Photo courtesy of jugalbandi.info
Use organic, whole grains daily to add protein, fiber and several minerals to your diet without much fuss or cost. One great tip I found in Awakening Beauty the Dr. Hauschka Way is to choose a type of grain each week, be it amaranth, millet, quinoa or another, and fix a big pot of it. It will keep in the fridge all week and it’s ready to be tossed into meals as you’re fixing them.
Rotating your grains provides a greater variety of nutrients, as well as reduces the chances of developing an allergy or intolerance due to over-exposure. This week we’ll look at millet!
Millet is one of the smallest grains and has a mild flavor. It contains high amounts of magnesium, B Vitamins, and 6 grams of protein per serving. (For more on it’s history and health benefits, check out The World’s Healthiest Foods). This grain can be boiled, roasted, popped, and creamed.
The consistency of millet can vary according to these three cooking methods from the Whole Grains Council:
- Fluffy Millet – toast 1 cup millet for 4-6 minutes in a dry pan then add 2 ¼ cups boiling water, simmer 13-18 minutes, then let stand 10 minutes.
- Sticky Millet – Bring 1 cup millet to a boil in 2 ¾ cups water, simmer for 13-18 minutes, then let stand 10 minutes. Sticky millet can be molded in croquettes and patties.
- Creamy Millet – Grind 1 cup millet in a spice grinder. Bring 5 cups water to a boil, then gradually whisk in millet. Cover, lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 to 30 minutes until grits are tender. Makes a great porridge or polenta.
One great way to incorporate new grains into your diet is to fit them into a meal plan that is designed around your family’s favorite cuisines. For example, around our house Monday is for “comfort” food, so to add in millet we might have chicken, millet croquettes, and sauteed veggies. Tuesday’s Mexican menu would include the Mexican millet, refried beans and toppings such as sour cream, salsa and guacamole. Wednesdays are the day I go to the Farmer’s Market, and we enjoy a vegetable plate with bread. We’ll try the “mashed potatoes”, mix a bit of millet into our cornbread batter, and serve alongside a couple of fresh, sauteed vegetables. On Thursday we’ll have Oriental food, and that Thai millet salad listed below sounds tasty! A mild chicken curry rounds out this meal for us. Friday is for fish/seafood, and we’ll try the flat bread as an accompaniment. On the weekends I like to have an assortment of soups, salads and sandwiches that everyone can fix and eat on their own, and this weekend’s choices will include the millet and vegetable soup and falafel on pita bread.
Here are a few ideas for incorporating millet into your meals this week:
- Porridge – Use the recipe listed above to cream millet and turn into a porridge. Add butter and pepper, or for a sweet flavor add honey and fruit.
- Pancakes – These are gluten-free and allergy friendly!
- Mexican Millet – Add refried beans for a simple, easy meal, or use it as a side dish.
- Falafel - Can be eaten alone or as a pita sandwich with cucumbers and tomatoes.
- Millet and Vegetable Soup – adjust according to your seasonal vegetables
- Thai Millet Salad – sounds great as-is, or add chicken for extra protein
- “Mashed Potatoes” – pureed millet and cauliflower substitute for potatoes
- Millet Cornmeal Bread – 1 part ground millet to 2 parts cornmeal
- Bajra Roti – a flat bread that is a staple in India, might be good with the falafel!
- Millet Croquettes – pre-soak millet for at least 7 hours before making these
What millet recipes have you tried?
Lauren spends her days with Jeff and their new baby Jasper, sneaking in a bit of yoga and horseback riding whenever she can.