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Millet and Lentil Salad- A Golden Harvest Salad!

2023 is the International Year of Millet as declared by the UN recognizing the importance of this ancient grain in promoting sustainable agriculture, food security, and nutrition worldwide. Millet, with its rich cultural heritage and nutritional value, has been a staple crop in parts of Asia & Africa for centuries.

Millet is known for its resilience in harsh growing conditions to its ability to thrive with minimal water and resources, millet embodies the principles of sustainability and resilience in agricultural practices.


Millet not only nourishes our bodies but also contributes to a healthier planet. Its low water requirements and ability to grow in a variety of climates make it an environmentally friendly choice. By cultivating and consuming millet, we can support biodiversity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and preserve precious water resources.


This International Year of Millet encourages us to explore the culinary possibilities of this versatile grain. From comforting porridges, hearty salads, kitchari delicious baked goods and creative millet-based recipes, there is a millet dish for every palate. Millet's nutty flavor and unique texture add a delightful twist to both traditional and modern cuisines. By incorporating millet into our diets and supporting its cultivation worldwide, we can make a positive impact on our health, the environment, and the livelihoods of small-scale farmers.

Let us celebrate millet, nourish ourselves, and sow the seeds of a brighter and more sustainable future.






Here are some of the key benefits of millet:

  1. Nutritional powerhouse: Millet is rich in essential nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and B vitamins. It also provides dietary fiber, protein, and antioxidants. This nutrient profile contributes to overall well-being and supports various bodily functions.

  2. Gluten-free grain alternative: Millet is naturally gluten-free, making it a suitable grain option for individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. It can be used as a substitute for wheat, barley, and rye in various recipes.

  3. Digestive health: The fiber content in millet supports healthy digestion and helps prevent constipation. It promotes regular bowel movements, aids in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, and may reduce the risk of digestive disorders such as diverticulitis and colon cancer.

  4. Blood sugar regulation: Millet has a low glycemic index, meaning it releases glucose into the bloodstream at a slower rate. This property can help regulate blood sugar levels and provide sustained energy, making it a favorable choice for individuals with diabetes or those seeking to manage blood sugar.

  5. Heart health: Millet contains compounds like fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants that contribute to heart health. Its consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes.

  6. Weight management: The combination of fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates in millet promotes feelings of fullness and satiety, aiding in weight management and preventing overeating.

  7. Bone health: Millet is a good source of phosphorus, which plays a crucial role in maintaining bone health and strength. It also contains magnesium and calcium, essential minerals for bone development and maintenance.

  8. Antioxidant properties: Millet contains antioxidants, such as phenolic compounds and flavonoids, which help protect the body against oxidative stress and cell damage caused by free radicals.

  9. Versatile culinary uses: Millet is incredibly versatile and can be used in various dishes, including porridges, salads, soups, stews, pilafs, and even baked goods. Its mild, nutty flavor adds a unique touch to recipes and allows for creative culinary exploration.

With its impressive nutritional profile and numerous health benefits, millet is a grain worth incorporating into a balanced and diverse diet. Its versatility, easy digestibility, and positive impact on overall well-being make it a valuable addition to any meal plan. Here's an easy and delicious way to get your millet fix!






Ingredients:

Servings 4


· ½ cup dry millet (I used Pearled Proso Millet for this recipe)

· ½ cup dry green or brown lentils

· 3 cups vegetable broth or water

· 1 cucumber, diced

· 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, diced

· ½ jalapeno

· 1 small red onion, finely choppe

· 1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins

· 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or almonds (optional)

Dressing:

· 3 scallion stalks

· 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

· 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

· 1/2 cup cilantro leaves

· 1/2 jalapeno

· 2 cloves of garlic

· Juice of 1 lemon

· 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

· Crushed red pepper

· 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)

· Salt and pepper to taste



Instructions:


1. Cook the Millet: Rinse the millet thoroughly under cold water. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of millet, 1 cup of vegetable broth or water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the millet is tender. Let it stand for 10 minutes, then fluff the millet with a fork. Avoid mixing it while hot to prevent it from turning mushy.

2. Cook the Lentils: Rinse the lentils a couple of times in hot water. In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of lentils and 2 cups of water or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and cook for about 8-10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook them; the lentils should remain intact. Let them cool.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked millet and lentils with the diced cucumber, colorful bell peppers, finely chopped red onion, cilantro, parsley, mint leaves, dried cranberries or raisins, and chopped nuts if desired. Gently toss to mix.

4. Prepare the Dressing: In a food processor, add all the dressing ingredients listed above. Run the food processor until the dressing is smooth.

5. Pour the dressing over the salad mixture and toss to evenly coat everything.

6. Taste the salad and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add more lemon juice, olive oil, salt, or pepper according to your preference.

7. Let the salad rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

8. Serve the Millet and Lentil Salad chilled as a refreshing and satisfying main dish or side salad. It's perfect for a light lunch, picnic, or potluck gathering.

Enjoy this delightful and nutritious Millet and Lentil Salad!



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