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Fonio, the New Ancient Grain That Could Replace Quinoa

Fonio, the New Ancient Grain That Could Replace Quinoa


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There’s nothing phony about how much you need fonio

Dreamstime

The grain could replace quinoa or rice in any dish.

Literally everyone can rejoice at the discovery of this new carb — because yes, fonio is gluten-free. This newly popularized ancient grain, similar in taste and texture to quinoa, is about to be all anyone in the health world is talking about. Here’s why: It’s vegan, high in protein, and absolutely packed with nutrients such as vitamins and amino acids.

There’s something counterintuitive about an ancient grain being “new,” but fluctuating farming practices mean that products go in and out of style over the centuries. Chef Pierre Thiam recently broke the news of this forgotten treasure in a TED Talk in which he highlighted this hidden gem of West African farming. In Senegal, Nigeria, and other West African nations, it’s been continuously cultivated as a nutritious staple for generations. It’s about time the Western world caught up with the culinary innovation they’ve been harvesting. According to Thiam, adapting the nutrient-dense food into more meals could transform societies in Africa economically while simultaneously improving Western diets.

We agree that fonio is a ridiculous name for a grain, though it is more easily pronounceable than quinoa ever was. It’s considered a superfood, among the same class as other grains such as teff and flax. Traditionally, African cultures have used fonio to make a kind of breakfast porridge. However, the grain works well in any recipe where you’d typically use rice, quinoa, or another carbohydrate staple. Instead of a rice pilaf, you could make a fonio pilaf. Or a fonio salad.

Really, you could use fonio in any grain recipe. Here are a few delicious quinoa recipes to get you started with incorporating the new ancient grain.


There’s a new ancient grain for Americans to get excited about

If some grains are ancient and unchanged for thousands of years, how is it that modern Americans are just discovering them now? Remember how crazy we all went for quinoa? Now a new ancient grain has appeared on the U.S. market: fonio.

A member of the millet family, fonio originated in West Africa and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, who called it “the seed of the universe.” It is tiny, but mighty. A primer in HuffPost extols its many virtues: “Fonio is also a gluten-free grain with a low glycemic index, making it ideal for gluten-sensitive eaters and those who monitor their blood sugar. Fonio is also high in the amino acids methionine and cysteine, both of which promote healthy hair, skin and nail growth but are not present in any other grain.” It’s also lower in calories than brown rice or quinoa. It doesn’t require deep plowing, which is harmful to soil, and it can be grown in many climates.

Yeah, yeah, but how does it taste? The HuffPost article was a bit vague on that point. Pierre Thiam, co-founder and president of Yolélé Foods , a Brooklyn importer that sells fonio grown primarily on small farms in West Africa, describes it as “‘light and fluffy’ with ‘a slightly nutty, earthy flavor.’ He said that it ‘soaks up spices and sauces beautifully’ and that it can ‘replace any grain in your favorite recipes . you can even use it in baked goods.’” You can prepare it on the stovetop or in the microwave. The Yolélé website quotes the old Bambara saying “Fonio never embarrasses the cook,” meaning that if you screw up, there’s an easy fix.

So why has it taken fonio so long to get here? HuffPost has a fragment of a quote from Thiam about how it’s been “stifled by colonization.” Maybe it didn’t make the trip through the Middle Passage with other West African foods, like jollof rice (which became jambalaya) or soupou kanja (gumbo)? And maybe the economy of small farms wasn’t big enough to sustain exporting around the world?

Anyway, Yolélé sells fonio straight up and also in packets of flavored pilafs so we can now try them for ourselves and find out what we’ve been missing for the past 5,000 years.


There’s a new ancient grain for Americans to get excited about

If some grains are ancient and unchanged for thousands of years, how is it that modern Americans are just discovering them now? Remember how crazy we all went for quinoa? Now a new ancient grain has appeared on the U.S. market: fonio.

A member of the millet family, fonio originated in West Africa and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, who called it “the seed of the universe.” It is tiny, but mighty. A primer in HuffPost extols its many virtues: “Fonio is also a gluten-free grain with a low glycemic index, making it ideal for gluten-sensitive eaters and those who monitor their blood sugar. Fonio is also high in the amino acids methionine and cysteine, both of which promote healthy hair, skin and nail growth but are not present in any other grain.” It’s also lower in calories than brown rice or quinoa. It doesn’t require deep plowing, which is harmful to soil, and it can be grown in many climates.

