Giada De Laurentiis’ Millet Tabbouleh Is the ‘Lighter, Refreshing’ Salad You’ll Be Making All Summer

If you’re seeking a quick and satisfying lunch or dinner option that won’t weigh you down in the summer months, Food Network personality Giada De Laurentiis‘ Millet Tabbouleh fits the bill.

With just seven ingredients, the chef’s recipe works as both a side salad or a light meal.

Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis wears a print sleeveless dress in this photograph.
Giada De Laurentiis | David Becker/Getty Images for Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit

De Laurentiis’ gluten-free tabbouleh recipe replaces traditional bulgur wheat

In her cookbook, Eat Better, Feel Better: My Recipes for Wellness and Healing, Inside and Out, where this recipe can be found, chef Giada De Laurentiis explains why she opts for the grain of millet in her updated tabbouleh recipe.

“Millet is similar to quinoa, with small grains that cook up fluffy and separate, and like quinoa, it is a good source of protein as well as numerous minerals and vitamins,” she wrote. ” … Here, millet serves as a gluten-free alternative to bulgur wheat; it makes for a lighter, more refreshing tabbouleh.”

De Laurentiis departs even further from the classic Middle Eastern salad with the inclusion of strawberries in her version: “[T]hough quite nontraditional, [strawberries] provide a bit of sweetness and a pretty pop of color.”

How to make De Laurentiis’ easy salad

With just 10 ingredients, the Simply Giada star’s salad is packed with fresh, herby goodness. It’s perfect for beginning cooks to make and serves four. Her salad includes raw millet, flat-leaf parsley, fresh mint leaves, one shallot, diced English cucumber, chopped strawberries, kosher salt, fresh lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil and, optionally, baby arugula, baby spinach, or baby kale.

The millet is boiled in a saucepan with salt and simmered, covered, over low heat for 20 minutes. After that, it’s taken off of the heat and sits for about 10 minutes for the grain to fully cook. It’s then “fluffed” and cooled. The resulting amount of millet is more than what’s needed for the salad and De Laurentiis suggests reserving one cup for this recipe and freezing the remainder.

The herbs, shallot, cucumber, and strawberries are added, along with the salt, lemon juice, and extra-virgin olive oil. It’s tossed and mixed to distribute the ingredients well and can be served immediately with the greens, if they are being used. Or, the salad can sit to allow its flavors to blend well.

The chef suggests these variations

De Laurentiis in her cookbook noted that this tabbouleh recipe can be made into “an even more substantial entree salad,” with “bits of chicken or salmon.” Otherwise, it can also be served “as a side to a simple summer meal.”

The chef wrote on Today’s website that to save time, the millet can be cooked ahead of time. The cooked grain can also be frozen, she said, “for up to 2 months and is easy to defrost and use on a whim.”

Also, if millet’s not your thing, “you could use quinoa instead.”

RELATED: Giada De Laurentiis’ Best Recipes For When ‘You Don’t Want to Spend a Lot of Time Over the Stove’