How to Tell the Difference Between Quinoa & Millet

Written by joe kelly
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How to Tell the Difference Between Quinoa & Millet
Quinoa is used like a grain for culinary purposes. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Millet and quinoa grains have long been used for cooking in various cultures. Millet was one of the first cereal grains cultivated by man. Both quinoa and millet are gluten-free grains, which makes them ideal for individuals with wheat allergies. Quinoa, though technically not a grain but a fruit, is treated like a grain for culinary purposes. Quinoa is rich in protein, especially the amino acid lycine and when combined with wheat creates a complete protein.

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  1. 1

    Compare a grain of quinoa and millet. Quinoa is smaller than millet.

  2. 2

    Feel the grains. Millet has a shape similar to a popcorn kernel, while quinoa is more flat and oval or round in shape.

  3. 3

    Wash the dark saponin off of quinoa and it becomes lighter in colour compared to millet. Saponin protects the quinoa seed in nature from birds, insects and rodents by coating the seeds in a bitter soapy residue that must be washed off before eating. The saponin is typically removed on store=bought grains.

  4. 4

    Look at the grain's colour. Millet appears to be more golden, while quinoa is paler in colour.

  5. 5

    Taste millet and quinoa. Millet tastes bland while quinoa is slightly more bitter due to the saponin.

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