Yeah, yeah, but how does it taste? The HuffPost article was a bit vague on that point. Pierre Thiam, co-founder and president of Yolélé Foods , a Brooklyn importer that sells fonio grown primarily on small farms in West Africa, describes it as “‘light and fluffy’ with ‘a slightly nutty, earthy flavor.’ He said that it ‘soaks up spices and sauces beautifully’ and that it can ‘replace any grain in your favorite recipes . you can even use it in baked goods.’” You can prepare it on the stovetop or in the microwave. The Yolélé website quotes the old Bambara saying “Fonio never embarrasses the cook,” meaning that if you screw up, there’s an easy fix.

So why has it taken fonio so long to get here? HuffPost has a fragment of a quote from Thiam about how it’s been “stifled by colonization.” Maybe it didn’t make the trip through the Middle Passage with other West African foods, like jollof rice (which became jambalaya) or soupou kanja (gumbo)? And maybe the economy of small farms wasn’t big enough to sustain exporting around the world?

Anyway, Yolélé sells fonio straight up and also in packets of flavored pilafs so we can now try them for ourselves and find out what we’ve been missing for the past 5,000 years.


There’s a new ancient grain for Americans to get excited about

If some grains are ancient and unchanged for thousands of years, how is it that modern Americans are just discovering them now? Remember how crazy we all went for quinoa? Now a new ancient grain has appeared on the U.S. market: fonio.

A member of the millet family, fonio originated in West Africa and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, who called it “the seed of the universe.” It is tiny, but mighty. A primer in HuffPost extols its many virtues: “Fonio is also a gluten-free grain with a low glycemic index, making it ideal for gluten-sensitive eaters and those who monitor their blood sugar. Fonio is also high in the amino acids methionine and cysteine, both of which promote healthy hair, skin and nail growth but are not present in any other grain.” It’s also lower in calories than brown rice or quinoa. It doesn’t require deep plowing, which is harmful to soil, and it can be grown in many climates.

Yeah, yeah, but how does it taste? The HuffPost article was a bit vague on that point. Pierre Thiam, co-founder and president of Yolélé Foods , a Brooklyn importer that sells fonio grown primarily on small farms in West Africa, describes it as “‘light and fluffy’ with ‘a slightly nutty, earthy flavor.’ He said that it ‘soaks up spices and sauces beautifully’ and that it can ‘replace any grain in your favorite recipes . you can even use it in baked goods.’” You can prepare it on the stovetop or in the microwave. The Yolélé website quotes the old Bambara saying “Fonio never embarrasses the cook,” meaning that if you screw up, there’s an easy fix.

So why has it taken fonio so long to get here? HuffPost has a fragment of a quote from Thiam about how it’s been “stifled by colonization.” Maybe it didn’t make the trip through the Middle Passage with other West African foods, like jollof rice (which became jambalaya) or soupou kanja (gumbo)? And maybe the economy of small farms wasn’t big enough to sustain exporting around the world?

Anyway, Yolélé sells fonio straight up and also in packets of flavored pilafs so we can now try them for ourselves and find out what we’ve been missing for the past 5,000 years.


There’s a new ancient grain for Americans to get excited about

If some grains are ancient and unchanged for thousands of years, how is it that modern Americans are just discovering them now? Remember how crazy we all went for quinoa? Now a new ancient grain has appeared on the U.S. market: fonio.

A member of the millet family, fonio originated in West Africa and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, who called it “the seed of the universe.” It is tiny, but mighty. A primer in HuffPost extols its many virtues: “Fonio is also a gluten-free grain with a low glycemic index, making it ideal for gluten-sensitive eaters and those who monitor their blood sugar. Fonio is also high in the amino acids methionine and cysteine, both of which promote healthy hair, skin and nail growth but are not present in any other grain.” It’s also lower in calories than brown rice or quinoa. It doesn’t require deep plowing, which is harmful to soil, and it can be grown in many climates.

