Recipes, Special Diets on August 24, 2012 by

Grain Mains: Millet Burgers with Olives, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Pecorino {Giveaway}

When the new book from Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, Grain Mains, came across my desk, I was blow away. This book is right up my alley and a perfect fit for Bob’s Red Mill. Apparently, we were a good fit for Bruce and Mark, too, as you can read in this guest post from a few days ago. I love that our slogan is “Whole Grain Foods for Every Meal of the Day” and this book’s full title is “Grain Mains: 101 Surprising and Satisfying Whole Grain Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.” A match made in heaven if ever I heard of one!

As they say in this book, Bruce and Mark have taken whole grains from the side of the plate and put them right in the middle with 101 main dishes. They’ve skipped out on baking with whole grains (ok, there are two or three baked goods) and put their focus on using whole grains for everything from familiar, yet delicious, hot cereals and grain salads to more exotic fare like Posole Verde and Pumpkin-Quinoa Soufflé.

From a user-perspective, I was pleased to see this book also delivers a quick overview of the different grains and different methods for cooking them. They suggest alternative grains that will work in each recipe, in case you don’t have, say Job’s Tears or Teff, on hand. Stunning photography accompanies almost every recipe, a huge plus in my opinion. Additionally, each recipe has tips for making ahead, saving time, making it easier (or more exotic) and tester’s notes. All in all, I wish I was keeping this book instead of giving away a copy to one lucky winner. If you don’t win and want to get your hands on a copy, you can find this book on and Barnes and Noble for $24.99.


The kind folks at Rodale have provided a copy of this book for one lucky winner. In addition to this book, we’ll kick in a package of our Hulled Millet, Hard Red Wheat Berries and Quinoa (if you should win and you’re gluten free, we’ll gladly swap the wheat berries for a gluten free option). To enter, leave a comment here telling us which whole grain is your favorite and what you like to do with it. We’ll select a winner randomly from all who comment by 11:59 pm on 8/30. Good luck!

Congratulations to Sue Crawbuck!

Millet Burgers with Olives, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Pecorino

Serves: 6

Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes

Time savers: Use 2 1/3 cups millet cooked until the grains are creamy like a porridge; begin the recipe at step 2.

  • 3 cups (720 ml) Water
  • 1 cup Millet
  • 10 chopped dry-pack Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • 1 medium Garlic Clove
  • 1/3 cup pitted Green Olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Pine Nuts, toasted about 5 minutes in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly browned and fragrant
  • 1/4 cup packed grated Pecorino-Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 4 large Caper Berries, stemmed and then minced
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp dried Marjoram
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1. Bring the water and millet to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly until it’s like a thick, coarse, hot breakfast cereal, about 30 minutes. Uncover and stir well to incorporate any last bits of water. Scrape the millet into a large bowl and cool for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, fill a small saucepan about a third of the way with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Put the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic in a small bowl; cover with the boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes.

3. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic in a colander set in the sink. Add them to the bowl with the cooked millet. Add the olives, pine nuts, Pecorino, minced caper berries, oregano, and marjoram. Stir well, mashing the ingredients together. You want texture here, bits of this and that scattered throughout the burgers, not a baby-food purée. Use dampened hands to form the mixture into 6 patties.

4. Melt the butter in the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet, preferably a nonstick one. Slip the patties into the skillet and cook until mottled brown and somewhat crisp, about 4 minutes. Flip them with a thin spatula and continue cooking until set throughout, mottled brown on the other side, and now nicely crisp, about 4 more minutes.

Testers’ Notes

  • Here, we’ve used an Italian palette to balance the aromatic millet. Note that the recipe calls for the larger, oblong caper berries, not capers.
  • The timing for cooked millet is a bit dodgy since the grains are notorious for picking up and holding ambient humidity—as well as releasing it in a dry environment. Don’t stand on ceremony: lift the lid and check the millet as it cooks, adding more water as necessary. You want crunchy texture but no distasteful grit.
  • These patties would be a treat on whole-wheat buns with a little purchased caponata as well as thinly sliced red onion and crunchy lettuce. You could also slice the cooked patties into bite-sized bits and toss them in a large, Italian-style, chopped salad, dressed with a creamy vinaigrette.
  • These patties don’t reheat as well as some of the others, although they do make great late-night snacks right from the fridge, cut into small pieces and dipped in deli mustard.

Make It Easier!

In truth, these millet burgers can be made with lots of the ingredients found on your supermarket’s salad bar: olives of all sorts, roasted red peppers, and the like. Just keep in mind an Italian antipasto flavor palette to create your own version.

© 2012 by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough


Marsha says:

My favorite is oats, but I would like to add more whole grains to my diet.

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