At closer look I found out a few very interesting things about millet:
- It is a grain-like plant, the edible portion being the seeds.
- Millet is a significant part of the diet in parts of Asia and Africa.
- This crop does well in hot dry climates, where wheat and rice might not.
- Just like the trendy seed quinoa, it is suitable for people following a gluten-free diet.
- These seeds are made up of nearly 15% protein, along with being high in fiber, and containing minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
- If you don't end up liking millet, you can serve it up in your backyard bird feeder or make beanbags with it.
After my first experience with millet I have decided that I will not be using it as bird seed. Millet can be eaten porridge-style for breakfast, it shines as a substitute for rice and other grains in side dishes, it is a common wheat substitute in gluten-free breads, and it can also be made into sweet dishes like pudding. Now I just wonder why a grain with such potential to appear in any meal of the day, and even dessert, doesn't get more press.
I have only just begun experimenting with millet in my kitchen, but I am off to a great start with this Spicy Mexi Millet (thanks Jessy!). This dish is like Spanish rice, and it is great as a hearty side dish. I stuffed peppers with it one night, and another night served it burrito-style atop sauteed cabbage with a drizzle of queso and avocado slices.
I think this is the start of a beautiful relationship.
Spicy Mexi Millet
(adapted from happyveganface)
½ cup uncooked millet1 cup water
1 cup cooked black beans (or pinto or kidney beans)
1 green pepper, diced small
1 small yellow onion, diced small
1 carrot, grated1 large tomato, diced small
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
1/2 fresh jalapeno, seeded, finely diced
juice from ½ a lime
Place dry millet in a small pot and toast over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Add in the water and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer about 15-18 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed.
Spray a large skillet generously with cooking spray, and heat over medium high. Toss in the green pepper and onions and saute for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir in garlic and jalapenos, and saute for another minute. Mix in your beans, carrots, and spices and cook for another 2 minutes. Last, stir in the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the cooked millet to the skillet, stir in the lime juice and tomato paste, and serve.
Makes about 5-6 side dish servings, or stuffs an equal amount of peppers or tortillas.