This is my even more delicious gluten-free version of the classic Middle Eastern salad which is normally based on bulgar wheat. This is a lovely accompaniment to grilled or roast meat or fish, or a chickpea or bean salad. You can make it in advance so its really handy for a barbecue or buffet too. 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 if you can be bothered)
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, talking care not to mash the millet. If you have time, let it stand for at least half an hour to let the flavours amalgamate.
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. 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.