Say hello to my new favorite grain! Fonio! This is a gluten free whole grain that is sustain-ably cultivated in West African countries. And it could not be easier to cook…seriously.
What makes this grain special is the high amount of methionine, cysteine and leucine amino acids, which are deficient in today’s major grains: wheat, rice, maize, sorghum, barley, and rye(1). It also boosts a higher amount of iron than most grains with 8.5mg per 100g (2). These qualities make fonio the perfect addition to your vegan diet!
It is also prized for its easy digestibility and low glycemic index. Making it great for those who experience high blood glucose jumps after a meal.
And did I say sustainability? Yes! It flourishes in inhospitable settings such as land that is hot and dry and too sandy for most crops (3). It is also one of the world’s fastest maturing grains, producing in just 6 ot 8 weeks after they are planted(1).
Let’s talk about taste! It has a nutty flavor that easily takes on the essence of what you are cooking. If you love grits, you must try this recipe out!
Are you looking to try this recipe but don’t know where to buy fonio? You can buy fonio online or check your local health food store.
*Make it vegan friendly by removing parmesan and butter. Also, try replacing the water for your favorite vegetable broth for added flavor!
*Top with a poached or fried egg for an eggtra (see what I did there…) boost of protein.
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National Research Council. 1996. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/2305.
Fogny-Fanou, N, et al. CONSUMPTION OF, AND BELIEFS ABOUT FONIO (DIGITARIA EXILIS) IN URBAN AREA IN MALI . African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development(2009).