Did you know that millet has more than twice the dietary fiber (8.5 g/100 g, uncooked) that brown rice has (3.6 g/ 100 g, uncooked)? As a healthy whole grain, it’s naturally high in protein, antioxidants, and essential minerals, making it an excellent gluten-free grain choice. So, today, I’m going to introduce you to this soul warming down-home recipe: mushroom and butternut squash millet pilaf.
My memories of millet are as a breakfast cereal, more so than any other millet dishes. My mom used to make hot millet cereal for breakfast when I was a kid. A chilly winter morning would often start with a bowl full of hot millet cereal. How satisfying it was! These small yellow beads have a mild nutty flavor that is pleasant, especially in a freshly prepared cereal. Back then my knowledge about millet was limited to breakfast.
Feeling the need to introduce more whole grains into our diet besides rice, I took my husband’s suggestion to cook some millet instead of rice for lunch or dinner.
“What flavor should I add to it if it’s not a breakfast cereal?”
That was my challenge. I like my dishes to have lots of flavor, not necessarily strong or intense flavors. Thanks to the versatility of millet, I was able to find some ingredients available in my cupboards and refrigerator to create this wonderful and flavorful millet pilaf. Here is what I found and used as the main ingredients in this recipe with the millet.
- Dried shiitake mushrooms
- Butternut squash
- Fresh rosemary sprigs
- Yellow onions
The flavor, color, and texture of millet blend very well with the seasoned and oven roasted butternut squash, woody shiitake mushrooms, and fresh rosemary sprigs. You can make it in 30 minutes.
Unlike the porridge-like breakfast millet cereal, this millet pilaf is chewy and full of flavor. You can add other vegetables, such as carrots, sweet peas, sweet corn, etc. It’s a healthy, easy-to-make, appealing side dish you may want to serve to your gluten-free/vegan family.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 small yellow onions, diced
- 6 medium dry shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and diced
- 2 cups millet, uncooked
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (or ½ tablespoon dried rosemary)
- (optional) 2 bay leaves
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups roasted butternut squash (see note)
- Heat a sauté pan over high heat until it is hot. Reduce the heat to medium. Add olive oil and wait for 10 seconds until the oil is hot but not smoky hot. Add yellow onion and mushrooms, sauté until onions are translucent and softened.
- Stir in well-rinsed and drained millet, 1 sprig of fresh rosemary or dried rosemary, bay leaves, turmeric powder, and salt. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add water and mix well. Reduce the heat to low until the water is boiling. Cover with lid and simmer for approximately 18 minutes until the millet is just cooked but not too soggy.
- Stir in oven-roasted butternut squash and cook for 2 minutes. Garnish with the remaining fresh rosemary sprig and serve immediately.