Howdy Instructables! I made a version of this recipe for a friend's dinner party recently; he suggested that the salad would be perfect for this contest, so here we go. I originally made this Happy Herbaceous G.F. Grain Salad with quinoa because it has great protein, fluffy texture (when cooked properly, more on that in a moment), and serves as a great vehicle for complex flavors. My intention was to do the same for this post however, my inattentiveness led to a happy accident. I had grabbed, soaked, rinsed, and drained my quinoa before I realized it was not quinoa at all, but millet. Good news: equally delicious, and pretty darn healthy in its own right (check out this site to read all about it) so I continued on as planned. A quick note if you decide to do millet instead of quinoa, my inadvertent soak and rinse didn't hurt anything, but usually when cooking millet, I would just toast the dry grain before adding liquid, rather than soak, rinse, and boil.
Step 1: The Ingredients
1 C quinoa or millet
2 bay leaves
kosher or sea salt
1 large carrot
zest and juice of 1 to 1 1/2 lemons
1 1/2 C tightly packed herbs, chopped ( I used flat leaf parsley, cilantro, and mint. Basil or oregano would be really nice too.)
3 TBS - 1/4 C golden raisins
1/2- 3/4 C crumbled feta
1/2 C kalamata olives
*banana peppers (I couldn't find any at the store, but I think they would be fantastic)
Step 2: The Directions
Cooking quinoa and millet- When making a cold seed/grain salad, the last thing you want is an overcooked, clumpy, mush of a base. When cooked, the individual grains should, ideally, be distinguishable from one another. For quinoa soak 10 minutes, rinse, drain, place in pot with 1 1/4 cup water to 1 cup quinoa and two bay leaves. Bring to a boil, cover and turn heat to low. Cook undisturbed for 15 minutes, check to see that all excess water has cooked away and that grains are dry when fluffed with fork. Cooking millet is nearly identical except I start with dry grains in a hot, dry pan, toast for five minutes, and then add water (same ration as above). Follow cooking instructions for quinoa. When cooked, spread in tray or platter to cool.
Quarter lengthwise, and then slice carrot and cucumber. Zest and juice lemon(s). Roughly chop herbs. Pit and chop olives. Cube feta. Combine all ingredients in large bowl and fold to incorporate. Taste for seasoning. I know everyone hates to be told that, but I can't possibly know how salty your olives or feta are, so you are just gonna have to taste as you go! Top with chopped pistachios.
*If it will be some time before you serve, consider adding the herbs just before eating. The acid of the lemon juice and the bruising of being chopped can cause the herbs to change color.