Gluten-Free Is Me: Millet Salad with Roasted Fennel and Tomatoes

I found the healthy state of affairs in my childhood pantry to be deeply unfair.

My mom was a whole foods nut long before a chain grocery store arose for people just like her. She did her shopping at the local health food store. In Westchester, these venues were usually housed in the most unwanted, tucked-away quadrants of a strip mall. I remember constantly scouring the bulk bins for anything resembling candy, and coming away with carob-covered raisins. Those were a bummer.

Now, I look back and see my mom as ahead of her time. Who was making quinoa back in 1990? But back then, the soy faux Oreos, all-natural fruit snacks, and Rice Dream ice cream were not things that any kid wanted to eat. They did not look like the snacks of my cartoon commercial dreams. And they didn’t taste like them either.

Millet, in particular, was a cross I did not want to bear – especially on playdates. I shudder just thinking about it. But it was a go-to side dish for my mother, who’s been gluten and dairy (and at times acid and sugar) free for as long as I can remember.

Eventually, in my adult life, I came around to quinoa. Once I became gluten-free, I became downright addicted to quinoa. But I maintained my bias towards millet. The thought of it brought me back to that crunchy granola childhood place of profound uncool. Kevin Arnold never ate millet. He ate lasagna like a normal suburban American adolescent.

A few weeks ago, The Kitchn newsletter landed in my inbox with this delicious-looking recipe. I thought it was couscous at first. Guess again.

Since I’ve been experimenting with a lot of different gluten-free grains and flours, eventually, it just seemed wrong not to invite millet to the party. My first trial, inspired by Faith’s recipe, was a Mediterranean-style millet with olives, tomatoes from the antipasti bar, and roasted fennel. Like I do with couscous, I added plenty of lemon juice and all the briny, herby oil and juices from the olives and tomatoes. The result was not as delicious as couscous. But it wasn’t terrible either. In fact, I may have inhaled a very large bowl of it before packing up the salad for a high school potluck. I liked it so much, I didn’t even lie to my friends and tell them it was couscous.

If you’re a recovering millet-phobe like I am, or are newly gluten-free and looking for new sides to add to the mix, I encourage you to dive in with this recipe. What did Kevin Arnold know anyway? That Winnie was a biatch.

Eat up!



Millet Salad with Roasted Fennel and Tomatoes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Millet Salad with Roasted Fennel and Tomatoes

The poor man's gluten-free couscous. Inspired by this recipe from The Kitchn. If you can't find Divina roasted tomatoes from your local antipasti bar, feel free to use sundried tomatoes stored in oil.


  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into wedges
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1 cup raw millet
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup roasted tomatoes with their juices
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. On a parchment lined baking sheet, toss the fennel with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Arrange in an even layer. Roast in the middle of the oven until golden brown and caramelized, about 40 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium lidded saucepan or Dutch oven, toast the raw millet over medium heat until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water - stand back, it will sputter. Bring to a boil. Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil, place the lid on, and cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Then remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
  4. Add the lemon juice, fennel, tomatoes, olives, and half the parsley to the pot. Stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as necessary. If your olives and tomatoes didn't very much oil with them, add another glug or two of olive oil.
  5. Transfer to a platter and garnish with the remaining parsley.

instagram  If you make this, share a photo and tag me @PhoebeLapine #feedmephoebe - I would love to see it!

Food Network comfort food feast is segueing into sensational seasonal side dishes for spring! I’m particularly excited about this week’s theme: Grains. See more great recipes from my blog buddies below.

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Chinese Shrimp Fried Rice
Devour: Farro Salad With Greek Yogurt
Dishin & Dishes: Kale, Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
The Cultural Dish: Lemon Risotto
The Sensitive Epicure: Stir-Fried Quinoa With Chinese Vegetables
Virtually Homemade: Spring Couscous Salad With a Citrus Vinaigrette
Made By Michelle: Really Good Granola
Cooking With Elise: Mediterranean Orzo Salad
Weelicious: Mushroom Barley
Thursday Night Dinner: Quinoa Salad With Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Mint
FN Dish: Good Grains Make for Balanced Meals


Comment9 Share This!

9 Responses to Gluten-Free Is Me: Millet Salad with Roasted Fennel and Tomatoes

  1. Pingback: Chinese Shrimp Fried Rice Recipe - Jeanette's Healthy Living

  2. I’m so excited that you shared this millet recipe! I actually love millet, but it can be a bit stubborn and dry to work with. My favorite way to eat it is as a warm porridge in the morning. I can’t wait to try this salad!

  3. I’ve actually never tried millet! It does look just like couscous! I’m trying to be GF as much as possible these days, so I’ll have to give it a go. Thanks so much for sharing – it looks lovely!

    • Don’t be fooled, Marie. It is SO not couscous. But a nearly worthy replacement. Maybe it’s just that I know couscous is really a tiny form of pasta that makes me miss it so! Definitely give the millet a try! Would be a lovely bed for a tagine.

  4. Frankie says:

    It’s true that you really have to frontload millet with other flavors – it’s not sweet like couscous – in fact it doesn’t behave like a carbohydrate at all. I like to add a cup of tiny French lentils to every cup of millet, and then mushrooms and herbes de provence or fresh thyme. Then there’s the sweet route, treating it like couscous by adding golden raisins and almonds and spices. But on its own, millet’s pretty blah.

  5. Pingback: warm coconut millet porridge recipe | Pamela Salzman & Recipes

  6. Pingback: Udi’s® Gluten Free Bread

  7. Pingback: Kale, Quinoa, Black Bean Salad | Dishin & Dishes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *