This is my even more delicious gluten-free version of the classic Middle Eastern salad which is normally based on bulgar wheat. This is great with grilled or roast meat or fish, or a chickpea/bean salad. You can make it in advance for a barbecue or buffet. Don’t skimp on the fresh parsley or lemon juice.
For 2 people, with leftovers:
½ mug/1 cup millet grains (not flakes), available in wholefood stores
3 tbsp finely sliced red onion (or spring onion, if you can’t get red)
4 tomatoes, finely chopped
½ cucumber, skin and all, chopped into about ½cm cubes
6 rounded tbsp parsley (flat-leaf is nice), finely chopped
3 tbs finely chopped fresh mint or 3 dsp dried mint
Juice of 2-3 lemons (or more, to taste)
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt or Himalayan salt and black pepper to taste
- Boil the kettle. Add the millet to a saucepan with double its quantity (2 cups) of boiling water, cover with a lid, and simmer without stirring until all the water is absorbed and the grains are fluffy. Rough up with a fork and allow to cool.
- When the millet is no more than lukewarm, put it and the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix gently to combine, taking care not to mash the millet. If you have time, let it stand for at least half an hour to let the flavors amalgamate.
Why this is good for you:
I use millet here because it is naturally gluten-free, tastes great, and is packed with the relaxing nutrient magnesium. Wheat contains high levels of phytates that impede mineral absorption in the gut. People who eat wheat at several meals a day often end up short of essential minerals such as zinc and iron even if they eat them in the diet. Also (and this is a shocker from recent research) gluten in wheat damages your gut for several hours after exposure – you don’t have to be gluten-sensitive for this to happen! Parsley is rich in iron and aids detoxification, good news if you care about your skin or your energy levels. Lemon juice aids the stomach in the digestive process while mint is anti-spasmodic, helping relieve gas or cramps in the gut. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in vitamin E and research shows that including it in your daily diet increases your healthy lifespan. Tomatoes are a fantastic source of lycopene and act as a natural UV filter, helping reduce skin burning and ageing.