Millet vs. Quinoa: Know the Difference?

Millet on the left and Quinoa on the right

Millet and quinoa are whole grains. They contain bran, endosperm, and germ that form the complete grain kernel. Whole grains are healthier than refined grains which have less fiber and contain fewer nutrients. They are awesome super foods that have various health benefits. Millet and quinoa are ideal not only for people who are on a vegan and gluten-free diet but also for anyone who is looking for a nutritious, low-carbohydrate food. Although millet and quinoa seem to be similar, they differ in various ways. When you compare millet vs. quinoa, you will notice that they differ in appearance, nutritional value and uses.


Millet vs. Quinoa: Which is better?


Millet and quinoa are gluten-free grains. They are great sources of protein, magnesium, and dietary fiber. If you do not eat meat, they can be the perfect alternative for your daily protein requirement. You can use millet and quinoa in salads, sides, porridges, and various other recipes. They are also rich in antioxidants.

Millet and quinoa are good for diabetics as they help in regulating blood sugar levels. You need to study the differences between millet vs. quinoa in order to understand which grain is healthier.


1. Nutrition


As both millet and quinoa are gluten-free grains, they are ideal for people with gluten-intolerance and celiac disease. When you are comparing millet vs. quinoa, you must know about their nutritional value. The overall protein content of millet is lower than that of quinoa. Lysine, the essential amino acid is not present in millet.  Therefore, it is not a complete protein.

Millet is rich in Vitamin K and B Vitamins. It is a good source of essential minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc.

Quinoa is a complete protein because it has all the nine essential amino acids. The body cannot produce these essential amino acids on its own. This makes quinoa nutritionally superior. The overall protein content in quinoa is higher than that of most grains. You can find many animal proteins that are complete. The same cannot be said about plant proteins. If you are a vegetarian, you must add quinoa to your diet. Quinoa is also rich in Vitamin E and B Vitamins. It has all the essential minerals that are present in millet.


2. Taste


When you are comparing millet vs. quinoa, you must know about their taste. Many people find quinoa difficult to swallow. Whipping up quinoa requires some skill. If you mess it up, it does not taste good. When quinoa is not properly flavored or seasoned, it can have an earthy and dry taste. Many people find this taste unappealing. If you cannot stand the taste of quinoa, you can have millet as it has a milder taste.

3. Cost


Millet is more affordable than quinoa. This is the reason why many people prefer millet to quinoa, despite the latter being a complete protein. Quinoa is much more expensive than millet.


4. Uses


If you want to compare millet vs. quinoa, you must know their usage. In the U.S, millet is popularly used as a bird seed. In India, South America, China, and Russia, millet is a popular grain staple. Millet is available in various forms such as pearl, proso, finger, and fingertail millet. Various cultures use millet for making bread, beer, and porridges. The Whole Grain Council has declared millet to be the sixth most important grain in the world.

Quinoa is a staple food for people in the Andes region of U.S. Quinoa is available in 120 varieties. You can have it as a side-dish. You can also use it in cereals, granola, and crackers.


5. Appearance prior to cooking


Millet grows in various colors. You can find it in white, gray, yellow, and red colors. Pearl millet which is found in the U.S is a small, ivory or white-colored round grain. You can find a small dot on one side of the millet. Millet has a hull which you need to remove before having it.

Quinoa is generally ivory or white in color. The grain is also found in red, purple, and black varieties. Quinoa is also a small grain like millet. However, it has an oval or disc shape. You can find a flattened band around its edges. White, red, and black quinoa can be found in the U.S. Quinoa has a black coating known as saponine. You need to wash it off before having the grain because it is toxic and has a bitter taste. In the commercial varieties of quinoa found in the U.S, the saponine is removed.


6. Appearance during and after cooking


It is easy to cook both millet and quinoa as they are small grains. Before you cook, you can toast them lightly in a saucepan. After cooking, millet has a nutty flavor. Quinoa has a chewy and light texture after cooking. As you cook quinoa, the germ of the grain kernel forms a tiny spiral. It gives you the signal that the quinoa is ready.



Popular Recipes of Millet and Quinoa


Now that you know the differences of millet vs. quinoa, you should take a look at some popular recipes of millet and quinoa. Several cuisines incorporate millet and quinoa in their recipes. The millet recipes are extremely popular in India, China, Ethiopia, and the United States. Quinoa recipes are incorporated in both savory and sweet meals.


1. Hot Breakfast Millet

Hot breakfast millet is a healthy and delicious millet recipe. You need to use a half cup of raw millet, chopped almonds, fresh fruits, maple syrup, butter, salt, and water for making the porridge.

Boil water, millet, and butter in a saucepan. Cook for about twenty minutes till the millet gets a thick consistency like cereals. Add fresh fruits such as apples, bananas or berries. Add maple syrup for sweetness. You can add various toppings according to your choice.


2. Greek Stuffed Peppers

The Greek stuffed peppers is another popular and delicious millet recipe. Apart from being aesthetically pleasing, they are highly nutritious. It requires many ingredients. You will need water, one cup of raw millet and one cup of vegetable stock. You must have red bell peppers, onion, garlic, oregano, black pepper, chickpeas, tomatoes, spinach, feta cheese, lemon juice, and olive oil for preparing this recipe.

Heat a pan with olive oil. Add rinsed millet to the pan and toast for about 4 minutes. Add water and vegetable stock. Stir the millet for some time and cover it for a few minutes. Preheat the oven and season the bell peppers. Take a large pan and add two teaspoons of olive oil in it. Add onions to the pan and sauté for some time. Now, add oregano, garlic, and black pepper. Next, you should add the chickpeas and cook for about 6 minutes.

After the chickpeas have turned golden yellow, add tomatoes, olives and two cups of cooked millet. Stir for some time. Next, you should add spinach and cook for about 4 minutes. Now, add lemon juice and feta cheese to the mixture. Stir it and season with bell peppers. Serve it warm!


3. Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

If you want to have a healthy casserole, you can try this quinoa recipe. It is crunchy, cheesy, and creamy. It is a good source of healthy fats and protein. You will need one cup of quinoa, broccoli, olive oil, breadcrumbs, boneless chicken, Himalayan salt, ground pepper, unsalted butter, flour, milk, shredded cheese, and Greek Yoghurt for preparing this recipe.

Take a large saucepan and cook quinoa in it. After the quinoa is almost cooked, add broccoli and cook for a few minutes. Take a large skillet and toast bread crumbs in it. Season the boneless chicken breasts with pepper and salt. Cook them in a skillet.

Now, you need to melt butter in the skillet. Add flour and milk. Keep stirring until you can see a thick consistency. Add quinoa, broccoli, boneless chicken breasts, Greek Yoghurt, and cheese to the skillet. Spread the mixture onto the baking dish. Sprinkle it with cheese and keep baking for about 5 minutes till the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.

Both millet and quinoa are easy and quick to prepare. You need to rinse them properly first. Then, you have to mix one part of the grain to two parts of water in a pot. Boil the mixture for a few minutes. Let the water get completely absorbed. Fluff it up before serving it with your favorite dishes, soup or salads.

Although the cooking procedure of millet and quinoa are similar, they differ in various ways. After studying the differences between millet vs. quinoa, you must have surely understood which is healthier. Both are superfoods with plenty of health benefits. Make your choice wisely!

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