We're celebrating Meatless Mondays with balanced, delicious meal plans. We hope you'll join us -- whether you're vegetarian all the time or just here and there.
Today: Turn three things with a bad reputation -- beets, millet, and Mondays -- into something to treasure.
Mondays get a bad rap. More than any other day of the week, Mondays are a day to get through, a day whose only purpose is to begin the countdown to the weekend. But isn't there something magical about the endless possibility of the week ahead?
Transform your Monday into something to treasure by taking two foods with a similarly poor reputation and making them into a special meal. With a small amount of effort, you can change beets ("peasant food") and millet ("bird food") into a meal that looks -- and even sounds -- precious. By turning these ingredients into beautiful and flavorful dishes, you'll be turning your Monday around, too.
6 small yellow or golden beets, washed and scrubbed
1 handful thyme sprigs
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
One 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon harissa
1/2 cup millet
1/4 cup blanched and sliced almonds
Small handful cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1 handful fresh sunflower greens (or other delicate greens)
1 teaspoon minced chives
We're assuming your kitchen is stocked with olive oil, coarse salt, pepper, lemon juice, and a yellow onion. If not, add them to the list.
1. Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Drizzle beets with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with a teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves (removed from the thyme sprigs). Put the beets in an oven-proof dish and cover with foil. Roast until the beets are tender (start checking at 45 minutes). Toast the sunflower seeds in the oven for about 5 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.
2. Spread the chickpeas on a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly coat with a glug of olive oil, the harissa, and salt. Roast in the oven until crispy, about 20 minutes.
3. While the beets and chickpeas are in the oven, put the millet in a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Simmer until it's cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
4. As the millet cooks, toast the almonds in a skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat until browned and fragrant. Remove the almonds, leaving the olive oil, and then cook a thinly-sliced onion until dark brown and soft, about 15 minutes.
5. Once the chickpeas are out of the oven, combine them with the millet, almonds, onion, and cilantro, then season with salt and pepper. Let the beets cool for a few minutes, then slip them out of their skins and slice them into thin rounds. Whisk 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with salt, pepper, and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Arrange the beets on a serving dish, decorate with sunflower seeds, greens, and herbs, and drizzle the dressing over top.