Millet Burgers with Chive Pesto

The ancient Chinese created the Five Elements, fire, earth, metal, water, and wood, to explain the interconnectedness of all life.  When used to balance ones diet and for healing purposes these elements provide insight to the workings of the internal organs, the body parts, one’s emotions and surrounding environment. Understanding the elements can be a language of sorts, one that can explain the meaning of specific symptoms before they degenerate into full-blown dis-ease. I suggest you read Paul Pitchford’s book, Healing With Whole Foods, for a more comprehensive view of the elements.

In regards to food preparation let’s consider Fire element as it corresponds to the months of summer. Fire element governs the heart and small intestine, and the bitter taste of fresh greens strengthens these organs. Late summer brings Earth element into play, which governs the stomach and spleen. The taste for earth is sweet as found in whole grains, vegetables and fruit. With the days hot and damp I wanted to prepare something light, appetizing, pleasurable to the taste and balancing to the governing summer elements. With this in mind I used the sweet taste of millet to create vegetarian burgers and topped them with the pungent bitter taste of chive pesto.

Millet is a gluten free seed with the consistency of cooked grain. It is easy to digest, supports stomach and spleen, is beneficial to the kidneys and helps to create an alkaline condition where there is to much acid. I like to make millet mashed potatoes from the recipe below and serve with sautéed vegetables and lentils. The next day I mold the remains into millet burgers and serve with the pesto surrounded by lightly sautéed vegetables and a green salad to complete the meal.

Millet Burgers w/ Spinach Pesto
Makes 6-8 burgers (good to freeze)
Make sure to soak millet, as you do your other grains, for 8-12 hours before cooking. This helps to remove the phytic acid and make it more digestible.

1 cup millet, washed and soaked 8-12 hours, drained
3 cups water
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 cups cauliflower florets
2 tbs. butter or sesame butter
1 egg (optional)
sesame seeds

1. In a medium saucepan combine the millet, water, salt, and cauliflower. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until all water is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
2. When done add the butter, stirring well.
At this point you can mash the millet with a potato masher and serve as a side dish.
3. Otherwise, allow to cool, then break and egg into the mixture and mix it into the millet thoroughly.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
5. Spray a baking pan with oil and place each burger on the pan. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
6. When done remove from oven and divide onto individual serving plates. Top with pesto and serve.

Chive Spinach Pesto

2 cups fresh chives, roughly chopped
4 cups fresh spinach, washed and dried
1-2 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts
1/2 cup avocado or extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste.

1. In a food processor puree the nuts until fine, but not paste.
2. Add the garlic and chop a bit more.
3. Add the chives and spinach and drizzle in the oil as the processor is running.
4. Add the salt and mix well. Great topping for pizza.

Delia Quigley is the Director of StillPoint Schoolhouse, where she teaches a holistic lifestyle designed to achieve optimal health and well being, based on her 28 years of study, experience and practice. She is the creator of the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, Cooking the Basics videos and classes, and Broken Bodies Yoga. Delia’s credentials include holistic nutritional counselor, natural foods chef, yoga instructor, energy therapist and public speaker.

Quigley is the author of seven books on health and nutrition, including:The Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, The Complete Idiots Guide to Detoxing Your Body, The Everything SuperFoods Book, and Empowering Your Life With Meditation, available on To view her website go to:

By Delia Quigley

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Mervi R.
Mervi R.5 years ago

Sounds great!

Beth L.
Beth L.6 years ago

This is really delicious. I add finally chopped onion and parsley to the millet mixture then use lecithin as binder to keep it vegan. The burgers freeze well.

One problem I have with the recipe is that the millet sometimes gets too soggy. I'm not sure if that's due to the soaking or boiling the millet in too much water.

Christine Robbins

All I can say is "wow". I am amazed that the sharing of a simple, delicious-sounding recipe sparks such a flurry of comments and a virtual argument about whether the term "burger" can be applied. Personally, I am in the "get over it" group. Life is too short to worry about such things. As for the subgroup, I put that into the same category. If one dissects things under too much magnification, one can end up isolating themselves from many things (and many people).
Namaste to all.

Hortense B.
Hortense B.6 years ago

Pay no attention to the mess behind the curtain: "Ebonics - Against, .... Racial Equality, and yet {proudly} speaks English only" (from her profile). Says volumes!

Hmmm, I wouldn't take comments seriously from someone who is obviously confused.

Cheryl, please learn the difference between opinions and facts. Why are you on this site with your attitude?

Michelle T.
Michelle T.6 years ago

I was reading the bits about the author at the end. Very surprised to see that anyone affiliated with Care2 would sell their wares on Amazon, who vehemently defends their right to sell dogfighting publications. As mom to 4 rescue pitbulls, I have boycotted Amazon ever since they started sending "we think you might be interested in this..." notices to me on dog fighting when I was looking for books on this breed / type of dog. Otherwise, the recipe sounds intersting.

Robert R.
Robert R.6 years ago

Seems like a fine recipe. I shall try it. I make my own pesto (traditional version, basil based), so this is an interesting alternative.

BTW -- I am a vegetarian since The Bicentennial (1976, for those historically challenged). I hope to die healthy!

Krista G.
Krista G.6 years ago

are you serious!? who cares! It's a recipe, its shaped like a burger, get over it! It looks delicious, I am going to try it- thanks for posting this! :)

JASMIN HORST S.6 years ago

You sure riled the "Meat Eaters Alliance" Delia,
in any case a Hamburger is neither, it is a buerger of a city in Germany ha, und wenn man Die richtig roested, schmecken Sie auch sehr gut, so they tell me.

Mary V.
Mary V.6 years ago

Cheryl get over it. A term becomes whatever the majority make it, and "veggie burger" has been around for over 25 years. The fact you care enough about this to argue it over and over shows you might need a Xanax or something.

Rhonda Hartweg
Rhonda H.6 years ago

A rose by any other name . . .

Does someone have the copyright on the word "burger"? If so, then lots of food and menu labels are in trouble. Vegeburger, Mushroom burger, black bean burger. And what about hot dogs? Looks like we've opened a can of worms. I guess that would be a wormburger. :)