Teff is the smallest grain in the world – the size of a poppy seed – but a nutritional powerhouse with 1/4 cup of dry teff providing 7 grams of protein, 4 grams of dietary fiber along with iron and calcium. With a mild nutty flavor, teff can be used to make a hot cereal, added to homemade vegie or bean burgers for a nutritional boost, formed into a polenta-like patty, or used in baked goods. A gluten-free grain, teff flour can also be used to make pancakes,waffles, and baked goods making teff especially popular for those who seek alternative grains to wheat. Read more
Millet – and specifically pearl millet – is a widely grown grass that gives off small grain seeds which are hulled and used as a cereal food. Creamy or yellow in color, round, and small, the tiny circular grains of millet hail from Asia where it has been cultivated for more than 10,000 years.
Able to grow quickly in dry, high temperatures, millet has until recently been used as an ingredient in bird seed in developed countries (but it’s really not for the birds as USAID recently – July, 2013 – awarded Kansas State University nearly $14 million dollars to research millet and sorghum). Millet is gluten-free and a complete protein, with 1/4 cup of dry millet providing 7 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, magnesium, calcium, B6, iron, folate, and zinc. Read more
Sorghum is a small circular grain that is often referred to as the traditional grain of India although it originated in Africa thousands of years ago. Popular in geographic areas that can be prone to drought, sorghum is hearty and has a chewy texture making it a staple grain in India and Africa. The flavor is neutral although some varieties are slightly sweet which allows spices and seasoning to shine through in a dish. In the west, sorghum is more often cooked and then added to soups, salads or used as an alternative to rice in recipes although more recently sweet sorghum flour has become a popular ingredient in gluten-free recipes. Read more
For many years, the extent of my relationship with lentils was limited to lentil soup which never seemed to have as much flavor as a bean and vegetable soup and was certainly not as appetizing to look at. Then, while shopping in a small grocery store, I noticed bags of multi-colored lentils which intrigued me as I always thought lentils were limited to either the little French dark green puy variety or the big hearty American version. Read more