A whole grain salad chock full of fruits, vegetables and nuts may not be most people’s first thought when “comfort food” is uttered, but if you’ve grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s with parents who love to garden, cook, and shop at the local Co-op, interesting salads are pure nostalgia of family suppers past.
I am not kidding when I say that we had (and still have, on visits home) a salad of some sort–fruit, vegetable, leaf, or whole grain–at almost every evening meal (Kevin can attest to this–on his first visit to my parent’s home, he thought it was a fluke, perhaps a celebration of summer produce; a second visit at Christmas quickly disproved the notion).
One of the salads in my mother’s rotation was (I should say “is,” as she still makes it) a simple Greek salad, comprising tomatoes, greens, feta and olives. I loved it–still do.
This riff on her salad came about the other night out of necessity; I had not planned dinner, after perusing the pantry, noticed I had some millet on hand. Cherry tomatoes were on sale this week at the store, so I had two baskets, and I always seem to have feta cheese on hand (LOVE it), so it didn’t take long to settle on my Greek theme. I skipped the olives only because I was out (plus, Kevin dislikes them; crazy, I know. Feel free to add them, if you like.
If you do not have millet, don’t worry: brown rice, quinoa, or pearled barley would all work harmoniously with the other ingredients here. Whatever your choice, it is salad comfort, guaranteed.
- 1 cup uncooked millet, rinsed and drained
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1–1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 pint baskets cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 ounce feta cheese, cubed
- 6 cups packed baby arugula or spinach leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add millet; cook 10 minutes or until fragrant and toasted, stirring frequently. Add water and salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until water is almost absorbed.
- Transfer millet to a large bowl and cool to room temperature; fluff with a fork
- Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil and oregano; toss to combine. Add the tomatoes and feta. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.
- Add the arugula just before serving, Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Category: salad