Bright, sauteed vegetables paired with mild and nutritious millet and bright herbs and spices makes for bowls of pure, gluten free, plant-based energy. Millet is a rich source of B vitamin, iron, and calcium making it the perfect seed (not a grain) for those who avoid meat, and it is naturally gluten free so it is gentle on tummies too.
Energy is a funny concept. We are taught in school that ‘energy can neither be created nor destroyed, just transformed from one form to another’. (Pardon my science-nerd ways.) And we memorise the different forms of energy recognised by physics theory and pray that we can remember all of Newton’s Laws and leave it at that.
As adults we learn the law of conservation of energy in different ways. Every day you have a certain allotment of energy to use during your waking hours. This precious, precious energy powers every situation, interaction, and move you make. I’m not talking about energy in the form of calories, but the deep down, soul-mined energy reserves that we have available to us when we open our eyes in the morning. Each situation extracts a certain amount from us: automatic tasks (cleaning teeth, showering etc) take very little; situations we enjoy can boost us up (snuggling with Chris in the mornings); and tense, stressful situations or people can drain us like energy vampires.
One of my goals for 2015 is to work out what my ‘energy vampires’ are and vanquish them for good. The Huffington Post had a great article that provoked this goal, and in turn, this post. As I was pondering this article the other day I started to list what saps energy from me the most: Fear of Missing Out (majorly when I am sitting at home looking at gorgeous photos of places that aren’t Brisbane); losing just a little more weight (because we are never satisfied are we?); trying to have it all ‘perfect and together’ all of the time (Type A, hello); and worrying about losing my job/disappointing someone (just an old ‘teacher’s pet’ hang up I suppose). After I had made this list I sat down and decided how to avoid/vanquish these situations because I want to use my time and space for good, not for feeling stressed out and ‘time poor’ all the time. It’s a work in progress, and it will take longer than a year because energy vampires will keep appearing in our lives throughout time. But here in 2015 I vow that my precious, precious energy will be conserved for making my life a happy, thoroughly nourished one.
These bowls of ancient millet, sauteed summer vegetables, and (my favourite) chickpeas are a boost to energy stores for sure, and because this makes enough for four servings, there are plenty of leftovers if you come from a small household, or you can make it ahead for work lunches (leftovers will last up to three days in the fridge) – stress-busting bonus! Millet has a mild buttery-sweet flavour, and I cook mine in vegetable stock to give it extra saltiness.
The farmers markets are bursting with fresh summer vegetables at the moment and in my Capsicum, Zucchini, Chickpea and Millet Bowls they are simply sauteed with chickpeas in olive oil, and dressed with balsamic vinegar, chili flakes, and dried thyme. Once the vegetables are silky soft, they are combined with the millet and tossed with summery basil and an extra glug of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. These bowls are filled with marinated summer night flavours. A smattering of olives doesn’t go astray as an extra topping here.
Make them, sit down with someone who boosts your energy and let the sunshine in.
Capsicum, Zucchini, Chickpea and Millet Bowl
Serves 4 | Gluten Free | Vegan | Leftovers will last up to three days in an airtight container in the refrigerator
- 3/4 cup uncooked millet
- 1 1/2 cups reduced salt vegetable stock
- 2 small red onions (or 1 large)
- 1/2 large red capsicum (bell pepper)
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 x 400 gram (14 ounce) tin of chickpeas, rinsed well
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Small pinch chili flakes (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch of salt
- Handful of chopped fresh basil
- Rinse millet well and then add to a medium saucepan with the vegetable stock. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes, or until the stock is all absorbed. Then, remove from the heat and sit for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
- While the millet is cooking: peel and thinly slice onions, slice capsicum into thin strips, and slice zucchini into thin rounds.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over a medium heat. Add onion and capsicum and saute until both are softened. Add zucchini, chickpeas, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, and chili flakes (if using), and cook until zucchini is soft.
- Once millet and vegetables are cooked combine in a large bowl and gently toss with remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper, salt, and chopped basil.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Tell me, dear reader, what are your energy vampires? How do you boost your energy? Anyone love millet as much as I do?