SALAD WITH MILLET AND ROASTED VEGETABLES
By Nicoletta Tavella (www.nicolettatavella.com)
This salad is a feast and a complete meal: filling, super-tasty and rich in colour, flavours and fibres. I use organic pumpkins that you can find almost everywhere these days, the Japanese Hokkaido ones which you do not need to peel because their skin is very thin and cooks really quickly. Moreover, leaving the skin on the pumpkin gives a more intense colour and a richer texture to this dish.
I prefer to eat almonds (and other nuts in general) raw, both because I like their pure original taste and also because this way all their healthful properties remain intact. It is therefore superfluous to roast them in advance. Serves 4-6
120 gr. (1/2 cup) of cooked millet p.p.
2 handfuls of rucola (arugula) p.p.
1 small organic Hokkaido pumpkin
240 gr. (about 1 cup) steamed or blanched string beans
80 gr. (1/3 cup) soft goat cheese at room temperature p.p.
2 big zucchini
1 bunch of cherry vine tomatoes p.p.
4-6 tablespoons of raw slivered almonds
organic extra virgin olive oil
Celtic or Himalaya salt
optional: juice of 1 lemon
optional: ½ grilled organic chicken fillet p.p.
VARIATION: you can substitute the millet with brown rice or quinoa.
TIP: The green beans can be steamed or blanched. To blanch them, cook them al dente in salted boiling water, drain and then dip in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (392 F).
Wash the cherry tomatoes on the twigs and gently pat them dry so that they stay attached to the twigs. Grease them lightly with a bit of olive oil using a kitchen brush and lay them on an oven dish covered with baking parchment.
Place in the oven for 13 to 15 minutes, or until they are shriveled and well roasted.
Season them with salt and pepper and set aside.
Cut the pumpkin in pretty slanted slices after removing the seeds.
Remove the ends of the zucchini, cut them in halves lengthwise and cut them again in big, diagonal chunks.
Lay the pumpkin and zucchini slices/chunks in an oven dish covered with baking parchment, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast them in the hot oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until tender and yet still firm.
Prepare the salad in deep, one-person plates so the presentation looks nicer than in a large salad bowl: lay a few handfuls of washed arugula on each plate and add the cooked millet, some pieces of roasted pumpkin and zucchini, the crumbled goat cheese, the steamed/blanched green beans and 1 sprig of cherry vine tomatoes per person.
Make a simple dressing with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper (add a little lemon juice if desired) and sprinkle over the salad.
Garnish with the slivered almonds and serve without stirring (let anyone do that in their own plates so that the ‘composition’ remains nice and appealing).
TIP: you can enrich this salad further adding slices of grilled organic chicken.