This lemon scented quinoa and millet breakfast with blueberries is a simple, nutrient-dense, and grounding way to start your day.
Within the world of whole grains, I think it’s safe to say that millet is a bit of an underdog. This isn’t because it’s lacking in nutritional value: millet is rich in a number of minerals, but its high content of magnesium (one serving of cooked millet provides about 20% of your RDA) is particularly notable. Magnesium is associated with stress reduction, blood pressure reduction, and reduced risk of heart attack. Low magnesium levels have been linked to Type 2 diabetes and migraines in addition to numerous other chronic diseases. (1,2) Though plant-based diets tend to be rich in magnesium–bananas, soy beans, dark leafy greens, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, black beans, and cashews are all good sources–it never hurts to hone in on foods that deliver this crucial nutrient efficiently.
Still. Millet doesn’t quite have the familiar appeal of rice, nor is it as popular as quinoa. Part of this may be a texture thing–it’s easy to undercook millet, making it too dry, or to overcook it, which results in mush. Millet also lacks the pleasantly nutty flavor of buckwheat or quinoa, and its mild taste demands bolder seasoning than other whole grains–or so I’ve found.
One of the best tips I’ve gotten about millet is to try cooking it with other grains, and especially with quinoa. I tried it this week for the first time, hoping to add some variety to my steady breakfast routine of oats. I really enjoyed the results; the millet grains seemed to take on a crunchy, distinctive character when mixed with the softer grains of quinoa. It was a nice contrast of texture, and it worked perfectly for an easy breakfast dish.
We’re heading into a long weekend, in which many of us will be cooking lots of food with family and friends. This super simple recipe may be a refreshing change of pace, something low-maintenance and comforting. I had a week of busy mornings, and making a big batch of this breakfast dish made for quick, easy, and portable breakfasts. I loved the delicate flavor of lemon and its contrast with sweet blueberries. And I loved the crunch and nutty flavor that the toasted cashews added to the dish.
I hope you guys will try it and enjoy it. If you’re not a millet lover and don’t think you’re destined to become one anytime soon, the dish would also be great with plain quinoa. And, with a slightly longer cooking time (30 minutes or so), you could use brown basmati rice as well.
The millet makes for a great breakfast on its own, or accompanied by additional fruit or a smoothie (as you can see, I enjoyed it with a banana/orange/mango combination–yum!).
I also think it would be amazing with a little dollop of sweet cashew cream–I’ll have to keep that in mind next time!
A few tasty add-ins might be vanilla bean or extract or some sliced apricots, fresh or dry. As you can see, it’s a simple enough recipe to withstand plenty of variation.
If you’re looking for other ideas for a bag of millet, check out my cream of millet, coconut, and ginger porridge:
Or my millet tabouli:
The Kitchn also has a pretty great millet cooking tutorial, and a collection of recipe links.
On that note, I wish you all a nice weekend–and if you’re traveling or celebrating with family, safe and happy travels. I’ll be back on Sunday for weekend reading, of course!
1. Bain LK, Myint PK, Jennings A, Lentjes MA, Luben RN, Khaw KT, Wareham NJ, Welch AA. The relationship between dietary magnesium intake, stroke and its major risk factors, blood pressure and cholesterol, in the EPIC-Norfolk cohort. Int J Cardiol. 2015 May 31;196:108-114.
2. Volpe SL. Magnesium in disease prevention and overall health. Adv Nutr. 2013 May 1;4(3):378S-83S. Review.
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I can’t wait to try this! I’m sure it will be a welcome change from oats (as much as I love oats) come winter!
Just made this today–it’s so delicious! I love the combination of blueberry and lemon. It tastes almost like a blueberry muffin in a bowl! 🙂
I actually quite like millet and use it a decent amount. To be honest though, I’ve never used it in anything other than millet porridge for breakfast. I quite like the idea of millet tabbouli =)
love it!! sounds amazing 🙂
Lemon & blueberries are the perfect pairing. This reminds me of a recipe on The Kitchn that I’ve made a few times and love (with non-dairy yogurt) http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-breakfast-grain-salad-with-blueberries-hazelnuts-lemon-172272
I do like millet but for some reason it’s not one I have in regular rotation. I could probably do with mixing up my grains a bit more too!
Oh yum, that recipe. I’ll have to try it with soy yogurt for sure. I’m making a sorghum recipe later this week, by the way — part of my own effort to mix up my grain routine 🙂
This looks amazing, Gena! And the pictures are so beautiful! 🙂
Aw, thank you, Heidi!
This sounds so good! I love blueberry and lemon together and I adore millet. I love making it into a breakfast porridge with blackberries. It has such a corn-like flavor which I love because corn doesn’t always digest that well for me.
I totally agree that it can be reminiscent of corn in its sweetness. I’ve heard that millet polenta is really lovely, which I haven’t tried yet. I’m curious.
Millet is one of my favourite grains, though I must admit I don’t cook with it anywhere near as much as I would like to.
I love millet! So yummy that you mixed it with quinoa too! Great yummy breakfast!
I definitely enjoyed the millet/quinoa combo, just as I’ve enjoyed the amaranth and quinoa combo in the past. Sometimes mixing two whole grains can definitely elevate both of them!
Millet is probably my least favorite grain for all the textural reasons you describe. I’d much rather do quinoa, plus it’s airy-ness (?) is perfect for warmer mornings. In the winter, my favorite breakfast grain is buckwheat, as its hearty-ness is so suited for cooler temps. Oatmeal just seems so blah by comparison to those two grains, and not nearly as nutritious, energy sustaining for me. Why would one need a tutorial on cooking millet, or any grain for that matter? Pretty basic, no?
I like millet, but don’t use it that often. My breakfast has been soaked raw muesli, ground seeds and berries all week, and I really like the looks of yours!
Hope you’ll enjoy it, Sarjolini!
This is right up my alley, Gena–i absolutely LOVE millet and I love millet and quinoa together. The lemon zest and blueberries are inspired additions. I look forward to combining these textures and flavors–thanks!!
I thought of you, Maria, because I know you love millet. I’m starting to incorporate it into my routine more regularly, and it really is versatile and fun to work with. I love the quinoa/millet combo, too.
I hope your moving preparations are going smoothly! <3
I totally agree, it’s a smart way of introducing millet in your diet – mix it with other grains. And quinoa sounds like a good choice, too. This breakfast recipe will definitely kick start your day, and the good thing about it is that you can do as many variation as you want. By the way, I actually tried millet and chickpea and made spiced burgers 🙂
Oh, millet burgers are good. I forgot to mention this recipe in my roundup at the end: https://www.thefullhelping.com/ridiculously-healthy-millet-kale-and-yam-burgers/
Too much work for a burger, I see retrospectively, but they were pretty delicious 🙂