Finding new sides that are suitable for a variety of party guests (vegan, vegetarian, gluten free) is a difficult endeavor. This Toasted Millet with Fried Chickpeas is relatively unique, packed with flavor and yet incorporated into a variety of diets — particularly if you serve the goat cheese on the side.
It also is something you want to eat because it tastes good and is good for you. My husband and I are at the age where you really start to pay attention to things like cholesterol, your weight, your blood sugar and your activity level. You start realizing that you really are what you eat.
Millet looks an awful lot like couscous and the consistency is very similar, but it is gluten free and has a nice nutty flavor that comes out more when you toast it first (as is recommended in this recipe). Millet also has alkaline properties so it is more easily digested than most grains. Additionally, it is good for vegetarian and vegan diets because it is higher in protein and lower in sugar than other grains. Finally, it has high antioxidant activity (Read: good for your health!).
Combine millet with a little sweet Vidalia onion, avocado, red pepper, tomato and a cilantro honey lime dressing and you’v got yourself an uber healthy side or vegetarian main course.
Now, I must confess, the fried chickpeas aren’t exactly the healthiest thing on this planet, but they make the dish with their flavor and crunch. Note that you can easily make this dish ahead of time and let it sit at room temperature on a buffet (what I did when I made it the first time), but the dish is at its best when you make the chickpeas at the last minute and pour them on top and serve right away. Note: This dish is best made and served the same day because the avocado turn brown over time.
I was in denial that fall is upon us until this week when reality set in. My daughter has been back at school for a few weeks and homework is a nightly activity. My son started preschool this week. There is a bit of a chill in the air today and I know my flip-flop wearing days are numbered. Guess its time to get out the slow cooker 🙂
- 1½ teaspoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped vidalia onion
- 1 cup uncooked millet
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 cups water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2½ tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- ¾ cup diced avocado
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 2 ounces crumbled feta
- 1 can chickpeas (14.5 oz), drained
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 1½ -2 tbsp olive oil
- Heat 1½ teaspoons olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Add millet and garlic to pan and saute for an additional 2 minutes
- Stir in water and sea salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
- Combine 2½ tablespoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, cilantro, lime juice, honey, cumin, and black pepper in a bowl.
- Meanwhile, heat 1½ - 2 tbsp olive oil i(enough to cover the frying pan) in small to medium size frying pan until smoking.
- Toss the chickpeas with paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper
- Once olive oil in frying pan is sizzling, add the chickpeas and fry covered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that the chickpeas are crisped all over.
- Remove from pan, and transfer to a paper towel lined dish to let drain and cool for 5 minutes.
- Combine millet with cilantro honey lime dressing, chopped red bell pepper, avocado, and top with chickpeas. Sprinkle with feta if desired.