So what is Millet? Millet is a gluten free grain that can be used as a nutritious part of a meal or as a great gluten free substitute for wheat based pasta or bread and it is delicious. Millet consists of small round seeds with a nutty flavor. With the Gluten crisis seemingly over taking the United States everyone is on the hunt for great gluten substitutes. Millet is one of many ancient grains that can be used in place of wheat heavy carbohydrates. Other healthy and nutritious options include Amaranth, Spelt and Quinoa. All three of these options are high in protein, Iron, and fiber.
There are many ways to prepare this ancient grain that has been eaten and cultivated in Asia for over 10,000 years. It can be cooked like rice, it can be roasted or prepared in a creamy fashion similar to mashed potatoes and is great for breakfast.
It is extremely high in nutritional value unlike many gluten based foods. It also offers much higher sources of fiber, minerals and antioxidants than wheat based products and is said to defend against gallstones. It also supports cardiovascular health, is vegetarian and is delicious.
Millet is also sustainable and supports developing nations. It has a very short growing season, thrives in high temperature areas and needs little water for productive yield. It has been a staple in human history especially in Asia and Africa. The number one producer of Millet is India followed by Nigeria. Although it has not fully caught on in the US yet, it is a staple food of most counties around the world due it is versatility, low cost, easy to cultivate and nutritional value.
Of course we can not forget to mention that it is often the primary ingredient in bird seed, but this should not deter you from enjoying such a healthy seed. It is also a wonderful grazing crop for sheep and cattle.
In a 100 gram serving size of Millet you will find about 378 calories, about 20% of your daily value of protein, dietary fiber, it contains several B vitamins, minerals and 76% of your daily manganese. It does contain healthy fats, about 4.2 grams. 11 grams of protein is a very solid source for a non meat, vegetarian option. It does have less protein then quinoa, but we cant eat the same grain for every meal!
The most exciting part of millet to me is that you can make millet bread that is just delicious. Millet Bread is not something you can typically find in a grocery store, but is certainly worth trying to bake at home if you are or if you have any family members who have gluten intolerance. The proteins in Millet are very similar to wheat, but of course without the gluten and much easier to digest. The Millet Flour results in a light, fluffy, very palatable white bread. You can find Millet Bread recipes in the recipes page of this site. Hopefully you have a better idea of what is millet now.