A couple days ago it was still summer. The sun was shining and I was on my bike whizzing over to the next large neighbourhood over, the one where I lived for years when I first moved to Vancouver. Commercial Drive. The name itself doesn’t inspire a whole lot of sympathy for people who aren’t familiar with this city. For others who are, it’s marked as that hippy/old-Italian ‘hood over on the east side. But for me & many others like me, it’s a place that makes my heart go pitter-pat. In the 8 years I lived “On The Drive”, I’ve lived in 4 different apartments scattered within just a few blocks from each other, with a roommate, a boyfriend and finally, on my own. And while I love Strathcona, where I’ve lived for 6 years, there is something that keeps pulling me back. The food. The markets. The coffee. The best thing is that it’s just a short bike ride away.
Those Granny Smith apples up there? They came from the Okanagan by way of the Santa Barbara Market, which is by far the best produce market on the Drive, in my opinion. I managed to fill up both panniers on my bike with beautiful local fruits and vegetables (plus a big container of almond milk) for a mere $15. When I got home I was at a bit of a loss of what to make for dinner. So I munched on an apple and waited for inspiration.
When that didn’t produce any results, I dug into my archives and found this millet, chickpea, broccoli & tahini lemon salad which was inspired by a dish from the always wonderful 101 Cookbooks. While this salad is delicious, I wanted to mix things up a bit. Instead of chickpeas, I threw in some fresh corn for sweetness. I also topped the salad with big chunks of apple and walnuts to give this salad more crunch and texture. And it worked out well. I didn’t mess with the dressing but I used what I had on hand and it was healthy and filling and tasted great. Cherry tomatoes would be a great addition here too as they’d go so nicely with the corn, so if you want to skip the apples, add in tomatoes instead.
early fall millet crunch salad
1 c millet
2 c vegetable stock (or water)
1 head broccoli, stems sliced & florets separated
1/4 red onion, diced
3 cobs corn
1 small head Romaine lettuce, leaves rinsed, dried & torn
1 large tart apple, diced
1/4 c walnuts
zest from 1 lemon
1. Toast millet in a small saucepan until it starts to crackle. Add stock or water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and let simmer until millet is dry.
2. Steam broccoli until bright green, drain and rinse under cold water. With a large knife, remove the corn kernels from the cobs. Add corn, broccoli, red onion, lettuce and millet into a large bowl and toss.
3. Make dressing by combining all ingredients, adding more hot water if necessary to get proper dressing consistency. Add half of dressing to millet mixture and blend. Top with apples, lemon zest and walnuts.
4. Serve salad in deep bowls or on a large plate. Drizzle with remaining dressing, if needed.