As I've mentioned before, one of my favourite things to make over the past year has been quinoa because I find it so easy to work with and there's so much you can do with it! I can always throw together a quick and easy quinoa salad using whatever ingredients I have in the fridge and pantry and the leftovers make a great lunch to bring to the office too.
Lately, I've been hearing more about other grains like barley, buckwheat, farro, and kasha. I haven't ventured into cooking with any of those yet, but I'm working my way there!
As a first step, I bought a small amount of millet from the bulk bin recently and I've used it in a couple of salads. Millet is a small grain that looks like tiny yellow beads and it can be prepared in the same way as quinoa.
I haven't tried it on just its own yet, but I've discovered that cooking a combination of millet and quinoa together makes a nice fluffy, thick mixture that is a great base for a variety of fruits and veggies!
My favourite millet creation so far is this mango millet and kale salad that I adapted slightly from the blog Healthful Pursuit. I made a few changes to the recipe, like using kale instead of spinach because I thought the kale would hold up nicely for leftovers. I also left out the onion and added some diced cucumber, pepitas and cilantro in addition to the mango, almonds and cranberries.
I loved the combination of the sweet fruit and fresh cucumber with the soft millet and crunchy almonds. The best part about this salad though was the lemon poppyseed dressing - it was the perfect balance of sweet and tangy and went so well with the rest of the ingredients. I also liked the way the poppy seeds dotted each grain of millet!
This salad is a nice light and fresh dish that's perfect for Spring. It's also a great recipe to make a big batch of and then store the leftovers in the fridge to bring for lunches throughout the week, since it keeps well (as long as your mango isn't already overly ripe). I actually have a potluck lunch coming up next week with the theme of "Spring Fling", so this would be the perfect dish to bring!
And for more tasty and gluten-free salad ideas, check out this round-up from Healthful Pursuit, where I got this recipe!
Mango Millet & Kale Salad
Adapted from Healthful Pursuit
1/2 cup dry millet
1/4 cup dry quinoa
1.5 cups water
2 cups shredded kale
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1 cup diced ripe mango
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 tbsp pepitas
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tbsp raw honey (could substitute agave for a vegan version)
1 tbsp honey mustard (could substitute dijon mustard)
1/2 tbsp poppy seeds
1/8 tsp herbamare
Combine the millet, quinoa and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes, then remove lid and fluff with a fork. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the kale, cucumber and mango and set aside. Prepare the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the almonds and pepitas. Toast for a few minutes, until the nuts are lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to the bowl with the millet mixture and stir to mix.
Add the kale to the millet while it is still warm and stir to mix thoroughly. Next, pour the dressing into the bowl and stir again (you can even use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale if you want it to be a bit softer).
Add the cucumber, mango, cranberries and cilantro and toss to combine.
Chill in the fridge, or serve at room temperature.