Millet with Carrots, Mushrooms and Mint

Gluten free millet is a wonderful grain perfect for a side dish with vegetables and fresh herbs
Gluten-free millet makes a tasty grain side dish.

Fairy tales can come true...

To be honest, the only thing I knew about millet was what I read in fairy tales. You know the drill. Some evil, jealous stepmother or warty witch in the spooky woods would capture our plucky heroine- some flaxen haired, peaches and cream Princess down on her luck, misunderstood and pining for true love. The innocent and modest maiden would then be forced to find golden needles in haystacks or pluck pinches of wool off surly sheep or sort buckets and buckets of miniscule millet seeds. Tasks any one of us can relate to, right?

I mean, who doesn't relate to the tedium of domestic chores?
Just when you finish matching the last pair of spring mountain fresh tube socks, the hamper begins to fill again in all its stinky glory. Mysteriously. It is never empty. Never. And the floor you finally got around to wiping clean and polishing until it gleams- if not twinkles- in the afternoon sunlight gets mauled by muddy rubber soles before you can count two shakes of a lamb's tail. And we won't even hint at the horrors that perpetuate in the so-called powder room.

Mrs. Meyers isn't rich by accident.

Fairy tales about feminine obedience and compliance in practicing our household chores (a skill set highly valued prior to Helen Gurley Brown) instructed us (pre-kindergarten) that the dutiful are not only more comely than their whining, uppity, stubborn counterparts, in the end (when push comes to shove) the gallant and toothsome Prince will actually prefer duty, modesty and obedience. We are persuaded that if we are patient and kind and willingly clean out the ashes in the fireplace, he will pick us. The good girl. 

The exiled Princess missing a slipper. 

His tender kiss will awaken us. His gaze becomes our  prize.  Our ultimate reward. So we can follow him back to the castle

And wash his dirty underwear.

The sparkly fairy tales we are fed today play out differently.

There's no millet or spindles or poisoned apples involved. Carrie Bradshaw (not to mention, every female reality show contestant for the last ten years) hungers not only for the timeless promise of love (and absurdly expensive shoes) but for the jackpot prize of fame. It isn't enough to snag a Prince.

The whole world has to watch.

The Twittering, Facebooking, YouTubing contemporary Princess doesn't feel alive if she's not being observed, basking in media attention. She craves external validation and mirroring like an addict. Which- in a strange, if not classic Jungian way- circles 'round and reflects the old school fairy tales of my childhood. The neglected and unseen Princess locked away in a tower and the maiden drugged by a poisoned apple and sealed in a cold glass casket share the same root desire with her neo-narcissist sisters vocal-frying in reality show hot tubs, hissing in a tantrum as if on cue, or dripping big fat tears of shame on their EatSmart Scales.

They need to be seen. And heard.

Not simply for their pouty lip implants, or how unnaturally white their teeth are, or what their opinion is on the latest celebrity gossip. They long to be valued. And yes, I suppose you could argue that it boils down to wanting love and seeking a loving gaze, but I think it's something deeper, more intimate. I think it's about self-hood. And wrestling with authenticity. 

Trying to figure out nothing less than Who am I?

The hunger for that answer fuels their drive to be famous. As if we, the collective observer, the all seeing eye, possess the answer. 

But we don't. 

Individuation is a solitary task. You can try on attributes for size and see if they chafe. Or buoy. You can bounce bits and pieces off those around you and see if they stick or fall off. You can read and listen and observe and sleep on it. You can go for a run or change the sheets or write in a journal. You can make a pot of soup or order sushi take-out. 

You can find love and you can lose love and still not have a clue to who you really are. 

The answer isn't out there. It's inside. And the bit by bit excavation, as excruciating and millet-sorting as it may be- is worth it, in the end. One might even say, the process is its own reward. Because how you value and honor your real self is how the world will see you. 

And that missing slipper? 

It's right where you left it.

Millet grain makes a delicious gluten free side dish
Spring millet side dish with carrots and fresh herbs.

Spring Millet Recipe with Carrots, Mushrooms and Mint

Recipe posted March 2010.

Millet cooks up much like quinoa. The taste is a pleasant change from the usual white rice. It's more akin to brown rice, flavor wise, and can handle any herbs and seasonings you can throw at it.


1 cup whole grain millet
Olive oil, as needed
2 cups hot light gluten-free broth
Olive oil, as needed
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped carrots
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Toss in:

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1-2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts


First cook the millet. In a saucepan or pot with a cover, pour a little olive oil into the bottom and set it over medium heat. Add the millet grains and using a wooden spoon stir the millet to toast a bit. After a couple of minutes add in hot broth, stir, and cover. Lower the heat to a low simmer. Cook the millet for about 25 minutes, till all the liquid is evaporated.

Meanwhile cook up your vegetables. Drizzle some olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and stir for a minute or too. Add in the garlic; stir. Add the mushrooms and carrots. Season with sea salt and ground pepper. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Stir and cook until the vegetables are tender.

When the millet is cooked, fluff with a fork and add it to the skillet mixture. Toss in the fresh chopped herbs and pine nuts. Drizzle with more olive oil and season with sea salt and ground pepper, to taste. Serve immediately as a side dish.

Cook time: 25 min

Yield: Serves 4

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City Girl said...

I have been playing more with millet recently too - and it really is lovely. I will definitely try this recipe :) Enjoy!

J said...

This one is a very healthy recipe.. I have not been using this wonderful whole grain for quite awhile.. will definately try this one!

Sarah said...

This looks delicious! And, I love millet. Thansk :)

Katherine said...

