Meals have become pretty predictable around here lately. If I’m cooking, we’re eating some sort of grain, tossed with some sort of roasted vegetable and some sort of sauce or topping to tie it all together in a big bowl. If he’s in the kitchen, you can be sure there will be pasta or potatoes, with lots of gruyere, cream and lardons (its France and I’m not complaining). Both equally delicious but luckily for both our waistlines that I spend more time over the stove than he does!
It seems like everywhere I look lately someone has done something with some sort of squash. I guess because the season only comes around once a year, and there is something so comforting about the versatile vegetable that everyone wants to create as many ways to stuff it or bake it as possible. I’ve been using squash way more in a savory way lately, and I just can’t get enough. Roasting it up with different herbs and spices is by far my favorite, as it gets all brown and caramelized around the edges. So this is tonight’s special – the grain will be millet, the vegetable will be squash and the sauce to bring it all together will a garlicky spinach pesto – and its some sort of delicious! Warm, satisfying and delicious with a piece of gruyere or a lardon in sight!
ROASTED SQUASH & MILLET SALAD WITH SPINACH PESTO
I love making pestos because they are so easy to whip together with whatever ingredients you have at home. Feel free to use whatever greens you have one hand; chard, kale, fresh herbs or any combination would work great. Same goes for the almonds – pine nuts, walnuts or pistachios could be used instead! Serves 2.
3 cups diced squash (I used a musquee de provence, but use whatever is around you – butternut, acorn, etc.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup millet
1 1/3 cup water*
1 cup chopped spinach
2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds
Salt and Pepper
1 1/2 cups spinach (packed)
Handful raw almonds (about 10)
Zest and juice of half a lemon
1 large or 2 small garlic gloves
4 tablespoons olive oil (approx.)
Preheat the oven to 350 F / 175 C
Toss the diced squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread out evenly on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven until soft and golden brown around the edges – about 30 minutes.
While the squash is baking – get started on the millet. Add millet to a saucepan over medium heat and toast stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn, about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes the millet should start to smell nutty and make a bit of a popping sound, remove from heat. Add the water (it will spatter a bit) and replace over heat. Bring to a gentle boil and cover and let cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, keep the lid on and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Make the pesto – add all the ingredients except the olive oil into a blender or a small food processor. Pulse while slowly adding the oil until you get a thick paste. That’s it!
Take a spoonful of pesto and stir it into the hot millet.
Place the millet on a plate, then top it with the chopped spinach and squash and sprinkle toasted sunflower seeds over top.
Thin out the rest of the pesto with a bit more olive oil, and drizzle desired amount over the salad
* Most bags of millet will instruct to cook the millet in twice the amount of water – but I find this results in a bit of a mush, so add a little less than double.
Let me in on your kitchen creations – tag your photos #happyheartedkitchen and share the love!