Brown rice, wheat pasta, rinse, repeat. When your repertoire of whole grains falls short, it’s time to opt for something…ancient? Yes! Ancient grains like millet can give your meals a makeover while giving your body extra benefits.
Mentions of millet are found in the Bible, but this grain is fairly new to our modern plate. That’s because millet was primarily used as birdseed when it was first introduced to America. But we were missing out! Thanks to its nutty flavor and versatile texture, it’s making a comeback (for people)!
Not convinced you should eat “bird food?” First, it’s every bit as healthy as our go-to grains. These golden seeds are naturally gluten-free and a good source of insoluble fiber, as well as magnesium, which reduces inflammation, supports the nervous system, and regulates blood sugar.
Millet is as easy to make as quinoa or rice. And like quinoa, there are many ways to enjoy it:
- Serve as an alternative to popular grains.
- Make pilaf with butter or oil and aromatics.
- Substitute millet for rice for a spin on stir-fry.
- Cook it down for a warming porridge or congee.
- Combine it with ground beef or vegetarian protein and tomato sauce, and use the mixture to stuff peppers.
Once you know the basics, you can get creative with your meals. For starters, try this step-by-step method to make a simple millet side.
How to Make Millet
1. Shake it up. Measure one cup of millet and pour it into a colander. Rinse, shaking carefully a few times to drain out the excess water. Transfer to a pot.
2. Get toasty. Over medium heat, toast the seeds just until dry. The seeds will omit a nutty aroma.
3. Pour over. Add 2 cups of water or stock, and season the millet with a few pinches of salt if desired.
4. Make it bubbly. Bring to a boil. Then, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
5. Fluff up. Let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
6. Go off script. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, or try a dab of butter or a few tablespoons of oil, and some fresh herbs, like minced parsley. Alternately, heat some chopped shallots in oil, add the cooked millet, and season to taste.