Millet….Not just for the birds

Last week a friend asked me what millet is. I responded with all the knowledge that I had. It’s a whole grain that is gluten free.

I polled my co-workers – most didn’t know what millet is. Only one cooked with it and another used it in her bird feeder.

I decided I needed to know more about millet including how to cook it and different ways to enjoy it.
Millet is a staple in Asian and African cuisines but mainly used as animal feed and bird seed in North America.

Millet can be cooked and served similar to rice. It is a good source of B vitamins, iron and protein. One its own millet has a bland flavour but could be made into a salad (like a quinoa or couscous salad), served with a stir fry, curry or butter chicken. I have also found some recipes to make a hot breakfast cereal or granola. You could also add uncooked millet to the tops of muffins for a nice crunch.

Really any recipe that uses rice or quinoa you could substitute millet. To help add some variety into your diet and millet is a faction of the price.

For a dinner last week I made a tomato and cucumber salad with bocconcini and a simple balsamic vinaigrette. I took the leftovers for lunch and added ½ cup of millet – delicious!

How to cook millet

Measure 1 cup of millet into a saucepan and toast on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes or until it turned a golden brown and become fragrant.

Add two cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover pot and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed. 

Then remove pot from heat, keep covered and allow to sit for 10 minutes. This will allow the millet to absorb the remaining water.

Fluff with a fork and enjoy! 

Millet is bland and I personally would not eat it plain as a side but here are some ways I would include millet;
Shannon RD
Registered Dietitian