Disclosure: I received free samples of California Dried Plums mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Dried Plum Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
For me, the spring season means a whole host of grain salads. I tend to eat gluten-free whole grains like millet, brown or black rice, quinoa and buckwheat as the center of many meals year-round, but in the spring, fresh, raw greens and herbs start to take more of the center stage. Inevitably, I end up adding sweet things into these meals, often in the way of fresh or dried fruits.
May happens to be National Osteoporosis Month, and the California Dried Plum Board is hosting a No Bones About It Recipe Redux challenge. As a child with first a dairy allergy and then an extreme dislike for the taste of milk, I was often prompted to drink milk to prevent osteoporosis later in life. Interestingly, it wasn’t until last year that I learned about the many other vitamins and minerals that are also important to bone health like phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamins K and D.
Dried plums are one of the foods that can help support healthy bones. Emerging research shows that eating dried plums may have positive effects on bone health. Previous studies discovered that eating 100 grams (two servings; about 8- 10 dried plums) of dried plums for one year was associated with increased bone mineral density (BMD) and improved indices of bone turnover in postmenopausal women. At Experimental Biology, March 28- April 1, 2015, a current study presented as a poster, examined whether 50 grams (one serving; about 4-5 dried plums) would be as effective as the larger dose. The results indicated that one serving of dried plums may be as effective in preventing bone loss in older, osteopenic postmenopausal women. There are also natural elements in dried plums which help heighten the flavors of other ingredients in a recipe. They can be used as a flavor enhancer, both in savory and sweet dishes.
My grandparents must have had a plum tree because for years, every time they visited, they brought us bags of dried plums. My parents still have a ton of dried plums in their freezer and whenever I visit, I take a package or two, as I love experimenting with less-used ingredients and flavors.
This salad hosts both dried plums and a whole bevy of nutrients essential to bone health. More importantly, with flavors inspired by middle eastern cuisine, it tastes delicious.
It’s definitely making its way to the top of my favorite spring grain salads.
Dried Plum + Millet Tabbouleh, serves 4-6
3/4 cup dry millet
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup dried plums, diced
2 large bunches parsley, finely diced
1/2 large bunch mint, finely diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
black pepper to taste
1 orange, finely diced (optional, but not at all necessary)
- In a medium saucepan, add dry millet, water, diced dried plums, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low heat, and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, and then remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, dice the herbs and onion and add them to a large serving bowl.
- Toss the millet and plum mixture with the vegetables and stir in the spices and vinegar. Adjust the seasonings to taste and then serve at room temperature.