Millet and Quinoa Both Supply
Great Nutrients!

Millet and Quinoa in tubs, side by side

Do Millet and Quinoa Need to be Cooked Before Eating?

Both millet and quinoa need to be cooked before eating. Cooking makes these grains easier to digest and brings out their full flavor and texture.

MILLET: The grains should be rinsed thoroughly before cooking to remove any debris or dust. Millet can be toasted in a dry pan to enhance the nutty flavor before boiling. It is typically cooked with a 2:1 liquid-to-millet ratio, similar to rice. Bring the liquid to a boil, add the millet, then simmer covered for 15-20 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork before serving.

QUINOA: It's important to rinse the grains first to remove the natural bitter coating called saponin. Saponin is a natural pesticide that protects the grain from insects and birds.

Toast the quinoa in a dry pan for 1-2 minutes to bring out the nuttiness. Combine the quinoa with liquid using a 1:2 quinoa to liquid ratio. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes, until the grains become translucent and the germ separates. Fluff with a fork before serving.

For added flavor, try cooking millet and quinoa in vegetable or chicken broth. When properly cooked, they are eaten hot as a grain side dish, or added cold to salads. They are made into porridge, or even included in desserts. Following proper cooking methods brings out their best texture and flavor.

All About Millet and Quinoa

but first... Millet

Though lesser known today among North American palates, millet is an ancient cereal grain that has served as a foundational crop and essential nutritional source across Africa and Asia for thousands of years.

Believed to have first been domesticated in the dry Sahel region of East Africa over 5,000 years ago, millet grew well in arid climates with low rainfall, thriving where other staple crops like wheat and rice fell short.

Thanks to its resilience, high productivity per area of land, and versatile usage, millet quickly spread from East Africa to India, China, and the rest of Asia where it became a dietary pillar. It remains an essential food staple in those regions today.

China alone accounts for almost half of global millet production, using both the grain itself and its straw as livestock fodder. Millet stands as the sixth most cultivated grain globally.

Major millet varieties include pearl millet, finger millet, and proso millet, among others. The small yellow or white seeds, under 3mm in diameter, come packed in nutrient density and have versatile preparation methods - baked into bread, mashed into porridge, malted into beer, fermented in wine, or puffed and flaked as a breakfast cereal.

It's for the Birds!

Beyond human consumption, millet also serves uses as animal fodder and birdseed thanks to its productive growing capacity across a range of harsh environments - dry, hot, low soil fertility.

Drought resistant millet plants reach up to 10 feet high and bear grain-rich seed heads heavy enough to droop under their bounty of cereal yield.

Budgerigars eating millet sprigs

Image by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay

As a kid I used to have a budgie* named Mickey who used to have millet on the sprig pushed through his birdcage bars! He'd get those seeds everywhere!

Birds like to eat millet because it is a good source of protein and other nutrients. Additionally, the small size of the grain makes it easy for birds to eat.

*The full name for a "budgie" is budgerigar, a similar bird to a parakeet.

Millet's Nutrition Info.

VITAMINS: Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), B6 (Pyridoxine) and B9 (Folate). Plus Vitamin E.

MINERALS: Phosphorus, Magnesium, Copper, Zinc, Iron, and Manganese.

When cooked, millet has a fluffy texture and a mildly sweet flavor. It can be used in a variety of dishes, including pilafs, casseroles, and soups. Millet is a good choice for people who are looking for a gluten-free grain option. It is also suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

The protein content in millet is comparable to both flour and wheat.

Add Millet to Soups and Cauliflower Mash

Millet is an important ingredient in our diets. I add it to my soups and cauliflower mash.

I also use millet (and quinoa) in my super-tasty and delicious chicken chow dog food recipe.

I do rinse the millet in a fine sifter under running cool water before use, although it doesn't have the bitterness of quinoa.

I keep the millet in a plastic container for daily/weekly use. When it's time to refill, I scoop it out of the big plastic bags that it ships in. It's easier for me this way.

... and finally, Quinoa

Just like millet, quinoa has also been around for centuries. Quinoa's protein content is very high—between 12% to 18%!

