Do you have gluten intolerance, or are you simply trying to avoid gluten? Tired of the same old gluten-free options? You should definitely consider adding millet to your diet. Not only is it gluten-free, but it is also extremely healthy!
Millet is gaining a lot of popularity worldwide as the gluten-free market rises. But what if you want to use millet and realize you don’t have any? Instead of running to the store to get some, read this article! It will help you find the best millet substitutes.
So what are the best substitutes for millet? The best millet substitutes are buckwheat, quinoa, bulgur, rice, amaranth, barley, and sorghum.
However, before we get to the best substitutes for millet, let me tell you a little bit about the grain itself. This will help you understand the substitutes better.
Quick Peek: Millet
This section will help you understand all about millet, its flavor, texture, uses, and nutritional information. Read on to know all about it!
What Is Millet?
Millet is a cereal crop cultivated widely across the world. It is cultivated for fodder and human food. There are various types of millets cultivated in the world.
However, most of them belong to the tribe paniceae, a type of grass with small seeds. Most millet production is done in developing countries.
Millet is a preferred crop in various developing countries due to its short growing season in dry, high temperatures. Among the various millet types, pearl millet is the most widely grown.
Millets are an important part of the diet in India and various parts of Africa, especially pearl millet. Millets have been around for the longest time. However, they have been highly overlooked too.
Describing Millet: Flavor And Texture
Millets are slightly larger than quinoa and look quite similar to corn kernels. Millets are hard when dry and turn fluffy once cooked, which is unlike most grains. The fluffiness helps soak up the flavor of the rest of the ingredients.
Millets have a very mild, almost nutty flavor when I talk about flavor. It has a slightly sweet flavor, a little different from various other grains.
It is often compared with the taste of corn. The bland flavor of millet also helps it soak the flavor of other ingredients very easily.
Uses Of Millet
Millet is, in fact, a very versatile grain. However, it is still used as a bird feed in many parts of the world. Millets make a great gluten-free substitute in almost all recipes. Moreover, it can be cooked like oats to make hot porridge.
In various parts of the world, especially in India, millet flour is more commonly used. Millet flour makes a great gluten-free substitute for various baked goods, bread, and flatbreads. It is also a common ingredient in fermented beverages, like beer.
Millet On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Just like most grains, millet is starchy. That means it is high in carbohydrates. However, it contains various vital nutrients and is actually very good for health.
One cup or about 174 grams of millet contains 207 calories, most of them coming from carbohydrates. Millets contain some amount of proteins, fats, and dietary fibers.
They carry vital minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. They provide more amino acids than most other cereals.
Millets have a lot of health benefits. They are rich in antioxidants, help lower blood sugar levels, and help lower cholesterol levels.
That was a lot of information on millets. Now, without further ado, let us quickly explore the best substitutes for millet.
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7 Best Millet Grain Substitutes
This section has the best substitutes for millet grain. Moreover, it will also help you understand how to use each substitute. Read on to know all about the best millet substitutes!
Despite the term ‘wheat’ in it, buckwheat is naturally gluten-free. It can positively be used as a substitute for millet in various recipes.
Buckwheat is a hearty seed with a full, earthy flavor. It has a nice variety of nutrients and is balanced in terms of fats and carbohydrates. It is, in fact, higher in protein than millet.
The texture of buckwheat will be slightly different compared to millet. However, they both take the same amount of time to cook. Hence, millet can be easily swapped with buckwheat.
Quinoa is not a whole grain but, in fact, a seed from the amaranth family. It is naturally gluten-free and makes a great substitute for millet.
Quinoa is most commonly used in hot cereals and salads. However, you can use it in place of millet in almost every recipe. Moreover, it cooks really quickly too. You can use quinoa, especially if you want a different texture to your food.
Quinoa is also considered a superfood. Hence, you don’t need too much to fill your belly. It also works great for a low-carb diet. You can use it as a substitute for millet in a 1:1 ratio.
Barley has a mild, nutty flavor and a chewy texture. It is extremely rich in various nutrients, making it a great substitute for millet.
Barley is one of the most easily available grains. As far as substitution goes, flaked barley works really well for porridge, whereas pearl barley is the best to use for soups and salads.
Barley is extremely balanced in terms of nutrients, very similar to millet. Moreover, barley does not have to be pre-soaked and can be used immediately in your recipes. Here’s the recipe for barley vegetable soup for you.
Bulgur is a wheat-based product that has been ground into coarse grains. These grains are around the same size as millet. Bulgur does contain gluten. However, it still makes a great millet substitute.
Bulgur is extremely rich in vital nutrients, just like millet. Moreover, it actually contains more protein than millet. It is quite similar to brown rice in terms of flavor and texture.
Bulgur is also a very popular ingredient in the Middle East. However, it might not be the best substitute for everyone, since it contains gluten. But, if gluten does not bother you, bulgur can easily be used in place of millet. Here is the recipe for garden harvest cake for you.
Sorghum, also commonly known as jowar, has a nutty flavor and chewy texture. It makes a great substitute for millet.
In the US, sorghum is a popular grain fed to livestock. However, it is a wonderful grain to include in your diet. However, it is important to remember that sorghum does have more flavor than millet.
