Pearl millet is a major food source in eastern and southern Africa, and can thrive in areas with low soil fertility and high temperatures. It’s not widely used in the United States, but makes an excellent gluten-free substitute for oats; it’s also packed with protein and linked to healthy digestion. For a vitamin and flavor boost, try pearl millet in quinoa muffins, parsnip cake and vegetable salads. Prepare it like risotto with broccoli rabe and Parmesan cheese, or toss it with roasted butternut squash and tahini dressing for a hearty vegetarian dish.

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Jeweled Millet Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Spicy harissa-roasted chickpeas and plenty of fresh herbs bring tons of flavor to this millet salad from chef Ben Ford. Slideshow: More Salads with Grains

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Here are four reasons to make millet a regular on your plate.

Creamy Millet Porridge with Candied Sweet Potatoes and Pistachios

Millet, often used as a gluten-free substitute for oats, is linked to healthy digestion and has a high protein content. This porridge will be creamier than regular oatmeal and is comparable to the texture of polenta or grits. Slideshow: More Quick & Healthy Breakfast Recipes

Millet with Broccoli Rabe and Parmigiano

This Italian inspired millet "risotto" is easy to make, and can be partially made ahead of time. Slideshow: Gluten-Free Holiday Recipes