White Bean & Pesto Millet Risotto

White Bean & Pesto Millet Risotto 

Time for a cozy meal! I’ll try not to bore you by going on for too long about how sick I am of this weather. I should be grateful for the temperature staying above 0 degrees C for almost the whole winter. It’s just this rain I’m just a teensy bit bored of. Anyhow, it’s a good reason to cook a lovely warming dinner.

Yes, I’ve said I don’t like risotto in the past  but this isn’t your traditional risotto. I used millet in place of the traditional rice for a change as I’m always looking for new ingredients to try. While millet is still a staple for a large part of the world- especially in Africa and Eastern Europe- this traditional grain has been relegated pretty much exclusively to birdfeed elsewhere.  But, it’s making a comeback and I’m here to encourage you to give it a try! It’s a nutritious, gluten-free grain, high in protein and easily digestible so great for those of us who need a little help in that department. 

It’s also very tasty and has a delicious mild, slightly sweet and nutty flavour. I’m looking forward to adding it to my repertoire. 

White Bean & Pesto Millet Risotto

This risotto is rich and comforting without a drop of butter or cream in sight. The millet itself imparts some creaminess when cooked, stirring frequently, like a traditional risotto, and the addition of white beans add to this as they soften up and mingle with the grains while cooking. 

To perk up this dish (and us on these grey days!) I stirred in plenty of lemon and topped each bowlful with a swirl of pesto, the ultimate flavour-booster.

White Bean & Pesto Millet Risotto

White Bean & Pesto Millet Risotto
Serves 4
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Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1T Olive oil
  2. 1/2 Large Onion
  3. 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  4. 1C Millet
  5. 4-5C Vegetable broth
  6. 1C Cooked White beans
  7. Zest of 1 lemon
  8. 2T Lemon juice
  9. Salt & Pepper, to taste
  10. 3-4T Pine nuts, toasted
  11. 3-4T Basil pesto (homemade or jarred- I made a hempseed pesto inspired by : this recipe
Instructions
  1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, and then the millet and toast, stirring for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat the vegetable broth over low heat.
  4. Add 1/2C vegetable broth to the frying pan, allow to simmer, stirring frequently until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Add the white beans, smashing about half with the back of your spoon. . Continue adding the vegetable broth by the 1/2C until you have used about 4C of liquid. This will likely take at least 25 minutes.
  5. Check the millet for done-ness and if it needs any more cooking continue to add the remaining broth.
  6. Otherwise, add the lemon zest and juice and salt and pepper to taste. Warm through.
  7. Divide the risotto between bowls/plates and top with a swirl of pesto, toasted pine nuts and extra lemon zest (optional)
Coconut and Berries http://www.coconutandberries.com/

White Bean & Pesto Millet Risotto  

Have you used millet? Any recipes to share with us? 

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Comments

    • Coconut and Berries says

      Thanks Janet. I can imagine a cauli-millet mash working really well. Millet does have a great creaminess doesn’t it?

    • Coconut and Berries says

      haha, you haven’t had any food in so long! Millet will be a good one for you easing back to solids as it’s so easy for the body to digest :)

  1. says

    I think I may have had millet once before, I’m not sure though. This recipe looks perfect for a cold day. I wish we were having rain, but it’s just, snow, snow, snow! That pesto looks amazing too, love pesto on everything!

    • Coconut and Berries says

      The sun is finally shining today so no more complaining from me :)
      Glad you like the look of this dish- I’d only used millet as flour before but it’s great as the whole grain too.

    • Coconut and Berries says

      I don’t know what it is about rice risotto? It just feels so heavy. Millet tastes lighter to me, and especially with the zippy lemon in this dish it’s nice and bright.

    • Coconut and Berries says

      Thanks Kari. I’d only used millet as a flour prior to this but am happy to have a new grain in my rotation :)

  2. says

    I was so happy when I saw the title of this recipe because I’ve been struggling to find creative ways to eat millet. I’ve got a bag of it in my kitchen and never know what to do with it. I find it has a slight bitter aftertaste when it’s cooked plain.

    • Coconut and Berries says

      I don’t think I’ve tried cooking it plain but I do like it in baking- it seems to work quite well as a neutral base.
      Hope I’ve given you a little inspiration with the risotto :)

    • Coconut and Berries says

      I’ve just popped over to yours to search for millet recipes. I’m definitely making that African curried coconut soup!

    • Coconut and Berries says

      Thanks Annie. A millet porridge sounds like a good idea to me. I think I’ll add that to the menu this week :)

  3. Nicola says

    I might just make this in the week. It looks so comforting and filling. I’m not a risotto fan either but i have tried with barley and it worked out well. Can’t wait to try it with millet! Thanks Emma :)

    • Coconut and Berries says

      Super! Hope you enjoy it Nicola. I’ve made a barley risotto before and really enjoyed the texture. Unfortunately barley’s out for me right now because of the gluten, but at least millet’s in!

  4. says

    this looks fabulous! i love that you used millet instead of rice, i was actually thinking about trying something similar. and pesto swirl just takes everything to the next level. yum!

  5. says

    hmmm I think my blog roll has been ignoring your blog as I just got you popping up in the feed and haven’t seen any posts by you for a while (my blog roll does this occasionally)

    I have quite enjoyed millet when I have had it but have also found it gets really mushy too easily – probably good for risotto – I did have it in a nut roast once and enjoyed it that way

    • Coconut and Berries says

      Hmmm that is strange. You likely missed 2 posts while my subscribers were being transferred over but shouldn’t have been any more than that.
      I agree about the millet which is why I liked it in this risotto or for porridge.

  6. says

    Interesting recipe! I think here in the low lands there is a sweet breakfast porridge using milling “gierstemeelpap” Although I’m not 100% sure it’s millet, but anyway it’s blended into a flour, before cooking it with milk into a porridge. My mom was a big fan of this recipe in the olden days. You don’t encounter it much anymore though.

    • Coconut and Berries says

      I just saw this post a couple of days ago which sounds exactly like the breakfast you’ve described. Sounds yummy to me, especially with tasty toppings.

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