I have a problem with millet. There, I’ve said it.
I see a millet recipe, and I think to myself, “I should eat more millet!” After all, it’s a healthy whole grain (well, actually a seed) – right up my alley. So I make the recipe and excitedly take a bite. Then I remember that I just don’t like millet. Hrmph.
The same thing happened when I made a Moroccan Millet Salad, adapting the favorite recipe of a friend. But that’s not to say it isn’t a great dish – the flavors are terrific, and everyone else who tasted it loved it. I guess you’re either a millet person or you’re not.
The good news is that this salad can easily be made with any other grain. I recommend using quinoa, because it works so well with the sweet and savory flavors here. But you could also make it with brown rice, farro, barley or freekeh. Feel free to adjust the recipe to your taste by varying the dried fruit and nuts, or adding red bell peppers, kalamata olives, or cucumbers.
Despite my millet issues (I need to get some therapy about those!), it’s hard to go wrong when you’ve got pistachios, apricots, chickpeas and a lemony dressing with warm Moroccan spices.
Moroccan Millet or Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas
1 cup millet or quinoa
2 teaspoons olive, canola or safflower oil
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup chopped unsulphered dried apricots
1/2 cup dry-roasted pistachios
½ cup sliced scallions
1½ cups cooked chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
¼ cup chopped fresh mint or cilantro, or a combination
3 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (use less for quinoa, more for millet)
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a high-sided skillet or saucepan. Add the millet or quinoa and toast over low heat, stirring, until it becomes toasty (7 minutes for millet, 8 or 9 for quinoa).
Add water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 18 to 20 minutes for millet, 13 to 15 minutes for quinoa. Remove to a bowl to cool. Once fairly cool, fluff with a fork.
Whisk together dressing ingredients. Add the dressing, scallions, apricots, pistachios, chickpeas and herbs to the grain, stirring very gently.