Note: Quinoa is pronounced 'keen-wah.' 

While quinoa has become a trendy 'supergrain' in recent years, especially across North America, Europe, and Australia, it was first domesticated and cultivated in the Andean mountain regions of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Chile thousands of years ago.

Archaeologists have traced early quinoa cultivation by the Inca Empire back to as early as 3000 BCE around Lake Titicaca basin.

The ancient Incas referred to quinoa as the ‘mother grain’ for the way its resilient seeds fueled and nourished their civilizations amidst harsh mountain terrain with frequent droughts, bitter cold, and rocky soil beds inhospitable to other staple grains.

In fact, in the Incan language of Quechua, ‘quinoa’ translates to ‘the sacred mother grain.’ Through innovative growing techniques like dibble sticks to plant seeds and llama bone fertilizer, generations of Quechua tribe members selectively bred a diverse array of quinoa varieties tailored to microclimates up and down the steep Andes mountains.

However, when Spanish colonists arrived in South America, they scorned quinoa as 'peasant food' associated with indigenous pagan ceremonies and actively suppressed its usage. Only in recent decades has global appreciation resurged for quinoa as a gluten-free superfood boasting exceptional nutritional properties thanks to its ancestral mountain beginnings.

🍍 🍎 🥦 🥔  🍒 🧄

20 Taste-Tested EASY Recipes - eBook or paperback

actually, there are 26 recipes!

The recipes also include the
food ingredient amounts to use
when you have fresh food on hand!

Here's How to Make EASY
MEALS with Dried Food

Recipe Book

🍕 Pizza!      🥧  Shepherd's Pie!
🥘  Beef Stew!

plus Cauliflower Soup and
Cauliflower Mash, along
with crazy Carrot Soup!

Carrot Cake and
Cranberry Pineapple Pie!
and more...

🍍 🍎 🥦 🥔  🍒 🧄

Here's How to Make EASY
MEALS with Dried Food

Recipe Book

20 Taste-Tested EASY Recipes - eBook or paperback

actually, there are 26 recipes!

🍕 Pizza!
🥧  Shepherd's Pie!
🥘  Beef Stew!

plus Cauliflower Soup and Cauliflower Mash, along with crazy Carrot Soup!

Decadent Desserts:

Carrot Cake and Cranberry Pineapple Pie and more...

The recipes also include the food ingredient amounts to use when you have fresh food on hand!

Use Quinoa in a Variety of Dishes...

Quinoa can be used in a variety of dishes, including salads, soups, and casseroles. It can also be cooked and eaten as a hot cereal.

The good news is that quinoa is also gluten-free, so it makes it easier to digest for many folks.

I use quinoa in my cauliflower mash as mentioned earlier and in many soups to add an excellent source of protein. Quinoa (along with millet) is also added to my "Make Your Own Dog Food" recipe also mentioned above and can be found here: chicken chow dog food.

Quinoa's Nutrition Info.

VITAMINS: Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), and B9 (Folate).

and MINERALS: Manganese, Phosphorus, Copper, Iron, Zinc, and Magnesium.

PLEASE: Rinse Quinoa Before Cooking

As mentioned, you must rinse quinoa before use due to its bitter coating, and I use a sieve just like the one shown in the above image.

Simply rinse the quinoa under cool water in a fine sifter. The sifter (or sieve) I use is from and is a #50 Mrs. Anderson Sieve, 9-inch diameter

Deets from Fantes:

  • Mrs. Anderson's Tamis Mesh Sifter, or Drum Sieve, for removing and breaking up clumps from ingredients before baking or cooking
  • Sift and aerate powdered ingredients, like flour, crushed spices, and confectioners' sugar, for lighter, fluffier baked goods
  • Sieve pastes and purees for smoother, creamier sauces and soups; no more lumps
  • 18/8 Stainless steel frame and 16-count fine-wire stainless mesh

This extra fine sifter can also be used to dust your baked goods with powdered sugar.

Thanks for stopping by my millet and quinoa page!