Rainbow Millet Salad {gluten free & vegan}

By Alexandra Caspero on April 14, 2014

rainbow millet salad

Sometimes the jokes on you.

As someone who proudly declares herself a lover of all foods (er, plant foods), I am caught off guard when I try something new… and dislike it.

Millet. The newest grain to make it’s way into the hip whole-foodie scene, I gave it a fair shake a few years back when every other blogger was also trying it.
While most of my friends where singing it’s praises, I could barely get it down.

Besides the fact that it had very little flavor, I couldn’t get the idea that I was eating bird seed out of my head.
But, like all good wanna-be foodies do, I tried again.
A few cooking tweaks later and I have officially found a new grain I am over the moon about. Not only is millet gluten free, it’s also a good source of protein (6g), low in fat and full of hard-to-get nutrients like copper and manganese.

The secret to yummy millet is two parts. First, toast millet in a dry skillet until it smells like popcorn! Then cook it in vegetable broth instead of water for maximum flavor. I also added black beans for extra fiber and protein.
Doesn’t my bowl look like a beautiful rainbow? Not only is this a fun way to eat vegetables, it also makes for a colorful and hearty meal. I like to prep all the ingredients separately and combine as I go. That way I can eat this for dinner followed by lunch.

Ready to be impressed by the nutrition stats? Each bowl contains 20g of protein, 14g of fiber and 40% of your daily iron needs.

Who says you can’t be powered by plants?

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

rainbow millet salad

Rainbow Millet Salad



  • 1/2 cup millet
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Grilled Portabella Mushrooms: (makes 2)

  • 2 large portabella mushrooms, wiped clean. Leaving the gills is up to you!
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce

Smoky Tahini Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup tahini paste (look for it in the peanut butter aisle)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • salt/pepper to taste


Prepare the millet:

  1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the millet and stir often until lightly golden and starts to smell toasty!
  3. Add the water and minced garlic clove, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork for a few minutes until grains are separated.
  6. Remove millet from pan and mix with rinsed and cooled black beans.
  7. Season to taste with salt/pepper.

For the Grilled Portabellas:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together and spoon over the mushrooms. Let marinade for at least 30 minutes, flipping mushrooms to soak up as much marinade as possible.
  2. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  3. Grill for 4-5 minutes each side until juicy and slightly crispy.
  4. Remove and slice into thin strips.

Smoky Tahini Sauce:

  1. Add all ingredients to a small blender or food processor.
  2. Blend until creamy.
  3. Season to taste with salt/pepper.

To prepare the bowl:

  1. Layer in black beans & millet, shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, halved tomatoes, grilled portabella strips. Drizzle with smoky tahini sauce.

did you make this?

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

(16 comments) leave a comment

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    1. Kris
      January 31, 2018 AT 1:15 pm

      This looks really good. How many servings are in this recipe?

      1. Alex
        January 31, 2018 AT 1:56 pm

        Hi Kris, this serves 4.

    2. Noelle
      December 1, 2014 AT 4:33 pm

      Just made this tonight, it was fantastic! Love the smoked paprika in the tahini sauce, shear genius. I ended up having to boil the millet somewhere between 30-40 mins and took the lid off the last 10 just to get the water to cook out. It actually worked out as I was able to get everything else chopped, etc so timing worked perfectly. Aside from the longer cooking time it turned out beautifully. This was our first time cooking millet, and so glad we picked this recipe to try first! Thank you so much for sharing this one.

      1. DK
        December 1, 2014 AT 4:38 pm

        Thanks Noelle! Glad you liked it! That dressing is addictive… I put it on everything 🙂

    3. jillconyers
      April 16, 2014 AT 6:43 am

      This looks amazing! Pinning for next week’s menu planning.

      1. DK
        April 16, 2014 AT 7:20 am

        Awesome! I hope you like it! it was the perfect hearty/clean eating meal for me 🙂

    4. Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog
      April 15, 2014 AT 11:42 am

      I tried millet recently because I was looking for something in place of quinoa (which sometimes upsets my stomach). The first time I made it, it was delicious. The second time it came out crunchy and bird-seed like. I’ll have to try your tips and see what happens!

    5. Kaitlin @ The Garden Grazer
      April 15, 2014 AT 10:36 am

      Oh I love, love the sound of this!!! Eating veggie rainbows is the BEST! 😀

      1. DK
        April 15, 2014 AT 11:35 am

        Thanks Kaitlin!

    6. Dietitian Debbie
      April 14, 2014 AT 5:43 pm

      Oh my goodness – this salad is gorgeous! I can’t wait to try it!

      1. DK
        April 15, 2014 AT 11:36 am

        Thanks Debbie! Hope you enjoy! 🙂

    7. Laura P
      April 14, 2014 AT 11:32 am

      That salad looks like a total winner. I will be trying it this week or at least a version of it. I’ve not tried millet before either.

      1. DK
        April 15, 2014 AT 11:36 am

        Let me know what you think! For me, toasting and cooking in vegetable broth was KEY! I didn’t like it when I prepared it like rice 🙂