One Bag of Millet, 5 Dinners

Welcome to Halfway to Dinner, where we show you how to stretch your staples every which way. Put time into dinner now, and you can make it last forever -- or at least the whole week. This post is brought to you by our friends at Weight Watchers, who celebrate gathering together around the table to enjoy wholesome, beautiful food. 

Today: Emma Galloway, the voice behind My Darling Lemon Thyme (and the author of a new cookbook), is replacing the usual rice and couscous with millet, an underrated oldie-but-goodie grain. 

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Millet is an ancient seed that has only been associated with birdseed for far too many years. Native to Western Africa, it’s been eaten throughout Asia, Africa, India for centuries, and is now becoming more common in the US, Europe, and Australia, too. Growing up, my mother used to make a sweet breakfast porridge from ground millet and flaxseed (linseed), but it was only after changing our diets to gluten-free six years ago that I really started to explore millet in all its beauty. It can be used in place of rice or couscous in most recipes and, in my opinion, is superior to both: It’s high in protein, fiber, magnesium, and Niacin -- a great choice for those of us who are trying to eat more nutrient-dense diets. 

Millet has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor that complements all manner of things, but I find it works especially well with butternut squash, feta, lemon, and herbs. I also enjoy eating it for breakfast in a sweet porridge topped with berries.

More: It's also (obviously) a good idea to add cheese to your millet.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Millet, and Herb Patties
I often have a container of leftover millet in my fridge. I mostly use it in porridge or salads, but sometimes it’s nice to whip up a batch of patties, adding in sweet roasted vegetables and tons of fresh herbs from the garden. These can be eaten for breakfast with eggs, for a light lunch with salad, or as part of a larger meal for dinner. Roasted sweet potato is a lovely change from the squash and if you love feta cheese, crumbling some on top is always a good idea.

More: Bulk up these cheesy Cauliflower Patties with cooked millet. 

Zucchini, Millet, and Mint Salad with Cilantro Dressing
This salad combines golden coins of sautéed zucchini with fluffy millet, fresh mint, and a bright and cheerful cilantro dressing. If zucchini aren’t available, any vegetable can be used in its place: Try roasted butternut squash or sweet potato, chopped tomato, roasted eggplant, or even roasted baby carrots. 

Spiced Tomato and Eggplant Curry with Buttered Millet
This rich tomato-based curry is a gorgeous way to use up in-season eggplant. Serve it alongside buttered millet for a nourishing meal. For a vegan option, simply drizzle a good extra-virgin olive oil over the millet instead of using butter. 

More: Try Yotam Ottalenghi's take on tomato-eggplant curry

Stir-Fried Millet with Ginger, Broccolini, and a Fried Egg
Millet takes place of the usual rice in this beautifully simple dish. You can used whatever vegetables are in season where you live -- mushrooms and finely sliced butternut squash make for a lovely fall version. For a vegan version, serve the millet alongside grilled tempeh or tofu.

More: How do you fry your eggs? A few professionals share some wisdom

Spiced Millet Pilaf with Beetroot, Feta, and Mint
Top this lightly spiced pilaf, made with millet instead of rice, with beetroot, feta, and mint. Don’t throw those beetroot greens away -- use it to make a flavorful pesto to drizzle over the dish. The basic pilaf alone would also be lovely served alongside your favorite curry.

Serves 6

For the pilaf:

1 bunch baby beetroot (baby beets), leaves reserved
1/4 cup ghee or olive oil
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 serrano chilies, finely chopped
3 to 4 curry leaves
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 cups hulled millet
1/2 cup cashew nuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
Cilantro and mint leaves, feta, and lemon wedges, to serve

For the pesto:

Trimmed leaves from the baby beetroot, washed
1 cup packed mint leaves
1/2 cup cashew nuts, toasted
1/2 serrano chili
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Emma Galloway 

This post is brought to you by Weight Watchers. Need ideas for dinner tomorrow? They've got you covered. Show us what you're cooking with the hashtag #biteintolife!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Dennis Thielke
    Dennis Thielke
  • Lindsey S. Love | Dolly and Oatmeal
    Lindsey S. Love | Dolly and Oatmeal
  • Emma Galloway | My Darling Lemon Thyme
    Emma Galloway | My Darling Lemon Thyme
Former chef | Author of My Darling Lemon Thyme-Recipes from my real food kitchen | Photographer


Dennis T. October 14, 2014
I just had a whisky "Koval" out of Chicago that was distilled Millet.
Very good
Lindsey S. October 13, 2014
awesome meals, emma! especially loving the spiced millet pilaf!
Emma G. October 13, 2014
Thanks love! xx