to directions (fluffier with 2 c. water/broth per 1 c. dry millet) and set aside to cool. *NOTE: Millet often cooks up with many of the grains puffing out, while a few staying crunchy. I actually like this feature, as it doesn’t taste too mushy.
2. Combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, Kalamata olive juice, black pepper, and garlic (if using) in a large bowl (large enough to hold all of ingredients. I prefer a glass bowl with a lid for easy storage to stick right in the fridge after all ingredients are combined).
3. Place green onions, Kalamata olives, tomatoes, Swiss chard, zucchini and feta cheese and combine with millet. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve (an hour is adequate to allow flavors to mix).
*NOTE: Millet soaks up a lot of moisture, so it doesn’t keep for a long period in the fridge without drying out. The oil and moisture from all of the vegetables in this salad are helpful for this exact reason.
I am just going to say, I think millet is going to be the new quinoa – or at least it should be, in my humble opinion. Seriously, millet is a low allergenic grain that is gluten free, very versatile and has a great nutritional profile. Millet is known to have a high antioxidant content as well as B vitamins, iron, calcium, protein and fiber.
We have an abundance of Swiss chard, scallions, zucchini, tomatoes and parsley. So, I wanted to make something using all of these homegrown veggies. Two of my little ones are into raw vegetables, and the third pretty much eats anything, yet is not a fan of tomatoes and onions. Nonetheless, each welcomed a good serving of this salad. The saltiness from the olives and cheese definitely helped. Although, in all seriousness, when you grow something yourself, as my kiddos did, everything just tastes better. I swear, kids eat more veggies when they take part in growing them.
One last thought on this salad. I try to keep salads like this on hand for me to grab when I’m short on time (which seems constant these days). My point is, I tend to snack more or make less healthy choices when I am on the run. Packaged food is convenient, yet lacks so much of the nutrition and just general life energy of fresh fruits and vegetables. So, having this nutrient dense salad, or one similar, already made and ready to go, helps me to keep feeling good and keep in line with my health goals.