Millet & Pumpkin Winter Salad

We had written a long and admonishing post about exercise here. About how we can’t fool ourselves that we live healthy just because we eat well. We had written about how eating, exercising (and sleeping) all is nested together if you want to live longer, have a stronger immune system and more energy. How our recipes just is one part of the game. But then we erased it. It didn’t feel right to be all preachy.

Instead we wanted to simply hear if you do any sports and exercise (and what kind)? And, if you are a vegetarian or a vegan, do you feel that your eating habits affect your training?

Both Luise and I do anything from running, yoga, tennis and other sports, to functional training. The amount of training has, quite honestly, varied throughout the years. We didn’t exercise much when Elsa was newly born, but now our training has become a lot more frequent. And it really makes a difference. It’s not always easy to go out running or go to the gym, but it always always always feels great coming back. Especially if you have a nourishing salad waiting for you.

We have used millet in this salad. And although we use it in our home cooking often, we haven’t posted many millet recipes on the blog. It is a gluten free, easy digestible seed, high in minerals like manganese, magnesium and calcium. It is also high in iron and B-vitamins. When cooked it has a grain-like texture; very soft and creamy and similar to couscous. Here we have mixed it with a chunky herb dressing to increase the flavor. We also added roasted pumpkin to make the salad more nourishing, avocado for creaminess, grapes to make it sweeter and hazelnuts to give it some crunch. It has quickly become one of our favorite salads. We have made it several times in a few different versions. You can for example substitute the pumpkin for sweet potato or beetroot, and the pomegranate for cranberries.

Winter Millet Salad
Serves 4

1 cup (240 ml) raw millet (any color will work)
1 butternut squash
100 g raw hazelnuts
2 avocados, diced
1 small romanesco broccoli, broke into bite-size florets
2 handfuls purple grapes, cut in half
2 handfuls green leaves, we used beetroot leaves
1 pomegranate, seeds

Chunky Herb Dressing
1 handful basil, finely chopped
1 handful parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
1/2 lemon, juice
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper 

Prepare the butternut by trimming off the top and bottom and cutting it in half crosswise and lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and remove the tough peel with a sharp knife or a peeler. Cut into 1 x 1-inch (2 x 2 cm) dices. Place on an oven tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sea salt. Bake on 400 F° (200°C) for 20-30 minutes or until soft and slightly brown on the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

The last 10 minutes of baking time, place the hazelnut on a separate baking tray, sprinkle with salt and toast until skin cracks and browned. Remove and let cool slightly, rub between a rough cloth or kitchen towel to remove the skin. Chop coarsely.

Rinse the millet in a sieve with boiling water, then place in a small saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and let gently simmer for 10-15 minutes or until soft and the water is gone.

Prepare the avocados, romanesco, grapes, green leaves and pomegranate and Herb Dressing. Place the cooked millet in a large bowl, add the herb dressing and mix with your hands to make sure all millet is coated with dressing. Add all ingredients to the millet mixture and gently fold to combine. Serve!


