Teff, a very nutritious ancient African grain, is easy to digest and will leave you feeling satisfied for the whole morning. It is gluten-free and also very low on the allergy scale because it has rarely been used in Western diets.
Teff has a texture similar to poppy seeds and a nutty, grainy taste. It has a nutty flavor and is high in iron. Eating this delicious alternative to oatmeal is especially important during a woman’s monthly period when she loses iron and is more susceptible to anemia. Teff cooks in just 15 minutes and teff flour can be added to home baked recipes (pancakes, muffins, cookies, protein bars) for an extra nutritional punch.
Teff is a member of the genus ‘lovegrass’. Its name translates to ‘lost’ because of its tiny size, less than 1 mm diameter – even smaller that a poppy seed. (In the picture featured below, you can see a teff seed sitting on top of a sunflower seed.)
Reasons to add teff to your diet?
It’s high in calcium: Teff contains 123 mg per cooked cup.
It’s a source of vitamin C: Most grains contain very little.
It’s gluten-free: Another wonderful gluten free grain to choose from!
It’s high in ‘resistant starch’: This is a type of dietary fiber that helps to stabilize blood sugars, which is one of the most important step in weight management.
It’s a good source of protein: The entire grain is eaten, including the protein-packed bran and germ. Teff’s protein content (around 14%) is largely easily digested albumins (similar to a vegetable version of egg whites).
For more information, check out the Whole Grains Council’s website.
Teff Apple Breakfast Porridge
If you are unable to find teff in your local health food store, this recipe can also be made with quinoa.
1 cup (250 mL) whole grain teff
3 cups (750 mL) filtered water
2 tsp (10 mL) cinnamon
1/4tsp (1 mL) ground cloves
1 large apple, chopped
1/4tsp (1 mL) grey sea salt or pink rock salt
2 tbsp(30 mL) honey (or to taste)
1/2cup (125 mL) walnuts, sunflower or hemp seeds
to taste unsweetened almond milk (for serving)
1) Set a heavy 2 quart (2 L) saucepan over medium heat. Add the teff, stirring frequently for 3 to 6 minutes until the grains emit a mild, toasted aroma and begin to pop. (You will see little white dots of popped grain, but may not hear the popping.)
2) Take the pan off the heat and add the water and spices, standing back a bit to avoid spatters. Stir well to combine.
3) Turn the heat to low-medium, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent the grains from sticking to the bottom.
4) Add the chopped apple to the pot, along with the salt, honey, and nuts. Stir and heat for a few minutes more before serving.
5) Serve warm with a drizzle of almond milk and enjoy. Makes 3 to 4 servings.