One of the grain-based dishes that I miss most because of a low FODMAP diet is couscous. I loved adding to salads, eating it with casseroles, or using it as a fast carbohydrate for other meals. But couscous is made from wheat, so that makes it high FODMAP.
Two low FODMAP alternatives for couscous are hulled millet and quinoa. Neither of these is an exact match, but I’ve found that together they make an interesting combo. So today I’m sharing with you my recipe for Millet and Quinoa with Parsley. I use this as a low FODMAP side dish for casseroles, pasta sauces, and as a base for salads instead of rice.
Why millet and quinoa?
Both millet and quinoa are grains that are naturally gluten-free and low FODMAP. Okay, so quinoa is technically a seed and not a grain, while millet is a grain. Regardless though, we eat both of them as grains.
One of the best things about millet and quinoa is that they’re both high in protein and fibre, which is a novelty for gluten-free grains. Being high in protein means that they’re great for creating plant-based meals, without missing out on protein. And being high in fibre is excellent for keeping the bowels regular.
Why combine the millet and quinoa rather than eating them separately?
Good question. You can eat both of these grains separately and have decent sized portions that are low FODMAP. So combining the two isn’t about the FODMAPs, it’s a personal preference.
For some reason, my belly isn’t overly fond of a full serving of quinoa. It can handle half servings, but full servings aren’t so great. I don’t know why that is, but I know that other people have trouble with full serves of quinoa too. But if I want to eat quinoa and still have enough carbohydrates in my meals, I need to add another grain to keep my belly happy. And that’s where the millet comes in.
In contrast to quinoa, I can happily eat a full serving of hulled millet without any issues. So if I wanted to, I could make this recipe with only millet. But millet is quite bland, even more so than couscous, and I find that blandness a little bit off putting. It’s kinds of strange eating something with no flavour. On the other hand, quinoa has loads of flavour, maybe even too much. But cutting the millet with quinoa adds just enough flavour to keep me happy, without putting so much quinoa in there to upset my belly.
Another advantage for adding millet to quinoa is that it helps the quinoa to better handle freezing. Millet holds its texture quite well after freezing, while quinoa can get a bit soggy. But cooking the two together and the freezing in portions for later, stops the quinoa from getting soggy. So you end up with a mixture that has good texture and decent flavour. That’s a win-win.
But, I do like to add some flavour while cooking to make it more interesting. I do this by cooking the grains in low FODMAP stock and then adding parsley at the end. So simple to do, yet it brings so much to the dish. And this combination of Millet and Quinoa with Parsley is excellent in salads. But it’s also good served with anything that has a sauce. I hope you’ll give it a go too so that you can add more variety to your low FODMAP diet.
Millet and Quinoa with Parsley
Makes: 8 serves
Serving size: about 1/2 cup
Special equipment: a large stewing pan (or wide and shallow pot) with a lid
- 1 litre of boiling water
- 2 low FODMAP stock cubes (see notes)
- 1 cup of hulled millet
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 1/2 cup of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- Put a large stewing pan over medium heat. My pan is 24cm (9.5in) diameter. Add the water and stock cubes to the pan and bring to the boil. Add the millet, then cover and reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wash the quinoa. Put the quinoa into a mesh sieve and put the sieve over a bowl. Fill the bowl with water until the quinoa is covered. Stir the quinoa with your fingers or a spoon for a couple of minutes. Drain and then repeat two more times or until the water runs clear. This soaking and rinsing step is essential to remove the saponins from the quinoa. Then drain the quinoa, shaking off excess water. Add this to the pot, mix in with the millet, then cover and cook for a further 15 minutes.
- Once all of the liquid is absorbed, remove the pan from heat and keep covered for another 5 minutes. Then remove the lid and fluff with a spoon or fork. Keep the lid off the pan for about 5 minutes to cool and dry a little. Then add the parsley and mix it in while fluffing the millet and quinoa again.
- Use as a couscous replacement.
- Use instead of rice or other grains with stir-fries or casseroles. It goes really well with this Low FODMAP Beef Stroganoff.
- Add to salads to make them more filling. You could use this instead of plain quinoa in this Quinoa and Chickpea Salad.
- To freeze the finished dish, allow it to cool completely before dividing into portions and freezing. This stops the grains from clumping together. You can defrost it in the microwave.
- This recipe is suitable for a low FODMAP diet, provided that the recommended serving size for this recipe is not exceeded.
- This recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free. However, if you have an allergy to any of these items, or have coeliac disease, please check the labels on any purchased ingredients to ensure they are safe for your requirements.
- I used Massel’s 7’s Chicken-Style Stock Cubes, which are Monash University Low FODMAP Certified and gluten-free. If you can’t find low FODMAP stock cubes, you can instead use 2 cups of low FODMAP stock and 2 cups of water.