Monday, June 8, 2009

Cooking with millet-not just for the birds!

Millet is a whole grain used widely in India and Africa, but in the United States it is most commonly served to the birds! What are we missing out on? Millet is not only high in both B vitamins and fiber, but is also gluten-free so it can be enjoyed by those with celiac disease. A highly versatile grain, millet can be used in a pilaf as you would use rice, but when it is cooked with a larger amount of water it becomes creamier with a consistency much like mashed potatoes.

These savory millet patties are from an Eating Well recipe that I slightly adapted. I loved them as is, and enjoyed the slight lemony taste. My kids preferred dipping them in ketchup!

Note: The recipe stated that you could prepare the cakes and shape them into patties ahead of time (through step 4) and then cook them when you needed them. I prepared them ahead of time through step 5 and placed them in the refrigerator. Come dinnertime, it was easy to simply microwave them until they were hot.

Savory Millet Patties-adapted from Eating Well Magazine

1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup millet
1 clove garlic, minced
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (such as sea salt)
1/3 cup coarsely shredded zucchini
1/3 cup coarsely shredded carrot
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (finely grated)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1) Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 2-4 minutes. Stir in millet and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2) Add water and salt and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, for 20 minutes. Stir in zucchini, carrot, Parmesan, thyme, lemon zest, and pepper.

3) Cook, uncovered, maintaining a simmer and stirring often to keep the millet from sticking, until the mixture is soft, very thick and the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let stand covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover and let stand, stirring once or twice, until cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes.

4) With dampened hands, shape the millet mixture into 14 cakes or patties( each about 3 inches in diameter).

5) Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add 4 millet cakes and cook until the bottoms are browned, 3-5 minutes. Carefully turn the cakes with a wide spatula and cook until the other side is browned, 3-5 minutes more. Coat the pan with cooking spray again and cook the remaining cakes in batches, reducing the heat if necessary to prevent burning.

Makes 14 patties. Each patty is creditable for 1 bread/bread alternate serving for 3-5 year old children at any meal or snack.


  1. Is Millet readily available? I have not seen it at my local store, but then again I wasn't looking for it.


  2. Millet can be found at Whole Foods, Sunflower market, and I have even seen it at some King Soopers in the baking section.