  • Love your food photography. Want to try this millet with pumpkin. Thanks.
  • Dorota
    Hi there, I have stumbled upon your wonderful blog only last week and have been glued to the screen every day since. I feel slightly upset that my Google bubble has somehow prevented my searches to return your blog in results! I have been cooking a lot more and gradually transitioning to healthier food and more of a vegetarian diet, although I am not a purist at all (which is probably why I like the tone of your blog and your approach!). I have already tried three or four recipes in the last few days (including carrot oatmeal which I fell I could eat at any time of the day!) but the winter salad, which we had for dinner today was just AMAZING! I cannot tell you how happy I am to be able to use your recipes, so thank you for experimenting and sharing. I have been passing it to friends and family across the globe, so your fan group is growing!
  • Charlotte
    Follow up to my question... I made the salad for Christmas dinner and it was a huge success!! It made a ton and I will have the last of it today for lunch - it has held up very nicely so now I know it would be perfectly fine to make a day ahead. The whole family loved it - vegan, vegetarian and carnivores alike! It is beautiful - very Holiday!, with a lot of interesting textures and flavors. It was complicated to make but worth it. I was quite proud of it and will definitely make it again!! Only changes I made... used Sweet Potato instead of Butternut squash. Used a multi-colored quinoa and regular broccoli because I could not find millet or romanesco broccoli in the store up the street (day before Christmas so had to go with what I could). It was my first time cooking quinoa (easy!), roasting hazelnuts (should have bought shelled one... whew!) and first time opening up a pomegranate (I made a mess, but fell in love with those seeds!!) Thank you for the excellent recipe. Your site is amazing! I've bookmarked it to come back again soon!
    • Hi Charlotte, thank you for your comment. We're very glad you liked it. If you google how to seed a pomegranate you can find a bunch if tips on how to make it less messy ;) /David
  • Charlotte
    This is a beautiful salad! Bought everything needed... Can I make any of this one day ahead? Will it hold up? Thanks!!
  • Marieke
    I made this salad as a side dish yesterday, and I LOVED it. I put it with my favorite recipes. I love your website, beautiful pictures, nice stories etc.
  • Malou
    Beautiful, original and very tasty salad ! I didn't know that baked Butternut squash with Olive Oil is tasting so good.The children enjoyed the salad too.
  • It looks so good! I’ll try it for sure. And the main pic is beautiful :-)
  • Great Blog ;-) I love vegetarian salad.
  • Just stumbled across your website, am so excited to explore it! This salad looks amazing. I've already shared the website with my daughter. She's been a vegetarian for 5 years, I've been a vegetarian for 20. We do eat some cheese, some free range eggs, but make an effort to limit the eggs and dairy in our diet. I can't say enough about how important it is to eat right. I'm still 114 lbs, the same size I've been all my life (46 now) I credit diet and exercise. I make point of getting some exercise every day, usually on my work commute. Stubbornly refusing to drive the 5 km to work 5 days a week, so I either run it or walk it. Then usually do a 10 km run on any days off. It balances my love of food and is so good for me physically, and mentally. Thanks for the awesome website. I'm always trying to raise the bar in terms of health, and websites like this make it easier and inspiring!
  • Georgia
    It's wonderful to see people enjoying the diversity and yumminess of salads! I've never tried eating millet (I've only fed it to my budgie) but it sounds scrumptious :) Thankyou for all your wonderful inspiring posts and recipes. I live in australia and I'm 13, and i'm in a phase of running and bike riding all over the place, I also love yoga and gymnastics... and soccer :)
  • Sarah
    Wow, thanks for an amazing new recipe! I am an Australian living in Germany, a keen cook but without any cookbooks here. Your blog is one of a few I have found on my search for tasty, easy, healthy recipes, and I have found it very inspiring so far! I had just bought some millet to try, and ended up even getting a pomegranate for this salad - I'm so glad I did. Colourful, great flavour combinations and nice with the millet/pumpkin warmed a little. Thanks for helping me battle the winter blues!
  • Cath
    I've just served this salad up. My husband says it's the nicest salad he's ever eaten. Thanks guys, good work.
  • Bell
    oh my gosh! so good!!! i do feel however that the dressing was missing something.... yet its probably because i didn't have fresh basil so i used dried... anyway i'm in love with your site!!!!
  • Tomorrow is the big day when I'm buying all of the ingredients for this salad AND making it. Can't wait!
  • Dear Green Kitchen I'm absolutely delighted to find your site. Within two weeks of reading through your recipes I tried the Green Sushi Salad, the Moroccan Quinoa salad and tomorrow I'll be making this Millet salad. Oh I also made your Aubergine and Brussel Sprout Curry. I have never wolfed down so many brussel sprouts in my life! All of the above are now considered favourite recipes in my home. We are all fond of a workout in this house although with my first baby hanging out of me I'm finding it hard to find the time but I'm slowly getting back into it. I think working out should be like eating i.e. an exploratory adventure! I think it's essential to try different disciplines and find the ones that suit you. But also remember that you might out-grow them and remember that your body will change and will have different needs. Exploring means it becomes a fun part of your life and not a chore. And when you have a number of different activities they can all serve different purposes like meeting other people, letting off steam, helping heal parts of your body, relaxing etc. There are foods/recipes I will always love but all the more so because of the numerous others I have sought out and tasted. If I had to eat the same thing everyday I'd go mental and I think it's the same with exercise. You have to give yourself a chance to love it, but you have to try lots to find out what you like and what you don't like, what suits or doesn't suit. This, of course, is all from a position of privilege. Where food is not hard to come by and where my daily life is not a physical struggle to survive, which is not the case for so many. Food can be so exciting but I try to remember, it is a luxury for which I am most grateful.
