Winter comfort food with no regrets

November 8, 2009


This weekend I held a workshop called The Yoga of Food. We were discussing the energy of certain foods and a woman in the group asked about healthy alternatives to eating her favorite comfort food: pasta.

Well, we all love pasta, don’t we? I grew up eating a lot of it in my Italian home. But one of the blessings of my journey to good health was learning how to cook different styles of food. Today I’d like to share with you one of the most comforting dishes I’ve ever made – and possibly one of the healthiest. Chock full of vitamins, protein and fiber, this colorful meal is perfect on a chilly winter day.

As you might recall, I first had this dish at Candle Cafe in NYC. My friend Laura went home and reconstructed the recipe, to which I added my own personal touches. Oh, and did I mention, it’s vegan? Sure is. It’s also incredibly cheap to make – I’m guessing about $7 for the whole thing.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Southern Style Millet Bake
Serves 6. You’ll need a baking dish or casserole dish and a food processor (or a very willing, strong arm and a masher).

For the crust:
2 1/2 cups millet (optional: soak overnight with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar)
5 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Bring water to a boil. Add millet and cook for about 15 minutes, until water is absorbed. Stir salt and pepper. Keep stirring the millet somewhat vigorously for at a few minutes. This works the starch out and makes it sticky. Now spoon the millet into the baking dish and smooth it out to create the bottom layer.


For the beans:
4 cups cooked black beans (you can use canned if you want)
4 small cloves of garlic
Juice of 2 limes
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Spoon on top of the millet and smooth into second layer.


For the sweet potatoes:
4 sweet potatoes
3/4 tsp. cumin
3/4 tsp. paprika
3/4 tsp. chili powder
3/4 tsp. salt

Peel and cube sweet potatoes. Steam until fork tender. Combine everything in food processor and blend until smooth. Spoon over black beans and smooth into top layer.


Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. While it cooks, chiffonade and saute collard greens in a bit of olive oil. Serve sliced and carefully transferred millet bake to a bed of collards and serve. Mmmmmm.

What’s your favorite healthy comfort food for this time of year?

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