Basic Millet Pilaf Recipe

Bowl of Millet
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
127 Calories
4g Fat
21g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 127
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 62mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 6mg 30%
Calcium 35mg 3%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 219mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Millet is one of the most under-represented and under-loved grains and was somehow passed over when quinoa became all the rage. It is an ancient grain, dating back about 7,000 years in Asia and Africa. Millet is gluten free, so it can be an excellent choice for those of us who are sensitive to other grains.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, or untoasted sesame oil

  • 1 cup millet

  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped finely

  • 1 carrot, chopped finely

  • 1 large pinch sea salt

  • 3 cups warm water, vegetable broth, or free-range organic chicken stock

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the olive or sesame oil in a heavy-bottomed 1-quart pan over medium heat.

  2. Add the millet and toast it for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the millet is golden and gives off a nutty aroma.

  3. Add the chopped onion and carrot to the millet, and cook 2 to 3 more minutes, stirring frequently.

  4. Add the sea salt and water to the pan and stir once. Bring the millet to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the pilaf for 30 minutes.

  5. Remove the pilaf from the heat and let it stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the millet with a fork and serve.


  • This dish is great with red lentil dahl (especially if you add the cardamom seeds to the pilaf) or a hearty lentil stew with fall vegetables.

Recipe Variations

  • Lightly toasting the millet is an optional step that gives a nutty flavor to this simple macrobiotic pilaf. You can also add a few pods of cardamom with the onion and carrot and garnish the finished pilaf with toasted pine nuts for a North-African-style pulao.
  • Add 2 or 3 gently bruised (cracked) cardamom pods to the millet when you add the chopped onion and carrot. 
  • Add a handful of toasted pine nuts and/or dark or golden raisins before serving.