If you have ever bought a bag of bird seed…surprise, you have purchased millet though I would not recommend cooking up a pot of birdseed. This tiny seed has been a staple in asian diets for thousands of years and it is for good reason.Nutty, earthy millet can be considered an ancient grain as it has been used in African, Asian and Indian cultures for thousands of years and has not been modified like many modern grains. It is inexpensive (less than $2/pound), gluten free and packed with nutrients like magnesium and fiber.
Millet is available at healthy food stores like Whole Foods and can be found in the bulk section. It can also be found in flour form which is a wonderful for baking. When purchasing and storing millet, make sure the grain is kept in an airtight container so it is free of moisture.
Cooking millet is easy and we love it’s versatility. Depending on the amount of liquid you use in cooking the consistency of the final product can be creamy like polenta or light and fluffy like rice . Millet can be used in hot cereals, savory side-dishes and baked goods.
Basic Cooking Instructions:
- Add 1 part millet 2 parts liquid to a pot. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. For a creamier texture just stir the millet every 5 minutes or so and add extra liquid gradually throughout the cooking process up to a 3:1 liquid to grain ratio.
Millet Mashers (serves 4)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup millet
- 2 cups cauliflower, chopped
- 3 cups water or low sodium vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and sauté the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt until tender (2-3 minutes). Add the millet and toast for 1-2 minutes. Add the cauliflower and liquid, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until millet is tender. Remove the pan from the heat, season with salt and pepper and mash. Add chives, mash to combine and serve.
Millet Breakfast Cereal (serves 4)
- 1 cup millet
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup pear, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons slices almonds
- 4 teaspoon honey or maple, divided
Combine millet, water, apple, cranberries and cinnamon in a pot. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low to simmer for 25 minutes or until tender. Serve with a garnish or almond slices and a drizzle of agave or honey.
Katie Cavuto MS, RD