Toasted Millet Salad With Cucumber, Avocado and Lemon
Cooked millet has a taste and aroma that’s subtly reminiscent of raw hazelnuts, and as with hazelnuts, toasting millet first really deepens its flavor. If you want to work ahead, toast and cook the millet, set aside and toss in the other ingredients when ready. Sharp mint leaves, creamy avocado, crisp cucumbers and bright lemon really round out this dish, which makes a lovely side dish, an afternoon snack or the base of a protein-focused grain bowl. Millet is marvelous, but a wide variety of grains will work just as well.
- Serves: 4 persons
- ½cup millet or other grains, such as barley, farro, brown rice or kasha
- Kosher salt
- ¼cup olive oil
- 1tablespoon lemon zest plus 1/4 cup juice
- 1tablespoon honey
- Black pepper
- 1pound English or Persian cucumbers, quartered lengthwise into 1/2-inch spears, then cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
- 1packed cup mint leaves
- ¼cup sliced almonds (optional)
- 1avocado, pitted and sliced into quarters
Step 1To a small pot set over medium heat, add the millet and toast, swirling the pan constantly until the grains begin to crackle, become fragrant and deepen in color to a deep tan, about 10 minutes.
Step 2Turn heat to low and carefully add 1 1/4 cups water, season with salt, bring to a simmer and cook, partly covered, until the millet is softened, about 15 minutes. Remove the millet from the heat, and stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil and let sit covered for at least 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and allow to cool to room temperature. You can do this step ahead and store the cooked millet in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (If using other grains, toast first, then cook according to package directions.)
Step 3While the millet cooks, make the vinaigrette: Combine the lemon zest, juice and honey in a small bowl and whisk to incorporate. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and whisk until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 4Toss the cooled millet with cucumbers, mint, almonds (if using) and half of the lemon vinaigrette; divide among bowls. Top each bowl with an avocado quarter and dress with spoonfuls of vinaigrette.