Greek Tomato and Millet Bake

This is real comfort food.

It’s a bit like lasagne or moussaka – but I like it better.

It’s unusual and has some interesting ingredients – but please don’t let that put you off.

In a minute I’ll tell you more, but first…

In the Garden

I’ve been planting out more winter salad (mustards, mizuna, multi coloured stemmed chard, claytonia/miners lettuce).

Some of the module sown seedlings I got from allotment project where I volunteer, the others I ordered online and quite a few I sowed myself.

That meant the fleece covers to protect the veg from the colder nights came off briefly so I could plant up the remainder of the bed.

I too the opportunity to weed and pick some leaves to make a green salad.

We also took down the last of the bean supports/wigwams and harvested the few wonderfully plump Giant Greek Beans.

I boiled them fresh (rather than drying them to use later in the winter) and then dressed them in olive oil and lemon juice.

Millet pie is an oven bake layered with tomato sauce and bechamel a bit like lasagne or moussaka. It’s good served with a green salad and Giant Greek Beans or gigantes beans which are like a huge butter bean

So what else to make?

Well I went back to one of my favourite grains – millet.

I’ve been meaning to try the recipe for Korakiana in Greek Vegetarian Cooking.

It’s basically millet grain cooked in stock and then mixed with ground almonds or pine kernels, loads of parsley, vegan butter or spread, sultanas, chopped onion and spring onion.

Then that’s layered with tomato sauce and bechamel.

First and third layer is millet mixture
Second layer is fairly thick tomato sauce
More Millet mixture
Then the fourth layer is a thick velvety bechamel sauce

I adapted the recipe so that the bechamel was vegan – made with 6 tbsps olive oil, 5 tbsp white spelt flour (other flour will do) and about 2/3 litre of soya milk.

I added 3 tablespoons of my homemade vegan parmesan (for 3/4 of a jam jar grind together 50g sunflower seeds, 35g raw cashews, 10g nutritional yeast, and salt to taste all whizzed up. You can add more nutritional yeast if you like).

Vegan Parmesan is so easy to make, the recipe is adapted from one given to me by my friend Inga, from Bremen

The tomato sauce was just a mixture of tinned chopped tomatoes and fresh homegrown ones that had been skinned. They were cooked with a few other vegetables like onion, carrot, garlic and red pepper.  Just use your favorite recipe – you’ll need 3 cups (UK cups are bigger than US ones)

The homemade tomato sauce and vegan bechamel

Verdict: Delicious and worth the time preparing the individual components.

The original recipe says this is very nutritious and has a high protein content.

It’s rich in minerals like calcium, iron and phosphorus and most of the complex B vitamins.

It makes loads (12 good sized portions) and can be frozen, defrosted at room temperature and reheated (cover with foil to reheat in the oven or microwave).

Greek Millet Bake
Servings: 12 people
Author: Cath
Ingredients
  • 3 UK cups homemade tomato sauce
  • 3 UK cups bechamel (see below for recipe)
  • 2 1/2 UK cups millet well washed and drained
  • 2 1/4 pints (1 litre) water
  • 2 cubes veg stock (or 1 Tbsp marigold bouillon powder)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 5 or 6 spring onions, sliced thinly
  • 3/4 UK cup parsley washed and finely chopped
  • 50 g pine kernels and/or
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 3/4 UK cup sultanas
  • 5 heaped Tbsps vegan butter or polyunsaturated vegan spread
  • salt and pepper to taste
Bechamel sauce
  • 6 Tbsps Olive oil
  • 5 Tbsp flour (I used white spelt)
  • 2/3 or 3/4 litre plant based milk - I use soya milk
  • 3 tbsp vegan parmesan or more to taste
Instructions
  1. Add washed and drained millet to boiling water with stock added in a large saucepan

  2. Simmer with lid on until tender (about 10 to 20 minutes) and fluffy - there should be no liquid left - it should all have been absorbed

  3. Remove from heat. Add all the remaining ingredients (except for tomato and bechamel sauce!) and mix well

  4. Place half the mixture in a large oven proof dish (mine is 28 cm square and 8 cm deep and it just fit) and smooth

  5. Cover with a layer of the tomato sauce (3 cups)

  6. Add rest of millet mixture evenly distributed

  7. Pour bechamel over the top 

  8. Bake in very hot pre-heated oven (450F/230C/Gas Mark 8 for between 30 and 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling

  9. Serve with a simple green salad 

To Make Bechamel
  1. Heat olive oil in medium size saucepan

  2. Add flour and stir until amalgamated and bubbling

  3. Add soya milk gradually stirring all the time - don't add too much - you want the sauce to be the consistency of heavy pouring cream. 2/3 to 3/4 of a litre should be fine.

    I use a whisk to stir and beat the milk in 

  4. Add grated vegan parmesan, or 3 tbsp of my homemade version for which I give recipe above in main body of blog post 

 

 

 

 

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