Sorghum makes an ideal substitute, especially in soups and porridges. However, you can use it in any recipe. Follow the 1:1 ratio for substitution.
Certain types of rice cook up to have a lovely soft and fluffy texture, just like millet. Hence, rice can easily be used as a substitute for millet.
The type of rice you use does impact the texture. Short grain rice works best as a substitute for millet. This is because millet itself is a small grain. Brown rice is, however, more similar to millet in terms of texture.
It is also important to remember that millet is more nutritionally dense than rice. However, if that is not too big of a priority for you, rice can easily be used as a substitute in any recipe. Here is the recipe for Red Lobster’s rice pilaf for you.
Amaranth is another pseudo-grain, very similar to quinoa. However, amaranth is much smaller than millet and quinoa. Regardless of that, it still makes a good substitute for millet.
As the grains of amaranth are very small, the texture becomes very creamy once cooked. Amaranth is a good substitute option for people that don’t want too much texture in their food.
Amaranth is also lower in carbohydrates, proteins, and fats as compared to millet. It is, however, very high in minerals. While it might not make a great substitute for porridge because of its small size, it can easily be added to salads.
6 Best Millet Flour Substitutes
This section has the best substitutes for millet flour. Moreover, it will also help you understand which substitute works best for a certain recipe. Read on to know all about it!
1. Montina Flour
Montina is a type of flour created from milled Indian ricegrass, a type of grass from the western United States. It has a very mild flavor as compared to millet flour. It works as a great substitute for the same.
Montina flour is also gluten-free, just like millet flour. It is nutritionally dense and can work as a great substitute for almost all recipes. However, if you want to bake with it, you might have to mix it with some flour containing gluten to improve the texture.
2. Chickpeas Flour
Chickpeas flour is gluten-free and works as a great binding agent. It can easily be used as a substitute for millet flour, especially in recipes that need something to bind.
Chickpeas flour usually comes in 2 common varieties, Kabuli chickpeas flour and desi chickpeas flour. Kabuli chickpeas flour is generally lighter in color and texture than desi chickpeas flour.
Desi chickpeas flour is very dark in color and is dense. You can choose one out of the two, depending on your recipe’s texture and color profile.
3. Almond Flour
Almond flour is produced from blanched almonds. It has a nutty flavor and aroma and makes a great substitute for millet flour.
Almond flour is again a great substitute, especially if you try to avoid gluten. It works very well in baking due to its nutty flavor. Moreover, it also makes for a great thickening agent. It can be used as a substitute in a 1:1 ratio. Here’s how you can make almond cake using cake flour.
4. Soy Flour
Soy flour is made from roasted soybeans and has a nutty aroma, just like millet flour. It can be used as a substitute for millet flour in various recipes.
Soy flour is also gluten-free and has a very fine, powdery texture. This makes it easy to incorporate it into various recipes. Soy flour, however, is darker than millet flour. This is important to remember if you don’t want the color of your food to be altered.
5. Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is made from dried coconut and has a sweet, milky taste and aroma. It works well as a substitute for millet flour, especially in desserts.
Coconut flour does tend to soak up liquid much more than millet flour. Hence, you might need to make certain adjustments to your recipe accordingly.
Coconut flour can also be easily incorporated into savory food despite its sweet flavor. The flavor of coconut does not get too overpowering.
6. Brown Rice Flour
Brown rice flour resembles the texture and flavor of whole wheat flour quite a lot. Although, it is completely gluten-free and makes a great substitute for millet flour.
Unlike wheat flour, brown rice flour has a subtle toasty flavor and aroma to it. It works well in desserts and savory dishes. It also works really well as a thickening agent.
I am sure that you must have read through all the substitutes by now. But are you still confused about which one would work best? Let me break it down further for you for both millet grain and flour.
For Millet Grain
Most Suitable: Buckwheat is the most suitable substitute for millet grain.
Easily Available: Quinoa is the most easily available substitute for millet grain.
Best Flavor Profile: Rice will give the best flavor profile when used in place of millet.
For Millet Flour
Most Suitable: Montana flour is the most suitable substitute for millet flour.
Easily Available: Chickpea flour is the most easily available substitute.
Best Flavor Profile: Brown rice flour will give the best flavor profile when used in place of millet flour.
How To Use Millet Substitutes In A Recipe
- Montina Flour
- Chickpeas Flour
- Almond Flour
- Soy Flour
- Coconut Flour
- Brown Rice Flour
- Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
- Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
- Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Now that we have reached the end of this article, I hope you were able to find good substitutes for both millet grain and flour. Almost all the substitutes given above are gluten-free.
Hence, you can use them without worrying about gluten content. Millets are extremely healthy and can very easily be included in your daily diet.
However, they are very overlooked. Now that their popularity is rising, I am sure that the next time you decide to cook something gluten-free, millets will be the first grain that will come to your mind!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is millet called in India?
Pearl millet is generally referred to as ‘bajra’ in hindi.
Is millet good for health?
Millet is extremely good for health.
Is millet healthier than rice?
Millet has a higher content of protein and fiber as compared to rice, making it healthier.
Is millet good for weight loss?
Moderate consumption of millet has been linked with effective weight loss
Can millet be eaten everyday?
Millet can be eaten everyday for one meal.