Going on a gluten-free diet gives you the opportunity to explore ingredients you may never have otherwise discovered, and millet is one such ingredient. Millet is a food staple among populations in Asia and Africa, but is typically far off the radar of an American diet until becoming gluten-free brings it to your attention.
Often used in birdseed, millet is an ingredient that imparts nutritious properties and culinary versatility to gluten-free cuisine and baking. Bland in flavor and similar in appearance to corn meal, millet is well suited for adding sweet or savory flavors to a variety of dishes, including snacks. Millet is versatile in texture and can be fluffy for pilafs and moist and sticky for porridges and polenta. When used as flour, it adds texture and fiber to baked goods.
Millet comes in the following forms: hulled for cooking, grits/meal, flour, and even puffed for a unique cereal option. Millet is high in protein and features many nutrients including vitamin B, copper, iron, phosphorus, and manganese.
In her cookbook Whole Grains Every Day Every Way, Lorna Sass explores all of the gluten-free grains, but gives millet in particular some well-deserved attention. Sass’ culinary flair makes this seemingly dull and flavorless ingredient take a commanding presence in an array of recipe suggestions, including using buttermilk and chives to create a savory alternative to mashed potatoes and coating puffed millet in chocolate for a sweet and crunchy delight.