Pesto White Bean Bowls
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These pesto white bean bowls are made with whole grains, white beans, and vegetables. The grain bowls are topped with vegan pesto. They’re brimming with nutrients, colorful, and bursting with the flavors of summer!

A grain bowl with pesto and white beans is resting on a white tablecloth. A fork with a wooden handle rests next to it.

Happy Monday, all! I hope you had lovely weekends. I’m passing through NYC on my way to the west coast for a few nights; my mom and I are taking a girls’ trip to San Francisco. It’s a place that has special meaning to my mom, and I had a wonderful time there on my last visit, so I look forward to returning! Of course, I’ll be sharing eats and highlights on the blog and on Instagram. But for now, a recipe that I prepared last week, and loved: millet pesto summer salad.

I think my current love affair with millet began with my millet tabouli. This recipe is very similar, but it’s even more of a summer produce smorgasbord: I added roasted zucchini and eggplant to the tomato, and I used fresh, farmer’s market pesto to brighten everything up, and add some healthy fat and richness.

Millet holds up well to creamy dressings or vinaigrettes, the addition of roast vegetables, or being cooked along with another grain. Remember when I discovered that amaranth and quinoa cook up really well together? Same idea: millet and kasha, millet and quinoa, and millet and rice are all great combinations.

If you don’t have eggplant or zucchini, you can use other roasted vegetables that you love. The pesto can also be swapped for a dressing of choice. This is an adaptable, easygoing meal.

A white bowl has been filled with tomato, zucchini, eggplant, whole grains, and legumes. It rests on a white cloth.

A white bowl has been filled with tomato, zucchini, eggplant, whole grains, and legumes. It rests on a white cloth.
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Pesto White Bean Bowls

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small globe eggplant, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 medium zucchini or summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch long pieces
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large heirloom tomato, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cups cooked whole grain of choice, such as quinoa, farro, barley, brown rice, or millet (450-600g)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (240g, or 1 14.5oz / 415g can beans, drained and rinsed)
  • 3/4 cup tahini pesto or traditional pesto (180ml)
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves (6g; optional, for garnish)

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place the cubed eggplant and zucchini on the sheet in a single layer. Drizzle the vegetables with the oil and stir them to coat them. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Transfer the sheet to the oven and roast the vegetables for 25 minutes, or until they're tender and the eggplant is turning golden brown, stirring the vegetables on the sheet once halfway through roasting. You may cook your whole grain and/or prepare the pesto while the vegetables roast, if you like.
  • To assemble the bowls, divide the roasted vegetables, cooked whole grains, chopped, fresh heirloom tomato, and cooked white beans into four bowls (or, for meal prep, 4 storage containers). Top each bowl with three tablespoons of your pesto and some fresh basil leaves. Enjoy.

I love quinoa salads in the summer (here’s a favorite lunchtime recipe) but I’m finding more and more that millet is capturing my whole grain affections. I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I did.

A pesto white bean bowl, made with summer tomatoes and eggplant, is resting on a white tablecloth with a fork nearby.

For the rest of the week, there will be some travel posts, mixed in with some other goodies–like the raw granola recipe I’m extremely jazzed about. So, I’ll see you back here soon!

xo

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    27 Comments
  1. Did you add white beans to the recipe in the photo? Didn’t see it in the recipe but it might be a nice addition. Let me know.

  2. Gena! I just moved to the Bay Area! You have to go to Millenium restaurant in Oakland – entirely vegan restaurant and so delicious.

  3. This looks delicious! And a great alternative to the standard lettuce, tomato, cucumber and sprinkling of quinoa salad that I’ve got into a routine of. I’m certainly looking forward to giving this a try!

    Lozzie

  4. This salad sounds great & refreshing – great summer salad.
    Oh have fun on your travels!!! I am a stone’s throw away from San Francisco and know how amazing all of the great eats are! Enjoy =)

  5. I always mean to use millet – such a neglected grain! I always associate it with the budgies we had when I was little (fed them millet!). This recipe looks delicious. Can’t wait to try it!

  6. Gena! I forgot about millet. But mostly I missed you and wanted to say hi via ambiguous comment. Have fun in San Fran! Was just there and it’s gorgeous.

  7. Pesto is my fave – never had it in a salad like this before (which looks delicious!) so I’m obviously going to be trying it now 🙂

  8. Millet is one of the healthiest foods. It is gluten free, high in protein, rich in nutrients, and a great energy source. I have also used cucumbers. Summer is the time for parties and I’ve made this salad as a party food.

  9. I’d be lying if I said I hated everything with pesto because I love anything with pesto! This is something I really plan to try! Looks and probably is as great and delicious as it looks.

  10. I love san francisco! Just don’t forget a jacket!! Hahaha, last time i was there i nearly froze coming from nyc summer weather. Please update us on any can’t miss spots, i’ll be there in a few weeks myself.
    This recipe is such perfect timing- i’m going to a potluck this weekend and am bored with my usual go to dishes.

  11. Looks delicious! I like millet so much better than quinoa, I will have to make a version of this!

  12. Once again, your timing is uncanny! I just replenished my stash of millet yesterday (!) and happened to have bought some eggplant and zucchini and local heirlooms at the market this weekend w/the intent of roasting. Millet is rarely my first choice of grains, but whenever I make it, I vow to make it more regularly. Roasted eggplant too is one of those vegs. I love, but for whatever reason perceive as being too much of a bother – though it takes mere minutes to prep and pop in the oven. This concoction of late-summer produce will get made today for sure, though I’m pesto-less, so for simplicity sake, maybe I’ll toss in some cannellini beans tonight.

    Have a blast traveling with Mom and safe travels, Gena!

  13. I’ve never actually had millet and don’t enjoy quinoa as much as the rest of the world. Rice and farro are normally my go-tos. However, I might have to give this a try! I recently found fair trade vegan pesto as well, so the timing is basically perfect 😉

    Have a safe trip!

  14. Hey lady! I’ll be in SF next weekend. I don’t know your travel dates, but if you are there thru the weekend, I’d love to try and catch up!

    • Hey lady! We leave Saturday, I think around lunchtime. When do you arrive? We could play a quick Saturday juice by ear, depending on when my mom and I need to head to the airport 🙂

    • That looks delicious, indeed!

      But no, I don’t toast it. No patience 🙂 It takes so much effort for me to even rinse quinoa!

      • No joke. I started to cook quinoa today and realized I’d forgotten to rinse it. LOL

  15. Um, you couldn’t have posted this at a more perfect time! I just thawed some of your pesto, planning to add some to zucchini noodles. This, however, has won my affection (and taste buds)! Have a blast in San Francisco!

  16. I think millet is fabulous (I, too, prefer it to quinoa–though the latter is starting to grow on me), but I rarely use it!

    This salad looks so fresh and delicious. What’s better than heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, and fresh basil pesto to celebrate the summer? Can’t wait to try this!

  17. I’ve always preferred millet to quinoa, but I don’t seem to use it in my cooking as often as this preference would indicate. It’s very popular in other parts of the world; I don’t understand why it hasn’t caught on more in the U.S. Anyway, this looks delicious and endlessly adaptable, Gena! Thanks for sharing!