Hey I adore your quote about 'individuation', and how we can find love and lose love and still not have a clue who we are, and how the slipper is out there just waiting for us. Very inspirational thanks. Thanks too for the gluten free recipe, it looks delicious and I will try it!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Lovely! I think I'd love some peas in here, just for fun. Yum.

Joanne said...

I love how, in this post and maybe in life, millet is not just millet. It's a metaphor for so much more. Great post Karina! Really got me thinking. Plus an excellent side dish!

Nancy Guppy, MHSc, RD said...

Add nuts and it is the main dish. I am going to make mine with some wild leeks we have growing "around" the bush!

G. L. said...

Yea, this is great. Grain recipes are so essential and this looks yum. I so appreciate your blog, Ms. K. :D Thank you, thank you!

Valen said...

I love how this looks, its so colorful!

Mary said...

I recently started using millet and found the texture a bit rough, even when I soaked it overnight before cooking it. Is it possible to get it as soft as quinoa?

Angelina said...

I have been reading your blog for years, sometimes a bit more off than on, as the life of a mother often dictates much of my quiet reading time. This post filled me in a way that food and recipes cannot. Thank you for sharing.

Aubree said...

This looks so tasty. I love the simplicity, it really is gorgeous! :)

~Aubree Cherie

Paula said...

This is so simple and lovely, and it's one of those great recipes that can be adapted depending on what one has on hand. I had organic shallots instead of onion, Madeira instead of white wine, and I used organic baby bella mushrooms, parsley, and pinenuts. Fantastic! We paired it with a very simple Puree of Carrot Soup from Nava Atlas' book, "The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet". Scrumptious! This is the first time I've commented (I think), Karina, and I thank you so much for all your wonderful words and recipes! :-)

JMP said...

Thank you! I bought millet recently as an alternative to rice and quinoa, and I've been at a loss as to what to do with it.

Miss Fauve said...

I loved this post so much I had to read it out loud to my husband.

I will try the millet this way. I normally prefer quinoa, as a bad millet for breakfast gig sent it off my list as whole grain. The flour is fabulous though so it must deserve a second chance with your endorsement.

You are fabulous, but you knew that already.
~Jenn Scott in Forest Grove,Oregon

Meena said...

Oh! How I love your posts. Such beautiful and intense thoughts conveyed in such simple words. You are awesome. Thanks for the recipe too, will try it soon. - Meenakshi.

J said...

Wonderful dish - I'd never had whole millet before, just the flour, and this was a great introduction. The mint is an interesting touch I wouldn't have thought of and made the dish "springy." Thanks for the awesome blog - it's been such a help for gf eating (since 2006). I'm going dairy free gf for tomorrow and your dairy-free recipes are an inspiration.

anna said...

i just made this beautiful dish.. with quinoa instead and i posted it to my blog :) Thank you for the inspiration!

Nanette said...

This sounds delicious as so many of your other recipes are. Also loved your overall post and am wondering if you would mind if I posted the following quote on Facebook:
How you value your true self is how the world will see you. ~ Karina Allrich
Thank you for all you do!!

The InTolerant Chef said...

I prefer the story of Rumpelstilskin, where the canny heroine outsources the tedious tasks to other contractors, thus fulfilling her original contract and winning a permanent position at the palace. Workers wages were not only deferred indefinately, but finally negotiated, debated, and resolved with no out of pocket expenses and no union intervention either.
This is a woman who knows what she wants, and how to go about getting it!
I bet she would want this millet recipe too, thanks for sharing so generously with no lengthy contracts to sign, or small print to read either.

Emm said...

Yum, I love millet. I usually just cook it with water, so I'm interested to taste your recipe here that uses a little white wine too. Yum! I find millet is a great replacement for bulgur wheat in tabouli and millet meal makes a great gf porridge. I like to mix it with quinoa and rice flakes :-)
Also thank you so much for your lovely comments about my gf wedding cake and surprise wedding, it was such a fab day :-)

Beverly said...

Thanks for your beautiful foods and beautiful words. My darling youngest is living in Italy and has finally discovered her years of belly pain, sometimes visiting anemia, and once upon a time hair loss is indeed Celiacs. Not the place to be for life changing revelation , but she is managing. She and I both love to cook and are fairly creative in our kitchens, but she still morns chewy, yummy, gluten filled baked goods and pastas. I have given up gluten for Lent in support of her and to ensure that I delve into the world of gluten free cooking and eating prior to her return. Doing so is just fine at home, it is the eating out that is very tricky. Anyway, I had already filled my overfull pantry with all the ingredients needed and one of those items was millet. I love a proven recipe with which to start. Many thanks for making this whole thing seem like a journey and making it beautiful, enticing and oh yes, delicious.

srm said...

I loved your post today, and the millet looks delish! I am going to make that for dinner tonight. BTW, I love your dairy free recipes. As well as GF, I have to eat dairy and egg free, and have a number of other foods I must avoid. It makes it so much easier to start with a GF, DF recipe. So many of the GF cookbooks have recipes that are loaded with dairy and eggs. You are very appreciated in this household. xoxo

Sammie said...

I didn't know what millet was but it looks delicious! It sounds like a dish I make but I use cous cous. It would be nice to switch up my grains every now and then!

Jenny Eliuk @ Stay on Path said...

Beverly you are a good mom!!!

I too have never eaten millet but just bought some to sprout. Excited to try it!

Travis said...

Wow this looks delicious! Can't wait to share it with my friends with gluten allergies! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I just love this post!! said...

I'm long past needing guiding recipes, Karina, but I always return for the gentle wisdom. Thank you.

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