Your New Favorite Grain: Fonio

A complete guide to the latest ancient grain to stun the wellness and culinary worlds.

This year we are spending more time at home, which translates into more time in the kitchen. If you tired of your go-to rice, pasta or quinoa recipes long ago don’t fret. There is a new ancient grain darling on the market that boasts an extremely high nutrition profile and could not be easier to make. In fact, National Geographic recently named it “the most nutritious grain you’ve never heard of.” Here’s everything you need to know about fonio and how to use it.

What: Fonio is an ancient grain (meaning it’s largely unmodified) that has been grown in West Africa for more than 5,000 years.

Taste and Texture: The grain is the smallest member of the millet family, and it is very fine, like sand, in it’s dried form. When cooked, it plumps up to twice its size and has a very mild nutty taste that lends itself to sweet and savory dishes.

Nutritional Benefits: Fonio’s distinguishing feature is its high levels of methionine and cysteine, two vital amino acids rarely found in grains. These amino acids promote healthy hair, skin and nails. The grain is also high in iron, zinc, vitamins B1 and B3, and magnesium.

Perfect Balance: Fonio is naturally gluten free, high in fiber and protein, and has a low glycemic index, meaning it is easily digestible for those with common sensitivities or troubled digestion.

Longevity Factor: Fonio is an extremely fast growing crop (just six to eight weeks) that thrives in a variety of soil types and doesn’t deplete the earth. It is thought to be one of the most sustainable

grains on the planet.

Fonio Bowl Basics

Cook Time: 13 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Fonio
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 tsp. Avocado or Coconut Oil
  • Pinch Salt

Preparation

  1. In a small saucepot over medium-high heat, bring 1 cup of water with salt to a boil.
  2. Add the fonio and oil, and cook for three minutes. Turn off the heat.
  3. Let rest for five to 10 minutes, and then fluff with a fork.
  4. (Optional) Savory Add-Ons: Roasted root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, turnips, beets), sautéed spinach, kale or collard greens, fried or poached egg, sautéed mushrooms, feta or goat cheese
  5. (Optional) Sweet Add-Ons: Coconut shavings, fresh fruit (blueberries, raspberries, cherries, pomegranate seeds), crushed almonds, walnuts, dash of cinnamon, maple syrup glaze

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