Recipes » Main Dish » Mediterranean Millet Balls
T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies

Adapted from The China Study Family Cookbook (BenBella Books, 2017).

Author’s note: I love spaghetti and meatballs as much as the next person, but I prefer a healthy plant-based “meatball,” and this is my go-to.


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups millet
  • 1 ⅓ cups finely diced yellow onion
  • 3 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp ground fennel
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • ½ cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
  • ½ cup finely chopped artichoke hearts (not packed in oil)
  • ½ cup coarsely ground toasted walnuts (optional)
  • 2 tsp sea salt


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • 2. Combine the water and millet in a small (2-quart) saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
  • 3. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
  • 4. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook the millet for 20 minutes or until it is very tender. (For the millet to work as a binder you almost need to overcook it; if it seems crumbly when you first make it, add 2 to 3 tablespoons more water, and let it cook with the lid on for another 2 to 3 minutes until it holds together when pinched between two fingers.)
  • 5. While the millet cooks, sauté the onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes until the onions start to turn translucent. Add water as needed, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, to keep the onions from sticking to the pan.
  • 6. Add the garlic, basil, fennel, and crushed red pepper, and cook for another minute. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and walnuts, and remove the pan from the heat.
  • 7. When the millet is done cooking, add it to the pan with the onion mixture, add the sea salt, and mix well.
  • 8. Shape into balls using an ice cream scoop, and place on a non-stick baking sheet.
  • 9. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • 10. Turn millet balls over and bake for another 15 minutes until lightly browned.

Cooking Tips

  • 1. Unlike traditional meatballs, these millet balls do not sit well in tomato sauce or gravy for any length of time. Be sure to add sauce to them just before serving so they don’t fall apart.

Copyright 2024 Center for Nutrition Studies. All rights reserved.

Program Overview

  • 23,000+ students
  • 100% online, learn at your own pace
  • No prerequisites
  • Continuing education credits