Yeah, yeah, but how does it taste? The HuffPost article was a bit vague on that point. Pierre Thiam, co-founder and president of Yolélé Foods , a Brooklyn importer that sells fonio grown primarily on small farms in West Africa, describes it as “‘light and fluffy’ with ‘a slightly nutty, earthy flavor.’ He said that it ‘soaks up spices and sauces beautifully’ and that it can ‘replace any grain in your favorite recipes . you can even use it in baked goods.’” You can prepare it on the stovetop or in the microwave. The Yolélé website quotes the old Bambara saying “Fonio never embarrasses the cook,” meaning that if you screw up, there’s an easy fix.

So why has it taken fonio so long to get here? HuffPost has a fragment of a quote from Thiam about how it’s been “stifled by colonization.” Maybe it didn’t make the trip through the Middle Passage with other West African foods, like jollof rice (which became jambalaya) or soupou kanja (gumbo)? And maybe the economy of small farms wasn’t big enough to sustain exporting around the world?

Anyway, Yolélé sells fonio straight up and also in packets of flavored pilafs so we can now try them for ourselves and find out what we’ve been missing for the past 5,000 years.


There’s a new ancient grain for Americans to get excited about

If some grains are ancient and unchanged for thousands of years, how is it that modern Americans are just discovering them now? Remember how crazy we all went for quinoa? Now a new ancient grain has appeared on the U.S. market: fonio.

A member of the millet family, fonio originated in West Africa and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, who called it “the seed of the universe.” It is tiny, but mighty. A primer in HuffPost extols its many virtues: “Fonio is also a gluten-free grain with a low glycemic index, making it ideal for gluten-sensitive eaters and those who monitor their blood sugar. Fonio is also high in the amino acids methionine and cysteine, both of which promote healthy hair, skin and nail growth but are not present in any other grain.” It’s also lower in calories than brown rice or quinoa. It doesn’t require deep plowing, which is harmful to soil, and it can be grown in many climates.

Yeah, yeah, but how does it taste? The HuffPost article was a bit vague on that point. Pierre Thiam, co-founder and president of Yolélé Foods , a Brooklyn importer that sells fonio grown primarily on small farms in West Africa, describes it as “‘light and fluffy’ with ‘a slightly nutty, earthy flavor.’ He said that it ‘soaks up spices and sauces beautifully’ and that it can ‘replace any grain in your favorite recipes . you can even use it in baked goods.’” You can prepare it on the stovetop or in the microwave. The Yolélé website quotes the old Bambara saying “Fonio never embarrasses the cook,” meaning that if you screw up, there’s an easy fix.

So why has it taken fonio so long to get here? HuffPost has a fragment of a quote from Thiam about how it’s been “stifled by colonization.” Maybe it didn’t make the trip through the Middle Passage with other West African foods, like jollof rice (which became jambalaya) or soupou kanja (gumbo)? And maybe the economy of small farms wasn’t big enough to sustain exporting around the world?

Anyway, Yolélé sells fonio straight up and also in packets of flavored pilafs so we can now try them for ourselves and find out what we’ve been missing for the past 5,000 years.


There’s a new ancient grain for Americans to get excited about

If some grains are ancient and unchanged for thousands of years, how is it that modern Americans are just discovering them now? Remember how crazy we all went for quinoa? Now a new ancient grain has appeared on the U.S. market: fonio.

A member of the millet family, fonio originated in West Africa and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, who called it “the seed of the universe.” It is tiny, but mighty. A primer in HuffPost extols its many virtues: “Fonio is also a gluten-free grain with a low glycemic index, making it ideal for gluten-sensitive eaters and those who monitor their blood sugar. Fonio is also high in the amino acids methionine and cysteine, both of which promote healthy hair, skin and nail growth but are not present in any other grain.” It’s also lower in calories than brown rice or quinoa. It doesn’t require deep plowing, which is harmful to soil, and it can be grown in many climates.

