The low-carb diet may be out, but the gluten-free diet is in—which means many people are still avoiding grains, even if they don’t have to. But there are some nutrient-dense grains that offer flavor and nutrition without compromising health and millet is one of them.
What is Millet?
Millet is a gluten-free, easily digested whole grain that can be consumed by people who are allergic to just about everything else. It is one of the oldest foods known to humankind. Millet is a wonder-grain of sorts—it grows in a semi-arid climate and can grow from seed to harvest in as little as 65 days. It can even grow in poorly fertilized soil. The grain grows in hard, indigestible hulls and must be hulled before consumption. The germ stays in tact during hulling process so millet retains its high nutrient value.
Millet has a mildly sweet, nutty flavor. The gluten-free grain is not acid forming, which makes it easy to digest. Millet is a nutritional powerhouse; it’s high in
- B vitamins (niacin, folate, thiamin, riboflavin)
- Minerals (iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc)
- Essential amino acids (methionine, lecithin, vitamin E)
- Phytochemicals (phytic acid, which lowers cholesterol and phytate, which reduces risk of cancer)
Millet is prepared like rice—by mixing three parts water or stock with one part grain and then simmering covered until the grain absorbs the water. Millet cooks much faster than rice, in about 20 minutes. Presoaking the millet can reduce the cooking time by five to ten minutes.
Millet can be prepared as a side dish or as part of casseroles, soups, stews, pilaf, or stuffing. It is also delicious as a warm breakfast cereal. Dry toasting millet prior to cooking it will bring out its nutty flavor.
Millet can also be sprouted or it can be milled into flour. Millet flour is good for delicate baked treats that have a thin, buttery crust. Some gluten-free bakers use millet flour to produce delicious breads for people who usually can’t eat bread.
Millet is a versatile grain that is delicious in both savory and sweet recipes. It serves as a wonderful base for any type of salad or stuffing or can also be cooked with vanilla, honey, cinnamon, and coconut milk for a delicious sweet pudding.
Add Millet to the Menu
If you haven’t tried this simple, delicious grain, consider replacing the rice on your menu with millet next time. The nutritional powerhouse will add a delicious twist to your meal.