Happy Birthday to my sister, Jen!!!
Several years ago, Jen decided to be a vegetarian. Something about how humans aren't supposed to eat meat. She rode that out for many, many years. Recently, due to other allergies, she has started eating some meat again. It is funny because right around the time she stopped being a strict vegetarian, I started being more strictly vegetarian.
Luckily, our family eats lots of veggies, so catering to vegetarians is no problem. And because of Jen (and many of my other vegetarian friends), I have always enjoyed finding and eating delicious vegetarian dishes.
This is a very easy dish to throw together. These types of grain/pasta/seed salads are perfect summer dinners. They don't take a lot of effort. They are quick, healthy, and don't heat up the house.
This salad has millet as its grain. Millet is a popular grain in parts of Asia and Africa and grows well in dry, hot climates. It is not popular in the US, where is it predominately used as bird seed. You will see it on occasion in some whole grain bars. It is on our favorite bread baked at Whole Foods called Seeduction. By the way, we always have a loaf of Seeduction at home.
Cooked millet tastes pretty much like any other grain. It tastes like grain. It does have good texture. It could be used any time you are using quinoa or rice (or barley, or couscous...who uses couscous anymore, what happened to the poor couscous?). I like having a variety of whole grain options.
What else? The dressing here is delicious. It is a Thai-inspired peanut-ginger dressing. I used freshly ground peanuts, but any peanut butter is fine. If you use a non-natural peanut butter, just keep in mind it will be sweeter.
Other than that, the salad is filled with whatever veggies you want or have and then some beans. I used Savoy cabbage and broccoli, since both are in season. Then, I also used shredded carrots and pinto beans. For veggies, you could do bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini (shredded), any cabbage, cauliflower (roasted would be good), any dark greens (cooked), etc. For beans, I would recommend a white bean or maybe edamame. Anything other than black or chickpeas, I think.
Thai Millet Salad with Peanut-Ginger Dressingadapted from Eats Well with Others
1 cup uncooked millet
2 cups shredded Savoy cabbage
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
4-6 scallions, finely diced
1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts
1 can of Pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup peanuts, freshly ground into butter
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp olive oil
Put the millet and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until water is evaporated. Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
Toss the millet with the cabbage, broccoli, carrots, cilantro, scallions, peanuts, and beans.
To make the dressing, whisk together the peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, honey, red wine vinegar, sesame oil and olive oil. Season to taste with salt. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
(Servings: 4-6, Prep time: 30 min., Cook time: 15 min., Difficulty: Easy)
Shanon (taste): 9/10
Scot (taste): 9/10
Dishwashing Effort: 1/5