Amazing Grains: Teff

Move over quinoa, there’s a new…well actually, ancient grain that has stepped up to the table!  But don’t worry quinoa, we aren’t getting rid of you, there’s plenty of room on my healthy eating table for another delicious Superfood!!

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I was at the Farmer’s market about a month ago and my bean guy (yes, I have a bean guy) had a big bucket filled of the tiniest little brown dots that resembled the size of a poppy seed. I was so curious about what they were and when he told me the name, I must have had a puzzled look on my face because he started telling me ALL about my new best friend, Teff.

Just like quinoa, Teff is a gluten-free grain.  What makes it extra special is that Teff has the highest amount of calcium of all grains. Cultivated in Ethiopia for anywhere between 3-6 thousand years ago. Quinoa is still higher in Omega 3’s, phosphorous and potassium but Teff is not only higher in calcium, but is also the winner in iron, fiber, thiamin, zinc and vitamin K.  Although Teff is higher in carbs, they are good ones that are credited in helping with blood sugar management and weight control.  What I like most about Teff is the versatility.  You can serve easily it in both savory and sweet dishes.  To show you truly how easy it is to make, I’m sharing both types of recipes with you today.  YUM!  The basic premise of any Teff recipe is 3:1 (3 parts liquid to 1 part Teff) Cooking on the stove in a covered pot for 20 minutes.  It’s that easy!

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Let’s start with the sweet, shall we.  It is a breakfast dish after all!  Think delicious and hearty. It reminds me a bit of eating Cream of Wheat (but even better) when I grew up.

Teff Coconut Porridge

  • ¼ cup Teff
  • ¾ cup Coconut Water
  • ¼ cup diced dried cherries
  • 3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Coconut flakes
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

Directions:

  • In a medium saucepan, bring coconut water to a boil.
  • Once water is boiling, add Teff and reduce heat to medium.
  • Cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally on a lidded pot.
  • Remove lid and add cherries, almonds and coconut flakes, saving a pinch of almonds and coconut flakes for garnish. Stir well.
  • Cook approximately 3-5 minutes longer until the liquid has cooked down.
  • Place in serving bowls and garnish with a pinch of coconut flakes and sliced almonds.
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Savory Teff Risotto

Don’t kill me, Italy. I’m not trying to step on hallowed ground, just make myself something yummy! Clearly, I’m not a purist.  I’m just a woman who loves to eat good, healthy food.  This is another super easy to prepare recipe that I think you will enjoy.  My suggestion is to add your family’s favorite veggies to the mix.  My boy is carrot and broccoli crazy right now so that’s exactly what I put in there.   Well actually, I found some beautiful rainbow carrots and Broccolini at the Farmer’s market so I went with that.  A little bit of diced shallots and veggie broth and we were in business.

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 Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch Broccolini
  • 1 Cup sliced rainbow carrots (regular carrots are just fine, too!)
  • ½ cup Teff
  • 1 ½ cup vegetable stock
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a medium saucepan, bring vegetable stock to a boil.
  • Once boiling, add Teff and reduce heat to medium.
  • Cook for 18 minutes stirring occasionally on a lidded pot.
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  • While that is cooking heat a medium sauté pan on medium-high.  Add olive oil.  Add sliced carrots and chopped Broccolini.  Add pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Sauté for approximately 5 minutes, making sure to leave veggies slightly al dente. Nobody wants mushy overcooked veggies! Set aside.
  • After 18 minutes, remove lid and add your cooked veggies. Stir well.  Cook approximately 3-4 minutes longer until the liquid has cooked down.  Serve immediately.

Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.