Teff: an ancient grain with a new following
When you first go gluten free and learn where gluten lurks, you often feel like there’s no way you can have the same comfort foods you once did. You may feel like every grain is a gluten containing grain and that every type of bread, pasta, and pastry is off limits. But the more you learn, the more you discover that there are several gluten free grains available and there are many baked goods, pastas and more made from these grains. A prime example of this is teff, an ancient grain with a new following.
Teff is a high-fiber grain that cooks similarly to millet and quinoa and is increasingly being used in gluten free products, such as skinnypasta by Gabriella’s Kitchen. This pasta is a good source of protein, fiber, iron, zinc, copper, and manganese. And, 20% of the fiber in their teff pasta is a resistant starch which may aid in weight loss management and blood sugar control, making this a more practical pasta for those who might be craving carbs but are trying to adhere to a healthy diet.
- Native to Ethiopia (originated between 4000 BC and 1000 BC)
- 1 cup of cooked teff contains more than 100 mg of calcium
- Teff has the shortest sprout time of any other grain
- Cooked teff is 75% water
- A pound of teff seeds can produce an acre of grain
Gabriella’s Kitchen makes pastas that are non-GMO, nut free, corn free, and contain no additives or preservatives. Their teff pastas are healthy and versatile enough to go into any pasta dish that regular pasta would. Here’s a springtime recipe to get you started so you can see just how delicious teff is.
- 1 head broccoli cut into florets
- 2 leeks thinly sliced
- 1 bunch asparagus stemmed
- 6 cloves garlic skin on
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 200 gram package skinnypasta™ SUPERFOOD TEFF Penne
- ½ cup frozen or fresh peas
- 2 cups swiss chard shredded
- ¾ cups chickpeas
- 2 lemons zest and juice
- ¼ cup pasta water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a large baking sheet, fit a piece of parchment paper, and set aside.
In a large bowl, place the broccoli, leeks, asparagus, swiss chard, garlic, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and spices. Mix the ingredients to ensure that all vegetables are evenly coated in the spices. Transfer the mixed vegetables onto the baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until starting to brown and softened. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Carefully remove the skins from the garlic cloves – they should be soft and roasted – and place the peeled garlic, whole, back onto the baking sheet of vegetables.
Nearing the end of the roasting time of the vegetables, bring a large pot of water to boil and add the penne – which should have been thawed briefly at room temperature. Also add the peas to the boiling water and pasta. Cook for one minute and test pasta for doneness. Strain the pasta and peas and reserve ¼ cup pasta water and set aside.
Place the pasta and peas back into the pot. Stir in the roasted vegetables, swiss chard, chickpeas, lemon zest and juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and pasta water. Ensure that everything is evenly coated.
Serve immediately, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
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