Millet is a nutritious, versatile and gluten-free food: here's how to cook it to add it to your daily diet
- What's this
- Nutritional values
- How to cook it
Millet (Panicum miliaceum) is a cereal used in nutrition in the form of hulled and pearled grains, flakes and flours. The millet plant is a herbaceous belonging to the Graminaceae or Poaceae family characterized by an erect stem that can reach one and a half meters in height, long-limbed leaves and inflorescences about twenty centimeters long. Millet seeds are consumed which are rich in proteins, minerals and B vitamins, as well as carbohydrates and fiber. It is a nutritious, easily digestible food, whose consumption is particularly indicated in case of digestive problems, stomach acidity and gastroesophageal reflux or intestinal inflammation. Since millet is naturally gluten-free, this cereal can become part of the daily diet of celiac people, who can enjoy it in grains for lunch and dinner, in flakes for breakfast or use its flour to prepare pasta and dough for the bread.
In addition to food, millet is also used in the formulation of food supplements in capsules or tablets, recommended for strengthening hair, nails and bones.
Calories and nutrients
A serving of millet – equal to 80 grams – provides the body with 274 calories, given by 51.9 grams of carbohydrates, 9.4 grams of protein and 3.1 grams of fat. Being a food of plant origin, millet does not contain cholesterol. Millet also provides 6.8 grams of fiber and 8.6 grams of water per serving, useful for intestinal well-being. Although it is a cereal, millet is gluten-free, so its consumption is also suitable for people suffering from celiac disease. As far as proteins are concerned, millet provides a good protein intake but is poor in some essential amino acids including lysine, a deficiency that can be easily overcome by consuming this cereal with a portion of legumes.
Vitamins and minerals
As for minerals, one serving of millet provides 228 milligrams of phosphorus, 156 of potassium, 6 of calcium, 4 of sodium and 2.4 of iron. The vitamins present in millet are mainly those belonging to group B and, in particular, niacin, thiamin and riboflavin.
How to cook it
Before cooking millet in your favorite recipes, it must be thoroughly washed in cold water. The millet is washed by immersing the beans in a basin of cold water and stirring, and then changing the water. The millet must be rinsed several times until the water is no longer cloudy. This will eliminate any residual dust, dirt and slag.
After finishing the washing operation, you can pour the millet into a pot with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and toast the beans for a few minutes over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. Roasting, in addition to enhancing the flavor of millet, reduces cooking times. While carrying out this step it is advisable to bring a pot of water equal to twice the volume of millet to a boil. When the water boils, add a handful of salt and toasted millet grains and lower the heat. If you use burners, it is a good idea to place a metal net between the flame and the pan, so as to better distribute the heat. The millet will be cooked in about twenty minutes, after which it can be seasoned to taste or used in the preparation of various recipes. After cooking, in fact, millet can be added to vegetables and legumes cooked separately or used to make croquettes. If you want to use millet to prepare soups, after roasting it can be cooked directly with the vegetables in water, calculating the different cooking times.
Let's see some simple recipes to introduce millet into our diet.
- 250 grams of cooked millet
- an egg
- two tablespoons of flour
- three tablespoons of fresh parsley
- a clove of garlic
- bread crumbs
- oil, salt
Cook the millet as indicated above and let it cool, then mash it with a fork and place it in a bowl. Add a beaten egg, chopped parsley, very finely chopped garlic, flour and salt. Knead with your hands to mix the ingredients and, if the mixture is moist, add breadcrumbs a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Then form croquettes with your hands, bread them and fry them in boiling oil until they are golden brown. Alternatively, you can cook the millet croquettes in the oven, brushing them with a little oil. Cooking in the oven takes about 20 minutes at 180 ° C. Serve with sautéed vegetables and legumes.
Millet with vegetables
- 300 grams of cooked millet
- 500 grams of seasonal vegetables
- an onion
- extra virgin olive oil, salt
In a large pan, sauté a thinly sliced onion in two to three tablespoons of hot oil. Add the cleaned vegetables, choosing from the seasonal ones. In spring and summer you can opt, for example, for zucchini, peppers and aubergines, while during autumn and winter it is better to choose leeks, squash and mushrooms. Add half a glass of water and a pinch of salt and cook with the lid on until the vegetables are soft (usually 15-20 minutes over medium heat). Remove the lid, evaporate any remaining water over medium-high heat and add the previously cooked millet. Add aromatic herbs to taste: sage, oregano, marjoram, basil, according to your tastes.
Sweet cream with millet flakes
- 30 grams of millet flakes
- a glass of milk
- 100 grams of seasonal fruit
Heat the milk on the stove without bringing it to a boil. Add the millet flakes and cook for about five minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the diced fresh fruit. Choose fruit that is in season or, if out of season, dehydrated. Sweeten with a teaspoon of honey and enjoy the cream at breakfast or during snacks, warm or cold.
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