Millet, my new favorite grain (and some recipes)

Quinoa has been a regular on the menu here for awhile along with gluten-free grains and flours like buckwheat.  Despite my love of whole grains, millet was a new one for me.  I discovered it through our study of grains in nutrition school and fell for it because of  its amazing diversity in the kitchen.

Millet takes on the flavor of whatever you’re preparing and works for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert.  It’s rich in iron, vitamin B3 and phosphorous.  Phosphorous helps the body metabolize fat, repairs tissue and boosts energy.

If you’re ready to give millet a try, it’s a great way to add a little variety to your cooking routine.  Try it in place of oatmeal at breakfast or pasta at dinner.  You can find in many health stores like Whole Foods or buy it online from Amazon or Vitacost.

Here are a few delicious recipes to get your started.

Honey Cinnamon Breakfast Millet

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of millet
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of raw hone
Directions: Bring the millet and water to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until water is absorbed.  About 15 minutes.  Spoon millet into a bowl and mix in the honey.  Sprinkle cinnamon on top and add nuts or berries if you’d like. Enjoy.

Winter Squash and Millet (recipe from Institute for Integrative Nutrition)

Ingredients:
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small acorn squash, peeled and cubed
  • 3 cups millet
  • 3 inch piece kombu, soaked (If you aren’t familiar with kombu it’s a sea vegetable.  Look for it near sushi or Japanese foods in your grocery store.)
  • 7 1/2 cups of water
Directions: In a large sauce pan, saute onion in oil until it’s browned.  Add squash and saute for 3 minutes.  Add millet and kombu and mix well.  Add water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover.  Cook for 30 minutes or until water evaporates.  Remove from heat, let stand a few minutes.  Fluff with fork, drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Ricotta Millet Pudding by Maria Speck (author of Ancient Grains for Modern Meals)

Ingredients:

Millet

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup millet
  • 2/3 cups nut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

Pudding

  • 1 1/2 cups part skim ricotta or vegan version
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 1/4 cup (or a little less) of granulated xylitol

Raspberry Compote

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries (no need to thaw)
  • 1/4 cup of honey

Directions:  To prepare the millet, bring the water and millet to a boil in a small saucepan. Decrease the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Combine the nut milk, vanilla, and salt in a small bowl and add to the millet. Return to a simmer, cover, and cook until the milk is absorbed, about 15 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover and cool to room temperature.

Once the millet has cooled, make the pudding. Place the ricotta, honey, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are well incorporated. Loosen the prepared millet with a fork and stir it into the ricotta mixture, breaking up any lumps.

In another large bowl, whip the cream with a handheld mixer, gradually adding the xylitol until medium-firm peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the ricotta-millet mixture in 3 additions. Divide the pudding among 6-8 serving dishes. Chill, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Make the raspberry compote when you’re getting ready to serve your pudding. Place the raspberries and honey in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, gently stirring occasionally to avoid crushing the berries, until the sauce is hot and the berries are just warmed through.  About 5-8 minutes.

Spoon some of the raspberry compote over the chilled ricotta pudding and serve.

Have you tried millet?  Do you have a favorite recipe?

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