Millet Pesto Summer Salad

by Gena on August 12, 2013


Happy Monday, all! I hope you had lovely weekends. I’m passing through NYC on my way to the west coast for a few nights; my mom and I are taking a girls’ trip to San Francisco. It’s a place that has special meaning to my mom, and I had a wonderful time there on my last visit, so I look forward to returning! Of course, I’ll be sharing eats and highlights on the blog and on Instagram. But for now, a recipe that I prepared last week, and loved: millet pesto summer salad.

I think my current love affair with millet began with my millet tabouli. This recipe is very similar, but it’s even more of a summer produce smorgasbord: I added roasted zucchini and eggplant to the tomato, and I used fresh, farmer’s market pesto to brighten everything up, and add some healthy fat and richness.

Millet is really a delightful grain; it can be a little gummy right after you cook it, so it helps to immediately fluff it with a fork. It also holds up well to creamy dressings or vinaigrettes, the addition of roast vegetables, or being cooked along with another grain. Remember when I discovered that amaranth and quinoa cook up really well together? Same idea: millet and kasha, millet and quinoa, and millet and rice are all great combinations.

If you don’t have eggplant or zucchini, you can use other roasted vegetables that you love. The pesto can also be swapped for a dressing of choice. This is an adaptable, easygoing meal.


Millet Pesto Summer Salad


  • 1 cup millet, dry
  • 2 1/4 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 3 cups zucchini, chopped into 3/4" pieces (or so)
  • 3 cups eggplant, chopped into 3/4" pieces (or so)
  • Olive or coconut oil spray
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 large Jersey or heirloom tomato, chopped
  • 2/3 cup pesto of choice (or to taste) -- here's my favorite vegan pesto recipe!


  1. 1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. 2. Bring the millet and the water or broth to a boil. Reduce the mixture to a simmer, and place a lid on the pot, slightly ajar, so that some steam can escape.
  3. 3. While the millet cooks, lay the zucchini and eggplant out on two parchment or foil lined baking sheets and spray with the olive or coconut oil. Alternately, you can simply coat them with a light amount of oil. Roast vegetables for thirty minutes, or until tender and browning.
  4. 4. When the millet has absorbed all of the water, fluff it with a fork and let it sit for a few minutes. Transfer it to a bowl. Add the roasted vegetables, the fresh tomato, and the pesto. You can adjust the amount of pesto you use to taste, and you can also season the salad to taste with black pepper and extra salt. A little squeeze of lemon at the end is nice, too!
  5. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

I love quinoa salads in the summer (here’s a favorite lunchtime recipe) but I’m finding more and more that millet is capturing my whole grain affections. I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I did.


For the rest of the week, there will be some travel posts, mixed in with some other goodies–like the raw granola recipe I’m extremely jazzed about. So, I’ll see you back here soon!

One little thing before I go: remember the brown rice summer rolls with almond sesame dressing I recently posted? Just wanted to give you a head’s up that the very kind folks at Star Anise Foods actually commented to let me know that the wrappers are back in stock on Amazon! They also wanted me to let you know that, if your local Whole Foods (or another health food purveyor) doesn’t have the brown rice wrappers, you can talk to the store’s buyers about supplying the wrappers, or ask the Star Anise team to help you out. One reader was able to elicit their help in asking her local Whole Foods market to place an order. Finally, the wrappers are also available on the Star Anise Foods website. So, if you’re one of the many readers who was excited about this product, I hope you’ll soon have a chance to test it out!



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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Elisabeth August 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm

I’ve always preferred millet to quinoa, but I don’t seem to use it in my cooking as often as this preference would indicate. It’s very popular in other parts of the world; I don’t understand why it hasn’t caught on more in the U.S. Anyway, this looks delicious and endlessly adaptable, Gena! Thanks for sharing!


Gena August 12, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Elisabeth, it’s becoming a close contest for me! So glad you like the recipe :-)


Catherine @ foodiecology August 12, 2013 at 6:41 pm

I think millet is fabulous (I, too, prefer it to quinoa–though the latter is starting to grow on me), but I rarely use it!

This salad looks so fresh and delicious. What’s better than heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, and fresh basil pesto to celebrate the summer? Can’t wait to try this!


Molly August 12, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Um, you couldn’t have posted this at a more perfect time! I just thawed some of your pesto, planning to add some to zucchini noodles. This, however, has won my affection (and taste buds)! Have a blast in San Francisco!


