This week I’m introducing you to teff, a gluten-free wonder grain. According to the Whole Grains Council, teff is the “only fully-domesticated member of the genus Eragrostis (lovegrass)” .
I love the sound of that!
Teff is a teeny tiny nutritional powerhouse. Considered the world’s smallest grain at about the same size or smaller than a poppy seed, teff’s bran and germ layers, where much of a grain’s nutrition lies, make up a larger portion of this gluten-free grain compared to other grains.
What does that mean for you?
Well, more nutrition in a compact size for one thing. In fact, teff contains:
- protein (it’s not a complete protein but it does offer 8 amino acids);
- calcium (and it’s one of the greatest grain sources of this mineral);
- iron; and,
Teff is also high in a special type of starch called resistant starch . Some sources suggest it contains up to 40%!
Resistant starch is difficult or impossible for the body to digest and it acts as a prebiotic to “feed” or support the growth of the healthy bacteria that have colonized our gut. Resistant starch has also been studied for its ability to help reduce blood glucose levels after meals .
For more information about resistant starch, check out Mark’s Daily Apple where you’ll find a “definitive guide to resistant starch.” (Surprisingly, though, his article doesn’t list teff as a source of resistant starch. This may be because teff – like many of my Try Something New foods – hasn’t hit the mainstream yet).
Teff is most known for being the main ingredient in a type of Ethiopian bread called injera. Teff is also highly versatile and quick cooking, making it an easy addition to recipes like gluten-free baked goods, cakes, cookies, hot cereal or porridge, gluten-free breads, and even soups or stews as a thickener.
When it comes to this Blueberry-Lemon Teff Porridge, it’s hard to explain how this flavour combination works, but I promise it does. It’s bright from the lemon, almost nutty from the teff flour, floral from the blueberries, and zingy from the ginger.
It’s an easy make-ahead meal that I find makes a unique and lovely breakfast (cold porridge), snack or even dessert.
I enjoy it whenever I make it, sometimes adding more or less ginger, more blueberries or more lemon (even lemon zest!) to make it to my tastes at the time. The marriage of flavours is very distinct and unique!
Want to try something new? Try this Blueberry-Lemon Teff Porridge for yourself!
Lemon-Blueberry Teff Porridge (gluten-free, vegan)
- 1 cup teff flour
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3/4 cup frozen thawed blueberries
- 2 tsp packed freshly grated ginger
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp real vanilla extract
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- Optional: your choice of fresh or frozen thawed berries for serving
Add the teff flour and water to a small saucepot. Cook over medium-high heat for 4-7 minutes, whisking constantly, just until the pudding thickens. Remove from the heat.
Add the cooked teff to a food processor with all remaining ingredients except for the optional fresh or frozen thawed berries. Blend on high until smooth.
Portion into four dishes and refrigerate for an hour or overnight. I prefer it cold but you may enjoy it warm as well. Serve with your choice of fresh or frozen thawed berries.
Teff flour is simply ground up teff. You can usually find it labelled as such at bulk food stores or health food stores.
So go on, try something new!
Life is a plate… Eat up,
-  Whole Grains Council: Teff and Millet – November Grains of the Month
-  Idem.
-  Consumption of both resistant starch and beta-glucan improves postprandial plasma glucose and insulin in women