Have you tried sorghum yet? Bob’s Red Mill asked me to create an original recipe using one of their ancient grains, and I took it as an opportunity to try something new. Sorghum is a gluten-free pseudo grain, like millet and quinoa. It’s actually a grass, but cooks up like a grain. It’s round like pearl couscous and a little chewy, like farro or wheat berries.
I’ve been using sorghum as a substitute in recipes that typically call for couscous (like tabouli), other small pasta shapes and whole grains like farro. It has been nice to offer my gluten-free friends something other than rice and quinoa. Bonus? My bag of sorghum cost only three dollars, which is significantly less than the same sized bags of quinoa and rice.
I like to geek out on ingredients, so I thought I’d share some of the more interesting facts I’ve learned about sorghum. It’s one of those surprising “grains” that doesn’t get much attention, even though it’s the fifth most important cereal crop in the world.
Sorghum first appeared near Egypt around 8000 years ago. It spread through Africa and eventually, China, via India. It’s grown primarily for human consumption in Africa and parts of Asia, but in the United States, it’s grown for livestock consumption and ethanol production. I happen to live in the state that produces the most sorghum of all, Kansas. We’ll probably hear more and more about sorghum as a crop, since it’s particularly drought resistant and requires less water than corn.
This recipe came to be after I got a hankering for sweet, roasted cherry tomatoes. I’m really excited about tomato season, so much so that I planted a cherry tomato plant in my back yard this weekend (grow, tomatoes, grow!). Once roasted, the cherry tomatoes turn from sweet-and-tart gems into concentrated sweet, saucy goodness.
I balanced the sweetness of the tomatoes with bitter arugula, and added sorghum for substance. Salty feta, lemon and garlic round out this hearty and healthy, gluten-free salad. Sorghum is one of the more time-consuming grains to cook, so plan on having a pot on the stove for an hour, but the rest comes together quickly. As always, see my notes for substitution and storage suggestions!
- 1 cup sorghum, rinsed in a fine mesh colander
- 3 cups water
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Sea salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 cups baby arugula*
- ¼ cup crumbled feta
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Optional: 1 can (14 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- First, cook the sorghum: Combine rinsed sorghum and three cups water in a small pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until the sorghum is pleasantly tender but still has some chew to it, about 55 to 65 minutes. You can wait until the sorghum is halfway cooked before proceeding with the next steps.
- To roast the cherry tomatoes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a small, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Toss the whole cherry tomatoes with one tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Roast until the tomatoes are soft, plump and starting to burst open, about 18 minutes.
- To make the dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper until emulsified.
- Once the sorghum is done cooking: Drain off any excess water and pour the cooked sorghum into a serving bowl. Pour in all of the dressing, all of the cherry tomatoes and their juices, the arugula*, feta, Parmesan and chickpeas (optional). Toss well and serve.
*Storage suggestions: If you won't be serving all of the salad in one sitting, store the arugula separately from the rest of the salad and mix the arugula into the sorghum salad just when you're ready to serve. The sorghum salad should keep well, covered and refrigerated with the arugula stored separately, for a couple of days. Serve cold or reheat the sorghum before tossing in the arugula.
Change it up: Feel free to substitute cooked pasta (penne, spirals or pearl couscous would be good) or another whole grain for the sorghum (farro, wheat berries, quinoa, millet).
Prepare in advance: You can pre-cook the sorghum and reheat it just before adding the roasted cherry tomatoes and everything else. I bet that extra sorghum would freeze well, if you want to make extra for later.
If you love this recipe: You'll also love my caprese pasta salad, Mediterranean pasta salad with raw squash and feta and quinoa tabouli.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill and I was compensated for recipe development. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Cookie and Kate!