Thinking outside the cereal box with whole foods sources of hot cereal grains is one of the best ways to give yourself the gift of health. Teff, the world’s smallest grain, is my favorite hot cereal and yet it still remains largely unknown today. Thanks to the ever increasing wide variety of grains available to consumers today however, spicing up the normal breakfast routine with what would have previously been considered exotic foods has never been easier!

Although this ancient Middle Eastern cereal grass is primarily grown in Ethiopia where it is enjoyed as a main staple, wonderful resources today such as Bob’s Red Mill here in our local community have made teff accessible enough to enjoy in your own kitchen. Its high nutrient and fiber-rich compounds make teff one of the super six gluten-free grains, meaning that it is one of six of the most nutritious gluten-free grains. A single quarter cup serving of this whole grain contains 4 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, and an excellent source of iron and calcium.

While I most enjoy eating teff as a hot cereal, it is extremely versatile and can be used for baking when ground into flour, thickening, in soups or stews, on salads, or even sprouted. Despite its sand-like size (about 100 grains are the size of a kernel of wheat!), teff is surprisingly flavorful with a nutty, slight molasses-like natural sweetness. Be sure to stop by Bob’s Red Mill’s wonderful bulk bins section to stock up on this precious commodity or purchase it packaged online. Some grocery stores are also beginning to carry it in their health section so call ahead to inquire if it is supplied and if not your phone call will be casting a consumer vote for them to begin doing so. To start out, try my hot teff cereal recipe with chopped dates below.

Creamy Teff Cereal with Dates

• 3 c. filtered water

• 1 c. teff cereal

Cook 2 cups water to 1/2 cup teff over medium heat in a saucepan. Just before it begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until liquids are absorbed. Stir in your choice of milk, chopped dates, and a dash of maple syrup or honey. I will sometimes add a spoon of organic extra-virgin coconut oil for extra creaminess and to prevent teff from clumping.

Tips: Soaking the teff in the water overnight and then topping it with a lid when cooking will help to speed up the cooking process. Just be sure to leave the lid partially off to prevent the cereal from so easily boiling over the stove.

Topping ideas are endless. Be sure to check out my Couv post on creative hot cereal toppings! Sliced bananas are equally as delicious as chopped dates.

Recipe©Leanne Ernster, 2008.

Yield: 4 cups

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