As you may know, quinoa and millet are great superfoods that are perfect for not only those on a gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan diet but for anyone looking for a more nutritious, low-carb option. They tend to look closely similar so how are they different? Let’s get to know them, shall we?
Both these gluten-free grains are incredibly versatile and are great alternatives for non-meat sources of protein – you can use them in salads, porridges, sides and more! They are good sources of protein and fibre so they’ll keep you feeling satiated for longer.
Quinoa vs Millet – What’s The Difference?
Known as the ‘mother grain’, quinoa is actually a pseudo-cereal or seed and not quite a grain as many would think. Its pseudo-cereal peers are buckwheat and amaranth. You have probably seen the white quinoa in stores but there are actually three different types of quinoa – white, black and red. The white variant has a light and fluffy texture when cooked whereas the other types have a slightly nuttier and richer taste compared to its regular, earthy taste. Like millet, quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein and fibre.
The major nutritional difference between quinoa and millet is their amino acid profiles – quinoa is a complete protein whereas millet is not. Quinoa provides all the 9 essential amino acids that our body cannot produce on its own.
Millet appears as small, round yellow balls with close resemblance to birdseeds. It has a high nutrient content, and is an easily digestible alkaline grain with the least allergenic compounds. It is rich in vitamin B complex and packed with protein. Its fibre content helps with weight management, digestion and can help prevent constipation. With a good dose of calcium, it helps maintain healthy bones and your pearly whites. Consuming millet keeps your skin healthy, reduces wrinkles, discolouration and pigmentation.
Quintessential Quinoa Recipes
This super versatile South American seed cultivated in the Andes mountains considered as ‘the mother grain’ has been incorporated into both sweet and savoury meals in many cuisines across the world. For some quinoa-spiration, here are two healthy and delicious quinoa recipes for you to try at home!
Broccoli Quinoa Casserole
Looking for a healthier choice of casserole? Try this creamy, cheesy and crunchy casserole packed with proteins and a healthy amount of fats!
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 1 head of broccoli, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- ⅓ cup of bread crumbs (optional)
- 3 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
- Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 2 cups of milk
- 1 ½ cups of shredded cheese
- ⅓ cup of Greek yoghurt
- Preheat oven to 125°C. Lightly oil or coat baking dish (preferably 9”x13”) with a non-stick spray.
- Cook quinoa in a large saucepan. Within the last 5 minutes of cooking, add broccoli on top and steam until cooked through.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and coat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toast bread crumbs for approximately 3 minutes, and set aside.
- Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cook chicken breasts in skillet until cooked through for approximately 3-4 minutes each side. Let chicken breasts cool before slicing into bite-sized pieces.
- Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour until lightly browned while gradually whisking in milk. Stir until a thick consistency forms.
- Stir in quinoa, broccoli, chicken, cheese and Greek yoghurt into skillet and season to taste.
- Spread mixture onto the prepared baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake until cheese has melted for approximately 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately - and sprinkle with extra toasted bread crumbs if you want more crunch!
Roasted Shrimp Quinoa Spring Rolls
Cooking quinoa does not have to be boring - and they certainly can be deliciously healthy. These roasted shrimp spring rolls dipped in spicy peanut butter sauce is proof!
- ½ kg of peeled and deveined medium shrimp
- 1 head chopped lettuce
- 1 ½ cups of cooked quinoa
- 1 julienned cucumber
- 1 peeled and julienned carrot
Spicy Peanut Butter Sauce:
- ¼ cup of peanut butter
- ¼ cup of water
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (or any other spicy seasoning)
- Preheat oven to 200°C. Coat baking tray with oil or non-stick spray.
- For the dipping sauce, whisk peanut butter, water, soy sauce and Sriracha sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
- Place shrimps in the oven, roast until pink, firm and cooked through for approximately 6-8 minutes. Let shrimps cool before slicing in half.
- Wet rice paper for 10 seconds at a time, transfer to a work surface and start placing the filling - place lettuce leaf in the centre of each paper, top with 2 tablespoons of quinoa, 3 slices of cucumber and carrots, and 3 shrimp halves.
- Gently wrap the filling; start from the bottom edge, wrap towards the center over the filling, fold the sides, and roll from the bottom to the top until sealed nicely. Repeat with remaining rice paper and filling!
- Serve immediately with spicy peanut butter sauce.
Marvellous Millet Recipes
Millet is a type of grain incorporated in several cuisines around the world and is increasingly popular in the United States, China, India, and Ethiopia. Check out these two easy recipes you can make with millet!
Hot Breakfast Millet
Credit: A Better, Happier St. Sebastian
Looking for alternative whole grains for a porridge? Try this healthy, simple and delicious classic porridge with millet!
- ½ cup of raw millet (soaked the night before)
- 1½ cups of water
- ¼ salt
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- Fresh bite-sized fruits
- Chopped almonds or pecans
- Agave nectar or pure maple syrup
- Boil water, butter and millet in a saucepan.
- Turn heat to low, and simmer for approximately 20-25 minutes until millet is a thick cereal-like consistency.
- Top with desired fruits such as berries, bananas or apples and drizzle porridge with agave nectar or maple syrup for natural sweetness. Your choices of toppings are endless – simply use whatever you fancy!
Greek Stuffed Peppers
Credit: Edible Perspective
Stuffed peppers are not only aesthetically pleasing, they are delicious and highly nutritious too! Try this recipe with a touch of Greek flavours - fresh and zesty, yum!
- 1 cup of raw millet
- 1 cup of vegetable stock (opt for low sodium)
- 1 cup of water
- 4 (halved and de-seeded) red bell peppers
- ¾ cup of chopped red onion
- 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
- 1½ cups of chickpeas
- ½ cup of olives and sun-dried tomatoes
- 6 handfuls of baby spinach
- ½ cup of feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Heat a pan over medium heat coated with olive oil.
- Rinse and drain millet, and add to the pot and toast for approximately 3-4 minutes.
- Combine water and vegetable stock, and bring to a boil.
- Stir the millet and reduce heat to simmer. Cover for 20 minutes.
- Fluff the millet with a fork, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to broil and lightly oil and season the halved peppers. Place on a baking tray.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat, and add 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil.
- Add onions and sauté
- Add garlic, oregano, and black pepper for 30 seconds, then add in the chickpeas and cook for approximately 6-8 minutes until golden brown.
- Add olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and 2 cups of cooked millet and stir.
- Place peppers under broiler for 2-4 minutes on both sides until tender, and set aside.
- Add spinach to mixture for approximately 3-4 minutes until cooked.
- Add feta cheese and lemon juice to the mixture, stir and season to taste.
(Note: olives, sun-dried tomatoes and cheese have a good amount of sodium, so you won’t need to add much salt).
- Fill peppers with the mixture, top with extra feta cheese (if desired) and place under broiler until peppers start to brown. Serve warm!
How do you like to eat these superfoods?