Part of celebrating Thanksgiving is enjoying traditions and favorite recipes, but you can always move things around to make more table real estate for new dishes. My sister and I love to introduce the whole family to unusual ingredients like millet, so last Thanksgiving, we made a new version of our favorite lentil and millet salad. Instead of tomatoes, this version of the salad is dazzled with ruby-red pomegranate seeds. My sister and I marveled at the pleased expressions on our family's faces as they munched the salad and even went back for seconds. In a sea of butter and cream, everyone agreed that it was nice to have something healthful and light on the plate.
The main ingredient in this recipe is the pseudograin millet, a small seed that becomes fluffy and chewable when cooked like a grain. It has a roasted, buttery popcorn flavor that is achieved by dry-roasting the seeds prior to cooking. Imagine how popcorn kernels, when exposed to high heat, pop open to reveal their melt-in-your-mouth interior; the same is true for millet.
Lovers of legumes will appreciate the starchy lentils, reminiscent of potatoes, dotted throughout the salad. With each bite, the pomegranate seeds burst and dress the salad in their tart juice, so there is no need to add any vinegar. Lemons, parsley, and green onions are simple ingredients that can be found at any grocery store, yet their flavors perk up the roasted flavor of the millet. I love to serve this salad on a bed of spinach, lightly dressed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.