“Let your food be your medicine and your medicine your food”. -Hippocrates
Growing up as a kid in India, my daily diet reflected this simple philosophy. We ate our food according to the needs of our bodies. Eating seasonal food automatically took care of the body’s nutritional requirements for that season. I also remember a number of my mom’s home remedies to common ailments – Sore throat? Honey with turmeric. Upset stomach? Bitter green juice. Food was indeed our medicine. From what I read and hear about the food culture in the western world a few decades ago, it wasn’t much different from India. It can not be a coincidence then, how the “factory food” culture has dragged in the same problems to India as it did in the western world.
As corporate farming and processed food industries get bigger and stronger, they are increasingly focused on more profitability. There are so many grains, vegetables, fruits and seeds which never appear in the processed foods because they are harder to grow, harder to store, or are simply not profitable enough. Before eating local and seasonal became trendy, it was a need of the time. You could only eat what was available during the season because of the lack of storage facilities, and the absence of chemically induced availability of all foods, all year long.
One of the biggest problems with processed or factory food is that it limits the variation in what we eat. I have been there, done that. Wednesdays were CiCi’s all-you-can-eat pizza nights. Friday’s were for Fuddruckers half pound burgers. Even people who are conscious about eating fresh and healthy are sometimes in a rut – eating the same foods every week.
For me, it all starts at the grocery stores. If you buy your groceries at the same supermarkets, you might want to make that trip to the Farmers’ market or the specialty foods store you have been thinking about but never had the time to visit. Maybe check out that bulk foods aisle at your store. You might be surprised at what amazing ingredients you have been missing out on!
My quest for healthy ingredients has brought me to Millet this week! Despite the fact that millet is more nutritious than wheat, as well as other gluten-free grains, it has been hard to grow on a large scale. Millet is a gluten-free alternative to the common grains and has a texture similar to couscous when cooked. It is a good source of some very important nutrients including copper, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium. Millet will help you have a healthier heart and reduce your risk to diabetes and prevent gallstones. I can go on and on about the benefits of Millet!
I have used millet with roasted root vegetables. This is a hearty salad which easily is your whole meal. The lemony cilantro dressing pairs well with the sweetness of the roasted root vegetables. I have added pomegranate seeds for some crunch and color. This is one of my absolute favorite winter salads! Hope you enjoy it!
Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Millet
1 cup raw millet
2 cups of water/broth
1 tbsp of salt
3 cups root vegetables of your choice – peeled, diced (sweet potato, carrot, golden beet, purple potato, celery root, parsnip, rutabaga, turnip, yam)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 cup dill/mint/basil leaves, chopped
5 radish – sliced
1 pomegranate seeds
salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Wash, peel and cut the root vegetables in small cubes. Mix vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet without overcrowding. Roast them for 15- 20 minutes until cooked through and lightly caramelized.
Heat a large saucepan on medium heat. Toast the raw millet for 5 minutes until fragrant and start making a popping sound. Add 2 cups of water in the saucepan carefully and season with salt. Give a good stir. Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer for about 15 minutes until all the liquid get absorbed. Removed from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Now, fluff the cooked millet with fork, and taste for seasoning.
Add roasted vegetables, chopped herbs, slices of radishes and pomegranate seeds to the cooked millet. Add cilantro lemon dressing and mix well. Serve hot or cold!
Cilantro Lemon Dressing
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 lemon juice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp honey – optional
salt & pepper
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth consistency. Taste for seasoning.
This is such an eye catching Recipe. It looks so tempting and I really want to try it at home but my question is can we use something else except millets? Actually I am in UK and as per my knowledge I have never seen it available in local grocery stores? Suggest me the variations.
Quinoa, Teff or Buckwheat can be good gluten free alternatives to Millet. If gluten-free is not a concern, you can use lentils, brown rice, wheat berries. Any whole grains with a bit of texture would work! Here are a couple of other salad recipes you might be interested in:
Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com says
This is such a beautiful and delicious sounding dish – Gorgeous photos!
I, too, grew up with food as medicine at times – my Mom’s homemade “rasam” was a big time cold medicine for us and it worked wonders!
Lan | morestomach says
i did not cook the millet correctly but the first time i did it came out clumpy and very unappetizing. i still have some in the pantry that i’ve been trying to decide what to do with. i will have to try it again.
Lan, I can see how the Millet can turn out clumpy. Here is what worked for me: I added the water to Millet, gave it a stir and then held the temptation to disturb the pot till the Millet was fully cooked. I allowed it to sit for 10 minutes after cooking and then fluffed it with a fork. I recommend you try this method and let me know if you have better results!
This truly looks so healthy and inviting. I have some polenta that I have been wanting to use. You thing it would be good instead of millet?
Thanks for visiting! I would not recommend polenta as a substitute of millet, because it would give you more of a porridge-like texture and you don’t want that for your salad. Quinoa, Teff or Buckwheat can be good gluten free alternatives to Millet. If gluten-free is not a concern, you can use lentils, brown rice or wheat berries.
Mike @TheIronYou says
I struggle a bit with millet, but I’ve never tried in a salad. I should try this one because it looks beyond delicious!
Monsoon Treasures says
What a beautiful saying to open up your blog post. Absolutely true. Love love your take on using millet. I know my family would love it. They love whole grains.
I completely hear ya, back in India, it was simple food which was delicious and healthy. My mom was quite a foodie and health nut. She introduced me to so many whole grains when no one had heard of it. So thankful for that.
Thanks for a fabulous healthy recipe Medha.
I second you. I grew up same way, using home remedies whenver possible. Besides packaged food which is my sorta pet peeve.I didn’t understand ( still don’t) what’s the need of popping vitamins when you can get nutrition from right kind of foods.
Anyhow, I have been cooking a lot of millet lately, I give it to my little one. I put a little cumin-hing tadka with garlic. I think this salad will be a great way to eat up my daily veggies.
Really gorgeous, colorful pictures Medha, loved them!
I know what you mean about the Indian food-homemade cures. And I think they really do work, without side effects!
The salad sounds delicious. Such lovely bright pics too!
Thanks! You have a lovely blog as well!
What a co-incidence Medha, I just finished clicking wheat berry salad with roasted veggies for my next post!
I love grains and I find the whole grains salads so wholesome.
Your salad pics are lovely my friend 🙂
I love the texture of wheat berry, use them in salad a lot. Looking forward to your post!
Kiran @ KiranTarun.com says
Homemade remedies is the way to go. And healthy vitamin enriched salads as such. So colorful and vibrantly flavored 🙂
Hi, beautiful recipe – just a question, do you add dill, mint and basil or just one of them?
Thank you Laura! You can add one of them or all three, depending on your liking! I love to jazz up my salad with all kind of herbs:)
This recipe looks absolutely brilliant! Cannot wait to try it! Adding it to our Christmas menu– I love how it is beautiful, seasonal, and overflowing with nutrition! 🙂
This recipe looks like a GREAT one to try and healthy! I have read that lentils & brown rice ARE also gluten free, but agree that wheat berries aren’t.