  • I made this salad last night (subbing walnuts for the hazelnuts, swiss chard for the beet greens, regular broccoli for the romanesco, and omitting the grapes). As others have pointed out, it's a lot of work to prep all of the veggies, but it is worth it. It's a beautiful, healthful, great-tasting salad and a nice way to eat well before our big Thanksgiving dinner this week. I cycle (indoors and out) quite a bit, use an elliptical at the gym, do pilates and yoga each once a week, swim in the summer, and cross-country (Nordic) ski and snowshoe in the winter (if we have snow, unlike last winter when I didn't get out at all). I'm very active and it's important to me to stay active and fit. I also love sleep. I am an early riser so I also go to bed between 9 and 9:30 at night. My night-loving friends think I'm odd, but there's nothing better than an early morning cup of tea in a quiet house, watching the sun rise, and listening to the birds waking up.
    • Nathalie
      Good morning Luna! I totally understand about being an early riser and a love of morning. I'm also a bit embarrassed when ppl hear I usually go to bed at 9:00 or 9:30. I'm usually up at 4:30 during the week, so early bedtime is essential. Someone asked me this week if I ver got bored running, and I said never in the morning. Even if its the same route I've taken thousands of times ( same workplace for many years) there's a magic to a new day. The sunrise, the snowflakes sparkling under the street lights, the silhouette of the trees against a blue black sky, or even the promise of a new day, full of possibility. Just want to encourage you that you're not odd in a bad way ;-)
  • This was my first time trying millet and it was delicious! I loved how there were so many flavors going on yet it all went together perfectly! I shared this recipe on my latest meal plan. Thank you!
  • Petra
    Thank you for another wonderful recipe :-) My favourite meal with millet is millet porridge with cottage cheese, raisins, cinnamon and drizzle of honey :-)
  • I love produce-rich salads like this that make a filling one-dish meal! I figure skate 4-6 times a week. It's great exercise and also holds a lot of other satisfactions: skating to my program music, learning new elements, and the social aspect of being at the rink with skating friends and coaches. Sleep-- now there's an area where I could improve. Sometimes the most obvious things can use a reminder! What I eat: I was vegetarian for about 20 years and raised my kids that way, now I eat fish now and then, mostly wild salmon from our area. I eat very little dairy. I have no trouble training on a largely vegetarian diet.
  • I have to test millet too:-).
  • This is a beautiful salad. Thank you for this idea. Except for rare circumstances (like having surgery,) I stay faithful to my exercise routine. I know how I feel when I don't workout. When I start my day with exercise (usually power walk, yoga or biking for me), I am energized for the day. I seem to think more clearly and it sets things in motion. I am also a more balanced person after exercising.
  • Tess
    What a beautiful looking salad, the colours are fantastic, I look forward to making it. I have followed your blog for a while, yesterday I brought your app which has more great recipes, the photos are just amazing. I'm not vegetarian or vegan but like to eat vegetarian food and follow a heathy diet I do feel better for it. A timely reminder to get back to the gym and start walking again, along with some cycling after being away on holidays. Thank you.
  • This looks wonderful. I have forgotten how much I enjoy millet. Your salad is a gorgeous reminder. I practice yoga and love to road bike, etc., but rock climbing is really my passion. I train in the weight room quite a bit too, and eating plant-based doesn't hinder me at all. It only seems to benefit my training!
  • Lydia
    I Will make this sallad soon, probably for a birthdayparty as a gluten-free alterative on the buffé. This spring I went through a AntiCandida-cleanse. It was challenging but very interesting to experience! And gave me better health. What we eat and/or not eat definitely effect us! I do Kundalini-Yoga, Vinyasa Flow-yoga and Recharge Yoga each week and I bike to those classes. Through my life the exercise has differed, due to changed needs and circumstanses - but there is always something you can do to get that feeling of joy and gratefulness over your body... Sleeping well, eating well, exercising well and loving well is so important.
  • Rosemary
    This salad looks amazing! Millet is such a nice comfort food.
  • Thank you for publishing a millet recipe. Like a previous commenter, I eat millet at breakfast most mornings (I make millet porridge which I eat drizzled with maple syrup and sprinkle pumpkin seeds and ground flaxseed on top). I have trouble tolerating wheat, spelt, quinoa and buckwheat so millet is a great alternative and this salad looks too good to ignore.
  • Thankyou so much...what a most delicious and heartfilled looking salad, I cant wait to try it, and your last muffin post. I only just found you and its so exciting...but what to cook first??? Thankyou xxamy
  • Lovely recipe! I love grain salads, and what a nice way to use up some winter squash. I'm vegan, and as for exercise, I practice yoga and pilates a few times a week. My exercise always goes in spurts, but I'm trying to really keep up with it this time around. Being vegan definitely gives me more energy than I had in my pre-vegan years, and I love coming home and eating something healthy like this salad!
  • Nina
    Mmh hvor ser det godt ud! Jeg elsker simpelthen at følge jeres blog og prøve jeres lækre opskrifter af i køkkenet! Savner dog lidt, dengang opskrifterne var på dansk, da der er mange ingredienser og mål jeg har lidt svært ved at oversætte :) Mvh. Nina, 17 år
  • Sara
    I just made this salad! Although it was almost a workout alone just making was totally worth the effort. I substituted cauliflower for the Romanesco and spinach for the beet leaves. It was incredibly yummy. Perfect fall salad! Thank you!
    • Sara
      Oh, and almost forgot to mention I'm a runner. I mostly run 5 days a week and try to incorporate some yoga into my routine. I would like to start making an effort to lift weights and do some core excercises, but it's so hard to find the time for all that.

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