Serves a Crowd

Spiced Millet Pilaf with Beetroot, Feta + Mint

October  5, 2014
2 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

A lightly spiced pilaf made using nutritious millet in place of rice, which is topped with beetroot, feta, mint, and a flavorsome pesto made using the beetroot's leaves. —Emma Galloway | My Darling Lemon Thyme

What You'll Need
  • For the millet 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 mint and beetroot green 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
  1. For the millet pilaf:
  2. Place beetroot into a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until tender. Remove from the heat, drain, and set aside until cool enough to handle. Peel the beetroot and cut into pieces.
  3. Place ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the seeds start to pop, add the onion and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic, chili, curry leaves, and turmeric, then cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Stir in the millet, 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes to toast the grains. Pour in 3 cups cold water (it will splatter, so take care). Stir to combine and cover with a lid. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, without stirring, for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, leave the lid on and set aside for 5 minutes before fluffing up with a fork. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
  4. To serve, stir in the cashews, cilantro, and mint. Spoon onto plates, top with chopped beetroot, crumble over feta, and drizzle with a little pesto (see recipe below). Serve with extra lemon wedges for squeezing over.
  1. For the mint and beetroot green pesto:
  2. Place all the ingredients in a small food processor and whiz to form a smooth paste. Season well. To make the pesto thinner, simply add a little more lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil until it's the desired consistency. Set aside until ready to use.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Emily Davison
    Emily Davison
  • Valerie Broussard
    Valerie Broussard
Former chef | Author of My Darling Lemon Thyme-Recipes from my real food kitchen | Photographer

2 Reviews

Emily D. January 19, 2022
We liked this recipe. However, I would cut the amount of turmeric and seeds in half since they give it a slightly bitter taste. I did not make the pesto, but used the beets, feta, mint, cashews and lemon.
Valerie B. February 27, 2015
I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to find curry leaves. If that's the case, can you recommend a substitution?