Gena August 12, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Thank you, Molly!


hannah August 12, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Do you not toast the millet before cooking it? Apart from this fantastic recipe from julie morris i have a hard time loving it cooked plain!


Gena August 12, 2013 at 8:27 pm

That looks delicious, indeed!

But no, I don’t toast it. No patience :-) It takes so much effort for me to even rinse quinoa!


Deborah Dera August 12, 2013 at 9:02 pm

No joke. I started to cook quinoa today and realized I’d forgotten to rinse it. LOL


Carrie August 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Hey lady! I’ll be in SF next weekend. I don’t know your travel dates, but if you are there thru the weekend, I’d love to try and catch up!


Gena August 12, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Hey lady! We leave Saturday, I think around lunchtime. When do you arrive? We could play a quick Saturday juice by ear, depending on when my mom and I need to head to the airport :-)


Suzanne @ hello, veggy! August 12, 2013 at 9:28 pm

I loved millet the one time I tried it- must try it again! I have a nice vegan pesto recipe on my blog as well!


Christina @ The Beautiful Balance August 13, 2013 at 12:46 am

I adore millet and have even had it for breakfast a few times as a sub for my usual oatmeal, chia pudding, or smoothie :)


Abby August 13, 2013 at 7:24 am

I’ve never actually had millet and don’t enjoy quinoa as much as the rest of the world. Rice and farro are normally my go-tos. However, I might have to give this a try! I recently found fair trade vegan pesto as well, so the timing is basically perfect ;)

Have a safe trip!


Karen August 13, 2013 at 7:37 am

Once again, your timing is uncanny! I just replenished my stash of millet yesterday (!) and happened to have bought some eggplant and zucchini and local heirlooms at the market this weekend w/the intent of roasting. Millet is rarely my first choice of grains, but whenever I make it, I vow to make it more regularly. Roasted eggplant too is one of those vegs. I love, but for whatever reason perceive as being too much of a bother – though it takes mere minutes to prep and pop in the oven. This concoction of late-summer produce will get made today for sure, though I’m pesto-less, so for simplicity sake, maybe I’ll toss in some cannellini beans tonight.

Have a blast traveling with Mom and safe travels, Gena!


Amy August 13, 2013 at 8:04 am

Looks delicious! I like millet so much better than quinoa, I will have to make a version of this!


Vera Lima August 13, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Great Recipe!
Different. It is worth it to try it.


Ttrockwood August 13, 2013 at 9:38 pm

I love san francisco! Just don’t forget a jacket!! Hahaha, last time i was there i nearly froze coming from nyc summer weather. Please update us on any can’t miss spots, i’ll be there in a few weeks myself.
This recipe is such perfect timing- i’m going to a potluck this weekend and am bored with my usual go to dishes.


Tania August 13, 2013 at 10:59 pm

I’d be lying if I said I hated everything with pesto because I love anything with pesto! This is something I really plan to try! Looks and probably is as great and delicious as it looks.


Sarah August 14, 2013 at 2:13 am

Millet is one of the healthiest foods. It is gluten free, high in protein, rich in nutrients, and a great energy source. I have also used cucumbers. Summer is the time for parties and I’ve made this salad as a party food.


Carol P August 14, 2013 at 5:47 am

Pesto is my fave – never had it in a salad like this before (which looks delicious!) so I’m obviously going to be trying it now :)


Rose! August 14, 2013 at 6:22 am

Gena! I forgot about millet. But mostly I missed you and wanted to say hi via ambiguous comment. Have fun in San Fran! Was just there and it’s gorgeous.


Sophie August 14, 2013 at 8:28 am

I always mean to use millet – such a neglected grain! I always associate it with the budgies we had when I was little (fed them millet!). This recipe looks delicious. Can’t wait to try it!


kimmythevegan August 15, 2013 at 10:49 pm

This salad sounds great & refreshing – great summer salad.
Oh have fun on your travels!!! I am a stone’s throw away from San Francisco and know how amazing all of the great eats are! Enjoy =)


Lozzie Daniels August 19, 2013 at 6:55 am

This looks delicious! And a great alternative to the standard lettuce, tomato, cucumber and sprinkling of quinoa salad that I’ve got into a routine of. I’m certainly looking forward to giving this a try!



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