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I wasn’t even aware of millet as a grain until I started going gluten free during my last pregnancy. Ditching wheat, rye, barley and oats opened up a lot of other grains to explore, such as quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and my current favorite – millet.

Millet is a very small grain thought to originate in Ethiopia. While this grain has been a staple in African, Asian and European diets in the past it is virtually unknown in the United States. While it is most commonly thought of for birdseed, it should be given a higher place at our tables.

Three Reasons You Should Eat Millet

It is very nutritious. Millet is a good source of B vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, manganese and phosphorous. See here and here for more information.

It is inexpensive. Below is a list of grains and their prices at our local bulk food store. These are all organic and you can see that millet is the least expensive of all of the gluten-free grains.

  • Soft white wheat $1.59/lb.
  • Millet $1.69/lb.
  • Brown rice $2.00/lb.
  • Amaranth $2.79/lb.
  • Quinoa $3.25/lb.

It is delicious. Millet has a very mild, slightly nutty flavor. I find that it is akin to brown rice in that it melds very well with all sorts of flavors. I find quinoa and amaranth to be very strong flavors. Quinoa is such a strong flavor that my husband only likes it when you can’t taste it. Millet is much different and works very well as an accompaniment to protein and vegetables, in soups and stews, in casseroles and as a breakfast porridge. It’s also great ground into flour, though I find fresh ground to be much tastier than store-bought. The store-bought has a much more bitter flavor.

Recipes

Here are some of my favorite recipes for millet:

  • Basic millet. Simply soak millet overnight with equal parts water and 1 T. acidic medium per cup of grain or water. In the morning, dump millet with soaking water into a pan and add as much water as the amount of millet you originally started with. Cook as you would oatmeal or rice. I like to serve this for breakfast with any combination of butter, milk, honey, nuts, seeds and fruit. It is also good as a replacement for rice in just about any savory meal.
  • Autumn millet bake. I could seriously eat this all day long. Breakfast especially.
  • Millet biscuits.
  • Millet dumplings as a pot pie topping.

Have you tried millet? What are your favorite uses for this grain?