Trends

The gluten-free ancient grain that rivals quinoa

Teff has nearly double the iron, half the fat and less sugar than the competition.

Ethiopian ancient grain_Bob's Red Mill Teff grain

Meet the Ethiopian Ancient grain giving quinoa a run for its money. (Photo, Bob’s Red Mill.)

Teff may be one of the world’s smallest grains — technically speaking, like quinoa it’s a seed — but it’s chock-full of protein, iron and minerals.

A tall grass grown mainly in Ethiopia, teff has been an key local staple for centuries, and Ethiopians eat it up to three times a day. Speculated to be the secret weapon of the country’s long-distance running stars by both athletes and researchers, it’s not so secret anymore: sales of the cereal outside of Africa are soaring (rising 58 percent in the US in 2014, according to market research) due to global interest in ancient grains and their multitude of health benefits.

What makes teff so super?

  • Its high-fibre content provides a slow release of energy into the body, which makes you feel satiated for longer.
  • It’s gluten-free, making it a wonderful wheat alternative, and its protein punch makes it a great addition to a vegan or vegetarian diet.
  • Compared to the almighty quinoa grain, teff boasts half the fat, nearly double the iron, more calcium and manganese — and less sugar.

How is teff used?

Like many grains, teff is usually ground into flour to make pancakes, breads, crackers, chips or pastas. Unprocessed teff can be used to make a sweetened hot cereal, similar to cream of wheat or a savoury polenta.

Where can I find teff?

Bob’s Redmill sells teff in whole grain and flour form both online and in Canadian retail shops. But to enjoy the grain in its most traditional form, visit an Ethiopian restaurant and order injera, a teff-based flatbread.

Injera flatbread_Photo Rod Waddington_Flickr

Injera flatbread. (Photo, Rod Waddinton / Flickr.)

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