This Spinach Millet Pilaf is a delicious and nutritious vegetarian dish that is perfect for any occasion.

This hearty pilaf is packed with nutrient-rich spinach and millet, which are both known for their health benefits. The dish is easy to make and can be served as a side or a main course.

Millets are a type of grain that I’ve recently loved to try. Millets are incredibly adaptable and loaded with health advantages. Try it out, please!

I gave this millets-based pilaf recipe a try after giving it a lot of consideration, and I was happy with the flavor and texture. Simple ingredients like onions, spices, spinach, and millet are used to make this spinach pulao.

Millets are not just a trend that will go away soon. Since ancient times, they have been a staple in the Indian diet. There are many different millets that can be used, but for this dish, I’ve used foxtail millet (thinai).

When it comes to this wonderful spinach millet pilaf recipe, it’s my go-to choice for a healthy and tasty lunch box recipe.

This is the ideal weeknight supper because you can use the stovetop method, the pressure cooker, or the Instant Pot, which makes it easier. 

Adding lots of fresh spinach makes spinach millet pilaf not only simple to prepare, but also quite nutritious. Perfect for a family dinner, this vegan dish goes well with a light gravy.

Close up recipe for spinach and millet on white plate on white background

What Makes This Spinach Millet Pilaf So Good?

  • This dish can be made quickly and simply.
  • Gluten-free and vegetarian
  • Full of Nutrients
  • Perfect for lunchboxes and quick weeknight meals.
  • Kids-friendly dish

As always, scroll down for the detailed recipe, but I request you don’t skip reading the important information included in the blurb.

What Is Millet?

Some people only think of millet as a treat for their pet birds or as feed for animals. For everyone else, millet is an eatable seed from the Poaceae family of grasses that is categorized as a whole grain.

There are numerous varieties of millet from various continents that provide a variety of health benefits to diners’ tables, and it is popular in many African and Asian cuisines.

Millet has been a staple in human diets for nearly 10,000 years, ever since it was first cultivated in Asia and subsequently Europe and West Africa. Before the arrival of European colonists in the 18th century, millet was not grown in the Americas.

Why Is Millet Good For You?

This is a very tough little grain. Millets are annual plants that complete their lifespan in one growing season. Many kinds of millets have short growing seasons. For example, proso millet requires 60–80 days to be ready to harvest.

They are pest and disease resistant, require almost no fertilizer, and can thrive in dry conditions with little water.

Their nourishment, which is abundant in fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, and potassium, compounds these advantages.

Because it is a fast-growing, low-maintenance, nutritionally dense food crop, it has gained popularity and spread across countries.

Different Types Of Millet

There are different kinds of millet around the world: Here are some.

Foxtail Millet

One of the earliest millet varieties to be cultivated is the well-known foxtail millet. Currently, Asia grows most of this millet, which is the second most frequently planted millet.

Foxtail millet is also known as gigantic setaria, dwarf setaria, Japanese millet, Hungarian millet, German millet, and foxtail bristlegrass.

Sorghum

Another extensively cultivated and consumed grain in India is sorghum, also referred to as great millet. In India, it is known as Jowar. Jowar roti and bhakri are traditional Indian flatbreads made from this flour. Additionally, they can be popped and eaten as a snack. We also prepare dosas and idlis with joar.

Finger Millet

In India, finger millet is frequently referred to as Ragi or nachni. These cereals are a deep brown color and still contain their fiber- and iron-rich husk. You can find both the grains and the flour for making idli, dosas, roti, ragi malt, and ragi mudde, in Indian grocery shops.  In most cases, these aren’t eaten whole.

Barnyard Millet

Barnyard millet also referred to as little millet, is a tiny, quickly cooked variety that only requires rinsing and can occasionally be pre-soaked for a brief time. In Tamil, these are referred to as Kuthiravali, in Hindi as Jhangora, and in Telugu as oodalu.

Little Millet

Little millet is also referred to as sama/kutki, samai, and samalu in other languages, including Hindi and Telugu.

These are always and mostly eaten whole, much like quinoa or rice.

Ingredients for spinach millet pifaf

Spinach Millet Pilaf Recipe:

  • Millet
  • Water or veggie broth
  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Tomato
  • Fresh spinach leaves, chopped
  • Cumin powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

How To Make Spinach Millet Pilaf?

  1. Rinse the millet thoroughly in cold water and drain.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add the millet.
  3. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the millet is cooked and the water has been absorbed.
  4. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  5. Add the diced onion and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the pureed tomato and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add the chopped spinach leaves, cumin powder, coriander powder, salt, and pepper to the pan.
  8. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the spinach is wilted.
  9. Add the cooked millet to the spinach mixture and stir to combine.
  10. Cover the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the pilaf is heated through.
  11. Serve hot as a side dish or as a main course.
  12. Enjoy your nutritious and flavorful Spinach and Millet Pilaff!!

