Ever eaten out at a salad bar, that had like the most amazing salads and you thought to yourself I could never recreate this at home! I mean the details, the flavors, perfect and crispy. It looks complicated and the ingredients look out of reach! Well that is why my planted kitchen is here yáll! I think I am becoming very good at recreating! My goal to make those favorites simple, healthier and with accessible ingredients!
I had an amazing salad at Art Caffe the other day. I think it was called the Mediterranean Quinoa salad. It was amazing. That was my inspiration for my pixie kale finger millet salad. What, Finger Millet! Guys remember the accessible ingredients part? I love quinoa and it such a healthy gluten free grain full of proteins and polyphenols (these are very good for you and help you fight diseases!). However quinoa is quite expensive here and one kilo will cost you upwards of KES 1,100 or (USD 11). I think not every average Kenyan family will be able to afford quinoa everyday at that price, but I had a pretty clever replacement.
Finger millet! I cannot even say I have used before! I saw it on the whole foods section of my supermarket and bought it and thought I would try it for breakfast porridge or something. The thing that really struck me about finger millet is how similar it looked to quinoa. They would be like cousins or even sisters. Small grains that are almost golden in color. I did some digging and yes finger millet can be used as a replacement for quinoa. The best news about it, its a fraction of a price compared to quinoa! They cost about KES 400 per kilo (USD 4). That is not bad at all. I also always like the idea of supporting our local farmers because millet is grown very widely and organically here in Kenya.
Nutrition wise, finger millet and quinoa are very similar. Both have polyphenols (the very good stuff), gluten free and both are high in fiber and magnesium. These properties in both are great in regulating blood sugar which is great for weight loss. However they differ in that quinoa has a complete amino acid profile meaning it is a complete protein and finger millet is not. Finger millet on the other hand is ridiculously high in calcium, great for our bones and teeth.
I had my base, finger millet, now all I had to do was to build the salad. I decided to use what was in my pantry. I had the most amazingly sweet pixie oranges that I had bought at the farmers market. My kids love them! I figured they had to feature in this salad. I also had fresh kale (sukuma wiki). I had never tried kale in my salads so today was the day! I decided to add feta cheese in as well because who does not like cheese? Avocado must have a place in this salad in it goes! Raw cashews will add a great crunch and sweetness. Done! My creation was brought to life and it was colorful, delicious, healthy and amazing!
Pixie Kale Finger Millet Salad
- For the dressing:
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh pixie orange juice
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- For the salad:
- 1 bunch kale (sukuma wiki)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 cups cooked finger millet
- 3 pixie oranges, peeled and chopped
- 1 large avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
- 1 - 2 tsp dried mint (or 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves)
- 1/4 cup raw or roasted unsalted cashews
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Step 1 Begin by cooking the finger millet. In a large, dry saucepan, toast 1 cup of raw finger millet over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until it turns a rich golden brown and the grains become fragrant. Be careful not to let them burn. Add 2 cups of water in the pan. Since the pan is hot, the water will sputter a bit when you pour it in. After adding water and salt, give the millet a good stir.Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil.Decrease the heat to low, and cover the pot. Simmer until the grains absorb most of the water (they’ll continue soaking it up as they sit), about 15 minutes.Allow it to sit, covered and removed from heat, for 10 minutes.After millet sits, fluff it with a fork. Taste and add additional salt if you’d like
- Step 2 For the salad dressing, in a small bowl whisk together olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper. Set aside
- Step 3 In a large bowl, combine the kale, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Massage the kale with your hands (basically squeezing the kale and running it through your fingers)until the kale softens and turns darker in color, about 2 minutes.
- Step 4 Add the cooked finger millet, oranges, avocado, mint, raw cashews and feta cheese. Gently toss. Drizzle citrus dressing over the salad and toss again. Serve and enjoy! Salad is best the day it is made.