With school back in full swing, and schedules crazier than ever, I’m always searching for quick, easy meals that don’t sacrifice flavor or nutrition and still get my daughters excited about new foods. Basil and millet were the inspiration for this dish. My basil plants have taken off lately after much love and attention (I almost lost them a month ago due to the heat and picking leaves from the top instead of the bottom). And lately, everywhere I look, I see another recipe using millet, which I had never heard of before. Millet, I learned, is a whole grain that the rest of the world has been using for centuries but is just starting to gain popularity in the US. It cooks up like rice or other whole grains like quinoa, and is surprisingly filling. It can be used in entrées or added to cookies and other baked goodies. Uncooked millet added a great crunch to some granola I made, but I’ll save that for another post! So using millet and my abundant basil plants, I came up with this dish, which the girls gobbled up. I prefer chicken stock when cooking grains to add more depth of flavor, but vegetable stock works well, if you want to go completely meatless.
1 cup millet
2 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup olive oil – divided
1-11/2 packed cup fresh basil – plus 2-3 tablespoons chiffonade
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 lbs heirloom tomatoes – roughly chopped
8 oz fresh mozzarella – cut into small cubes
In a medium sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add millet and toast until slightly golden brown, approximately3-5 minutes. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil. Turn temperature to low and simmer for approximately 30 minutes until water is completely absorbed. Fluff with a fork.
While millet is cooking, combine 1/4 cup oil, basil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste in blender. Puree until well combined, adding more oil as necessary.
In a large bowl, combine cooked millet, chopped heirloom tomatoes, and mozzarella. Stir well to combine. Top with chiffonade basil and drizzle with basil oil.
Enjoy immediately or serve at room temperature.