During hot summer months I like to experiment with salads. With the abundance of fresh, organic vegetables and fruit it is very easy to do. But I also think it’s important to add protein to keep you full longer. Usually adding beans is enough but adding unique gluten-free grains has brought my salads to another level. Now even my husband, who not so long ago didn’t consider salad a “real meal”, has been enjoying my creations for lunch or for dinner because when you add grains and beans, salads can be completely satisfying.
I recently learned about a grain called millet. It is an ancient grain that used to be cultivated in Asia over 10,000 years ago and reached Europe by 5000BC. Its is one of the staple foods in China, India and Africa. What is unique about this grain is that it is free of gluten yet provides a host of nutrients, is highly digestible and non-allergenic. Millet is a rich source of protein, dietary fiber, several B vitamins and numerous dietary minerals, especially manganese.
In addition to the health benefits of all the greens and veggies in this salad, as well as the benefits of millet, chickpeas (also knows as garbanzo beans) add an array of nourishing qualities.
Chickpeas are a nutrient-dense food, providing rich content of protein, dietary fiber, folate, and certain dietary minerals such as iron and phosphorus. Thiamin, vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc contents are moderate. Protein in garbanzo beans in highly digestible, making it a favorite legume for many vegans. Proteins in cooked chickpeas are rich in essential amino acids such as lysine, isoleucine, tryptophan.
With an array of all the health benefits of this salad it also doesn’t disappoint in the flavor department. The mild tasting millet goes well savory veggies and slightly sweet blueberry-maple vinaigrette, the crunchy radishes & pecans complete this salad very nicely.
- For the salad
- 1 cup mullet
- 1 carrot (peeled)
- 3 radishes
- 5 kale leaves
- 1 cup red onion
- ⅓ cup goat cheese (optional, omit if you you want to make it vegan)
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 14 ounce can chickpeas
- ¼ cup pecans (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1.5 tablespoons avocado oil (or any other cooking oil of your choice)
For the Blueberry-Maple Vinaigrette (optional, you can use store bought blueberry vinaigrette)
- 1 tablespoon
- 2 teaspoons blueberry juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ⅔ teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Dijon
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons safflower oil
- 3 tablespoons frozen blueberries
- Bring 1 cup of mullet and 2 cups of water (lightly salted) to a boil in a pot. Once it boils, stir and reduce to medium-low heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until tender. Let rest for about 3 minutes (covered). If there is still excess water, you can drain it with a fine mesh.
- While the mullet is simmering prepare the salad.
- On the large wholes of the grater grate the carrot. Slice Radishes into ¼ inch pieces. Chop kale into bite size pieces, lightly salt and massage until leaves soften.
- Add kale, radishes, onion, carrot and half blueberries into a blow, drizzle with blueberry-maple vinaigrette and mix. Set aside.
- Heat about 1.5 tablespoons of avocado oil in a large skillet, add pecans, chickpeas, and smoked paprika. Season with salt & pepper and saute for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once done, add cooked millet to the pan and stir to combine.
- Plate your salad on a plate first and top with mullet, chickpeas, pecans and the rest of blueberries. Sprinkle with blue cheese (optional).
- Combine all ingredients except oil in a blender. Mix on medium speed for 30 seconds. While blender is running, slowly pour in oil.