the taste space

Millet Bowl with Spinach, Leek and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian) by Janet M on July 27, 2011


This was my first time cooking millet. I still have some learning to do.

There is a trick for plump and fluffy millet. I think I goofed when I stirred in some miso after it had cooked, and forgot to plump it up again. Still, fresh, the millet was lovely. Leftovers, talk about clumpy.

My mission: figure out how make the best fluffy millet. Because it isn’t just for the birds. Nutty and reminiscent of spongy couscous, I really liked it!

Here, a big bowl of millet is topped with pan-seared leeks and spinach, spiced with garlic and chili flakes. Lime juice adds a nice acidity and the toasted pumpkin seeds add a subtle crunch. I adapted the recipe from Whole Foods to Thrive, a nice cookbook highlighting recipes from multiple raw/vegan restaurants across North America, as well as simple home recipes such as this.

The original recipe suggested adding the miso the boiling water with the millet. However, I always thought one wasn’t supposed to boil miso to maintain its nutrients. Instead, I opted to stir it in afterwards. Since miso is a sticky paste, this probably wasn’t the best idea, and could have contributed to its stickiness. Next time, I may omit the miso in the millet and add it to the veggies.

Next time. Because I am on a mission to make better millet. :)


This is my submission to this month’s Simple and in Season, to this month’s Healing Foods featuring whole grains and to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends.

Millet Bowl with Spinach, Leek and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup millet, uncooked (feel free to substitute with quinoa or even brown rice)
3 cups water (update: use 2 cups water for more fluffy millet)
1 tbsp miso, thinned with water to make it spreadable
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 leek, white and light green parts thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 tbsp lime juice (half a lime) or lemon juice
bunch of spinach (4 packed cups or 300g) [or your favourite green]
pinch red pepper flakes

1. In a dry saute pan over medium heat, toast millet with 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and add the millet. Cook, uncovered, until the water has absorbed, about 20-30 minutes. Stir in miso and put lid on pot to steam for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and keep warm.

2. Toast the pumpkin seeds over medium heat in a dry skillet for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Be careful because they may pop out of the pan! Remove to cool.

3. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet and add leek. Cook for 2 minutes to soften, then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer. Add the lime juice, spinach, pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables have wilted and are a brilliant green.

4. To serve, place the vegetables over top the millet and sprinkle with toasted seeds.

Serves 4.

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18 Responses

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  1. Joanne said, on July 27, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    My solution to the millet clump problem is to stir it into soup! At least that’s what I did the one and only time I cooked it.

    I love your mix-ins to the miso though! Sounds like a party in a bowl.

  2. kitblu said, on July 27, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    Try mixing the miso with hot water until it is thinner and mixes into the millet better

    • Saveur said, on July 28, 2011 at 5:26 AM

      Great idea! I usually do that when I add miso to soup broths and the like, so it totally makes sense. I’ll try that next time. :)

  3. Ricki said, on July 28, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    Another winner! I’ve never been able to make fluffy millet, either, but I do enjoy it. Thanks so much for submitting the recipe to WW this week. :)

  4. foodblogandthedog said, on July 29, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    This sounds delicious, I’ve never tried millet either. I don’t know what it is in Spanish and it’s not in my dictionary! I’ll google it so I know what I’m looking for. Love the sound of theTurkish aubergine dish too, thanks!!

  5. Priya Yallapantula said, on August 1, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    That sure looks like a healthy and delicious bowl. I too would love to learn more about cooking it and fluffing it :)

  6. Simona said, on August 1, 2011 at 11:20 PM

    I am on a mission to find some millet: your bowl makes me want to taste it. You used all ingredients I like. Thank you so much for another nice contribution to Healing Foods!

  7. Caffettiera said, on August 2, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    I just started to play around with millet as well – total mushy disaster today, but I really like the flavour :) I’ll try your recipe for the next batch.

  8. sweet artichoke said, on August 3, 2011 at 4:26 AM

    I am a big fan of millet, but need more practice to make it fluffy!! It usually ends up in “milletto” (same idea than risotto, but with millet!!) or when it is really to clumpy, in veggies burgers!!

    I really like your millet bowl, very tasty and healthy, a whole meal in itself, and yum, toasted sunflower seeds are so good!

  9. eva @5fruitsNveggies said, on August 8, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    i just made this today for lunch….and it was delicious…i learned that i needed to cook the millet until it turns from yellow to opaque….i under-added the water and added boiled water a little at a time, but only had to do it once….i did not add the miso in the hot millet or the sauted veggies because of the same concern about the miso losing enzyme power at higher temps, so i gave everyone a dollop on the side to mix in to their salt-taste…i happened to have millet waiting there to be used–have not cooked with it, but today was the day…i also had a huge box of spinach from costco, and cooked the whole thing…i give this recipe a thumbs up!

    • Saveur said, on August 8, 2011 at 8:50 PM

      Awesome, Eva! Thanks for the feedback and the tip for millet – I love your solution for the miso, too. :)

  10. Fabulicious Food! (@RenBehan) said, on August 10, 2011 at 4:51 AM

    Thanks again The Taste Space team for entering Simple and in Season! A round up follows today.

  11. Ashley said, on August 26, 2011 at 10:14 AM

    I hope you figure out how to cook nice fluffy millet, so I can learn from you! I’ve only cooked it once on its own and found it really mushy. I love the simplicity of this meal. And toasted pumpkin seeds are the best!!

  12. [...] Peas inspiring a picnic at the bottom of the garden. Look at the beautiful decoration on this pie! The Taste Space team also came back with one more, this time a Millet Bowl with Spinach, Leek and Toasted Pumpkin [...]

  13. [...] first time I cooked millet, it became clumpy as leftovers. This time, I followed Ashley’s advice for fluffy millet perfection, and fluffy millet was [...]

  14. [...] like this sushi bowl with brown rice, topped with asparagus, avocado and toasted nori sheets. Or my millet bowl, topped with cooked spinach, leek and toasted pumpkin seeds. Or my more recent Dragon quinoa bowl, [...]

  15. [...] This week, Rob was uber busy at work so I decided to spice up his mornings with some new granola. Like me, Rob typically eats oatmeal for breakfast and it has been ages since he’s made granola. He used to be a granola fiend, but it was put on his back-burner after we moved in together.  Way back when, in his granola-making days, he bought millet for granola.  Instead, the millet made its way into savoury dinners. [...]

  16. [...] Millet Bowl with Spinach, Leek and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds [...]


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