Serving Suggestions

Serve this dish for spinach millet pilaf on its own, with raita, papad, and pickles on the side. You could try serving it with this delectable Mint and Cilantro Chutney or Vegan Tzatziki Sauce.

This easy pilaf pairs well with some delectable gravies, such as Okra Masala (Bhindi Masala) and Aloo Gobi Masala (Potato Cauliflower Curry).

Recipe Notes:

  • It’s important to rinse the millet thoroughly before cooking to remove any debris or impurities.
  • If you want to add more flavor to the dish, you can toast the millet in a dry pan for a few minutes before adding it to the boiling water.
  • More spinach will give the pulao a vibrant green hue and a strong spinach flavor. Adjust as necessary because my version has delicate flavors.
  • When compared to rice, millets do look a little bit different. So, once the pulao is done, leave it in the skillet for a few minutes to cool. Don’t mix the pulao right after it’s done. This will make the pilaf mushy. Allow it to sit for a while and allow all of the water to evaporate. Use a fork to gently fluff it up, then serve.
  • Every millet type and brand is unique, just like rice. I found the timing and water to be effective, and we both liked the texture. Time should be adjusted appropriately. If using a pressure cooker, try cooking in a high-pressure setting for 3 – 4 minutes, then 10 minutes later release the pressure.

Variations:

  • You can add other vegetables such as diced bell peppers, carrots, or mushrooms to the dish to increase the nutritional value and variety.
  • To make it a heartier main dish, you can add cooked chickpeas or black beans.
  • For a spicier version, you can add red chili flakes or a diced jalapeno pepper.
  • You can also swap out the spinach for other greens such as kale or Swiss chard.
  • This recipe can benefit from the taste of a round cinnamon stick. You can use cinnamon bark up to 3 inches long.
  • You can use vegetable broth instead of water to add more flavor to the dish.
  • Instead of millet, you could use rice. This pilaf dish works best with basmati rice because it has a distinct flavor and aroma.
  • If you prefer a creamier texture, you can stir in some coconut milk or cream at the end of the cooking.
  • Although I didn’t add any, you could add some cilantro for a different taste from the spinach.
  • As always, taste-test before adding too much of anything, and feel free to omit the cayenne pepper if it’s not your thing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Add Spinach Puree Instead Of Chopped Spinach?

Yes, of course! This pulao recipe tastes excellent with chopped spinach, but if you prefer your spinach to be hidden, puree it before cooking the pilaf.

What Is The Perfect Consistency For Pilaf?

Pilaf is typically thought to be airy. I favor this texture when preparing basmati rice for pilaf. However, when using millet, I favor a slightly mushier consistency than rice. It is unquestionably a matter of taste. Depending on the required consistency, calculate the cooking time.

Spinach millet and quinoa overlay in a white plate

Try out this delicious Spinach Millet Pilaf recipe and inform me of your valuable thoughts. Thanks!

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Spinach millet pilaf

This Spinach Millet Pilaf is a delicious and nutritious vegetarian dish that is perfect for any occasion.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Indian
Keyword: Spinach millet pilaf
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 242kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup millet
  • 2 cups water or veggie broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 large tomato pureed
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Start by rinsing the millet thoroughly under cold water. Then, drain the millet and set it aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the diced onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onions become translucent and start to soften.
  • Add the cumin and coriander powder to the onions and stir well. Allow these spices to cook for a minute to release their flavors.
  • Add the pureed tomato to the pan, stir well, and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the tomato puree has reduced slightly.
  • Now add the rinsed millet to the pan. Stir it around in the tomato and onion mixture, letting the grains get fully coated. This will give the millet a wonderful, deep flavor.
  • Next, pour in your chosen liquid – either the water or vegetable broth. Stir well to combine.
  • Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and let it simmer. Let the millet cook for about 20 minutes, or until it’s tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.
  • While the millet is cooking, roughly chop your spinach leaves.
  • Once the millet is done, add the chopped spinach to the pan. Also, add salt and cayenne pepper to taste at this point. Stir well to combine. The residual heat from the millet should be enough to wilt the spinach.
  • Cover the pan once more and let it sit off the heat for about 5 minutes. This allows all the flavors to come together and also helps the spinach to wilt further into the pilaf.
  • After 5 minutes, uncover the pan and fluff the millet gently with a fork.
  • Your spinach millet pilaf is now ready to serve! This makes a great main course for a vegan or vegetarian meal, or can be served as a hearty side dish with your protein of choice. Enjoy!
  • Always adjust the seasoning to your taste, adding more if necessary.

Nutrition

Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 23mg | Potassium: 302mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1666IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2mg