Gingered Millet with Roasted Beets

August 3, 2009 at 2:41 pm 18 comments

Gingered Millet with Roasted Beets

Beets, much like brussel sprouts, have suffered at the hands and up-turned noses of small children everywhere.  And, just like brussel sprouts, the ruby and orange roots have experienced a bit of a renaissance in those of us adults who have finally grown up enough to realize that sometimes if you just try something, you’ll actually like it.  I credit the dislodging of beets from the “ick” category to the beautiful and fresh varieties that have poured into farmer markets around the country.   Even people who don’t have any interest in buying beets from our market table are prone – even compelled – to pick up a bunch of these colorful beauties to appreciate visually, if not in actual taste.

Just picked

I have to confess that I wasn’t a huge beet fan myself when I was younger.  I did, however, love the pickled beets my mom made every year to line our root cellar shelves.   I’ll be posting a recipe for those shortly, by the way.  I didn’t discover the rustic sweet delight of roasted beets until much later in life (okay, so only a few years ago, in truth).  Now I can’t imagine a dinner I’d rather have more than one that centers around roasted beets. 

beets, onions, tomatoes

Today’s recipe for Gingered Millet with Roasted Beets is a show-stopper, both in taste and presentation.  The ginger is the perfect spicy heat pairing for the natural sugars of the beets.  The millet is hearty and healthy, making an entire meal out of this one dish.    Hot or cold, this is a dish that does double duty as a dinner entree or a picnic lunch next to a vibrant salad of fresh greens dressed in simple oil and vinegar.

Beets and Platter

If you don’t have these exact ingredients on hand, don’t fret.  Save for the beets and ginger, you can achieve pretty much the same flavors and textures with substitutions such as quinoa, spelt, or orzo for the grain; white or yellow onions instead of red;  grape tomatoes instead of sungolds; tarragon instead of cilantro; and so forth.    Experiment and make this recipe your own using whatever is coming out of your garden.   Just please do come back and tell us all about your adaptations, especially if any of them win over the wee ones in the crowd!



Gingered Millet with Roasted Beets
Very loosely adapted from Martha Stewart Living

5 or 6 medium beets, scrubbed and trimmed
½ C. water
1 t. coarse salt
1 T. plus 1 t.  extra virgin olive oil
1 C. millet
2 C. boiling water
2 t. freshly grated ginger
¼ medium red onion, finely diced
1 large handful of sun gold tomatoes, sliced in half
2 T. red wine vinegar
2 t. honey
1 ½ t. freshly ground coriander
1 t. freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
¼ C. chopped fresh mint
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Place beets, water and ¼ t. of coarse salt in a baking dish.  Cover with parchment paper and then foil.  Bake until beets are tender when pierced with a fork, about 45-55 minutes.  Let stand to cool before using your hands to slip off the skins.  Quarter the beets and place in a small bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. 

In a medium saucepan, toast the millet over medium heat, stirring regularly, until it gives off a nutty aroma, about 4 minutes.  Slowly and carefully add the 2 cups of boiling water (it will sputter!) and stir in 1 teaspoon ginger and ¼ teaspoon of salt.  Bring to a boil again before reducing heat to low and covering.  Cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.  Let stand for a few minutes after taking off the heat.  Fluff with a fork. 

While beets and millet cook, prepare the remaining ingredients.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the diced onion, tomato halves, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, red wine vinegar, and honey.  Toss well and let sit for 15 minutes. 

When ready to serve, whisk 1 tablespoon oil and coriander with the onion and tomato mixture.  Toss with the cooked millet.  Season with pepper.  Stir in the chopped mint and cilantro.  Arrange beet wedges on top and garnish with more herbs. 

(serves 6)


Entry filed under: Purely Vegetables, Recipes. Tags: , , , .

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18 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Marsha  |  August 3, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Looks terrific!! I was at a dinner party recently, where one of the buffet dishes was cold beets with crumbled feta cheese – it was a marvelous taste combination.

  • 2. Dana  |  August 3, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    It’s this kind of dish that makes me curse my husband for not liking beets. They are so beautiful at the markets right now and this is such a lovely way of preparing them. 😦

  • 3. Sarah  |  August 3, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Our friend just dropped off a huge tub of beets from his garden this weekend – a mixture of colors. I’ll have to use some up with this!
    Love anything that involves ginger! If you want to try and trick / convince someone beets are delicious these beet fries with pesto are a good start 🙂

  • 4. mangochild  |  August 4, 2009 at 4:46 am

    For whatever reason, I can’t get into beets. I’ve roasted them, grilled them, used them in fresh soups, baked them in casserole-type dishes… just can’t love them. Don’t know why…. I’ll eat them, and prefer them roasted with other winter veg if I do, but am not a big fan. Any thoughts on other ways to try?

  • 6. k  |  August 4, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    When I was a kid – beets were something I could take or leave – but I loved them pickled. It wasn’t until a few years ago I found out about the other varieties.

    This fall my back yard is going to get tilled up and I will be trying my hand at next year at gardening – We will see how it turns out but beets – red, gold and candy cane are on the list of must try.

  • 7. k  |  August 4, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    PS – I can’t remember whether I like millet or not – but I am wondering if cous-cous would be an okay substitution if I don’t. It would kind of be like a Moroccan tagine dish, I suppose.

    • 8. Jennie  |  August 7, 2009 at 7:03 am

      Hey K, sorry it took me a bit to reply. Millet is very much like couscous, just a tad bit more moist. I would think if you like couscous, you’ll like millet. That being said, couscous would be a great substitute if you have it on hand and don’t feel like going out to geet millet. 🙂

      • 9. k  |  August 8, 2009 at 1:07 pm

        I will try the millet. Years ago when I started doing accupunture, the guy I saw suggested that I start eating a morning gruel with millet, quinoa, wild rice and another grain – I can’t remember what it was – not barley, dried fruit and honey. It tasted vaguely of dirt. I have been leary of the grains since – not sure which one was the offending item. 😉

  • 10. Julia  |  August 26, 2009 at 7:29 am

    This looks AMAZING. Just found your blog and was so drawn by the title, Adding you to my blogroll, thanks for the recipe!

  • 11. Lexi  |  August 27, 2009 at 10:11 am

    I’ve been getting loads of beets from my CSA this month, and when I saw your recipe on Tastespotting, it looked like a delicious way to use some of them. I made mine with wheat berries, chiogga beets, yellow onion, and Thai basil instead of cilantro. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • 12. Jennie  |  August 27, 2009 at 12:46 pm

      Ooo, love your adaptation, Lexi! Thanks for sharing!

  • 13. Katie  |  September 30, 2009 at 8:29 am

    I can’t believe how well the ginger pairs with beets. I loved this and have made it twice! Bulgur subs for the millet nicely, and if you don’t have any tomatoes, try watermelon – worked like a charm.

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