At Le Pain Quotidien, we love a good dessert. And when they don’t make us feel too guilty, well, that’s even sweeter! That’s why we love our homemade Chocolate Banana Millet Bread (winter ’15) so much. The banana and toasted millet topping take the guilt-factor down a notch, while the rich chocolate makes for perfect indulgence. Isn’t life all about balance anyway?

You may ask yourself how a grain like millet figures into the world of desserts – or even wonder what millet is altogether! Versatile enough to be used in both sweet and savory recipes, millet has a delicately nutty and creamy flavor when prepared like rice, and a satisfying crunch when toasted. Added to our banana chocolate bread, it takes the flavor and texture to a new level.

If you associated millet with birdseed or baby food heretofore, let us clean the slate and give you a fresh perspective. Despite its low visibility in the US, millet is actually thousands of years old, cultivated as early as the Stone Age as a vital crop in Africa and northern China. It was even an ingredient in bread in biblical times.

Millet

With its nutritional profile, it’s a shame that millet has fallen so far off of our culinary radars. Full of B-vitamins, millet is a great source of fiber, iron, phosphorous, copper and magnesium, and has high levels of two essential amino acids. It also has the added benefit of being very easily digestible and gluten-free.

If you’ve tried our tasty Banana Chocolate Millet Bread and are ready to try millet in your own kitchen, here are a few ways to do so!

For a delicious breakfast porridge:

  • Add 1 cup of millet to 3 cups of water and bring to a boil, letting it simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Drain the water and return to the pan, adding 3 cups of milk. Bring this mixture back to a boil and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Fluff and set aside until cool enough to eat, then stir in honey, nuts and dried fruits

Add millet to your baked goods for crunchy texture. Try mixing it into your batter or using it as a topping. Think muffins, cakes, or even in your own banana bread.

Make a nutritious baby food:

  • Toast 1 cup of millet in oil in a large pan, and saute until it turns golden brown.
  • Add 2 cups of boiling water and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Fluff and set aside to cool. To give it a boost, try adding in a fruit or vegetable puree.

If all else fails, make some homemade bird seed! Just mix some millet with sunflower seeds, peanuts and corn.

What are your favorite millet recipes?