Recipe: Butter Beans in Tahini Sauce over Lemony Millet

Recipe: Butter Beans in Tahini Sauce over Lemony Millet

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

I have to confess that when I hear the word millet, my mind immediately jumps to birdseed. Turns out the birds may be onto something delicious — a cereal grass that is gluten-free and rich with a good amount of protein. Here's a tasty way to turn this under-the-radar grain into an easy vegan dinner.

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

The texture of millet reminds me a bit of a cross between quinoa and couscous, and you cook it much the same way as quinoa. By itself, it's quite bland, so that's where a good dose of fresh lemon zest and juice come in to perk things up.

But what to serve over the millet? I love beans, and butter beans have been on my radar recently. These big, creamy beans that look a bit like lima beans are satisfying and readily soak up sauce. I decided that I would go with a sauce that tastes a bit like hummus — an easy mix of onion, garlic, and tahini. Just simmer the butter beans and some sweet golden raisins briefly in the sauce, and finish everything with a ton of chopped parsley.

This warm, vegan comfort dish is just the ticket when you're tired of another cold grain salad or tabbouleh.

Butter Beans in Tahini Sauce over Lemony Millet

Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup millet
2 2/3 cups water, divided
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
2 lemons
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup tahini
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 (15-ounce) can butter beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the millet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the millet is toasted and golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add 2 cups of the water and 1/4 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the butter bean mixture.

Cut the onion into small dice. Finely chop the garlic. Finely zest one of the lemons and set the zest aside. Juice both lemons and set the juice aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes if using, and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and very tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 2/3 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt, tahini, 1/4 cup of the lemon juice, and sugar in a small bowl until smooth and set aside.

When the onion is ready, add the tahini mixture, butter beans, and raisins and stir to combine. Heat just until the edges of the pan begin to bubble (do not let the mixture boil). Taste and season with salt as needed. Remove from the heat, cover to keep warm, and set aside until the millet is ready.

When the millet is ready, add in 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and the reserved zest and fluff with a fork. Taste and season with salt and more lemon juice as needed. Stir the parsley into the butter bean mixture and serve over the millet.

Recipe Notes

  • You can substitute quinoa for the millet and garbanzo beans for the butter beans in this recipe.
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