In light of the gluten-free frenzy and the growing concern over arsenic in rice, I’d like to introduce you to a grain that I suspect you’re less familiar with, unless you happen to have a pet bird.
Millet is a staple grain for nearly one third of the world’s population, yet it’s grown mostly for fodder and birdseed in the United States. Fun fact: it’s often used as the filler in bean bags.
It’s a shame that we relegate millet to birds and bean bags because it’s a good source of iron, B vitamins, magnesium, and protein. Plus, millet is naturally gluten-free, HOWEVER it appears that millet is prone to cross contamination so people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity should choose millet that is labeled "gluten-free."
Millet can be prepared like rice by boiling it in water or broth. Cook millet at a ratio of one cup millet to two and a half cups liquid for about 25 to 35 minutes, stirring frequently.
You can also use ground millet as flour in breads and cakes. In India, millet is often used to make roti (an Indian bread).
Millet has a mild flavor so it goes well with seasonings, strong-flavored vegetables, stews and chili. It’s also terrific as a hot cereal with added fruit and spices. But, my favorite millet recipe is this incredible spinach millet dip.
Look for millet the next time you’re at your local health food store or Asian market.