Yeah, yeah, but how does it taste? The HuffPost article was a bit vague on that point. Pierre Thiam, co-founder and president of Yolélé Foods , a Brooklyn importer that sells fonio grown primarily on small farms in West Africa, describes it as “‘light and fluffy’ with ‘a slightly nutty, earthy flavor.’ He said that it ‘soaks up spices and sauces beautifully’ and that it can ‘replace any grain in your favorite recipes . you can even use it in baked goods.’” You can prepare it on the stovetop or in the microwave. The Yolélé website quotes the old Bambara saying “Fonio never embarrasses the cook,” meaning that if you screw up, there’s an easy fix.

So why has it taken fonio so long to get here? HuffPost has a fragment of a quote from Thiam about how it’s been “stifled by colonization.” Maybe it didn’t make the trip through the Middle Passage with other West African foods, like jollof rice (which became jambalaya) or soupou kanja (gumbo)? And maybe the economy of small farms wasn’t big enough to sustain exporting around the world?

Anyway, Yolélé sells fonio straight up and also in packets of flavored pilafs so we can now try them for ourselves and find out what we’ve been missing for the past 5,000 years.


There’s a new ancient grain for Americans to get excited about

If some grains are ancient and unchanged for thousands of years, how is it that modern Americans are just discovering them now? Remember how crazy we all went for quinoa? Now a new ancient grain has appeared on the U.S. market: fonio.

A member of the millet family, fonio originated in West Africa and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, who called it “the seed of the universe.” It is tiny, but mighty. A primer in HuffPost extols its many virtues: “Fonio is also a gluten-free grain with a low glycemic index, making it ideal for gluten-sensitive eaters and those who monitor their blood sugar. Fonio is also high in the amino acids methionine and cysteine, both of which promote healthy hair, skin and nail growth but are not present in any other grain.” It’s also lower in calories than brown rice or quinoa. It doesn’t require deep plowing, which is harmful to soil, and it can be grown in many climates.

Yeah, yeah, but how does it taste? The HuffPost article was a bit vague on that point. Pierre Thiam, co-founder and president of Yolélé Foods , a Brooklyn importer that sells fonio grown primarily on small farms in West Africa, describes it as “‘light and fluffy’ with ‘a slightly nutty, earthy flavor.’ He said that it ‘soaks up spices and sauces beautifully’ and that it can ‘replace any grain in your favorite recipes . you can even use it in baked goods.’” You can prepare it on the stovetop or in the microwave. The Yolélé website quotes the old Bambara saying “Fonio never embarrasses the cook,” meaning that if you screw up, there’s an easy fix.

So why has it taken fonio so long to get here? HuffPost has a fragment of a quote from Thiam about how it’s been “stifled by colonization.” Maybe it didn’t make the trip through the Middle Passage with other West African foods, like jollof rice (which became jambalaya) or soupou kanja (gumbo)? And maybe the economy of small farms wasn’t big enough to sustain exporting around the world?

Anyway, Yolélé sells fonio straight up and also in packets of flavored pilafs so we can now try them for ourselves and find out what we’ve been missing for the past 5,000 years.


There’s a new ancient grain for Americans to get excited about

If some grains are ancient and unchanged for thousands of years, how is it that modern Americans are just discovering them now? Remember how crazy we all went for quinoa? Now a new ancient grain has appeared on the U.S. market: fonio.

A member of the millet family, fonio originated in West Africa and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, who called it “the seed of the universe.” It is tiny, but mighty. A primer in HuffPost extols its many virtues: “Fonio is also a gluten-free grain with a low glycemic index, making it ideal for gluten-sensitive eaters and those who monitor their blood sugar. Fonio is also high in the amino acids methionine and cysteine, both of which promote healthy hair, skin and nail growth but are not present in any other grain.” It’s also lower in calories than brown rice or quinoa. It doesn’t require deep plowing, which is harmful to soil, and it can be grown in many climates.

Yeah, yeah, but how does it taste? The HuffPost article was a bit vague on that point. Pierre Thiam, co-founder and president of Yolélé Foods , a Brooklyn importer that sells fonio grown primarily on small farms in West Africa, describes it as “‘light and fluffy’ with ‘a slightly nutty, earthy flavor.’ He said that it ‘soaks up spices and sauces beautifully’ and that it can ‘replace any grain in your favorite recipes . you can even use it in baked goods.’” You can prepare it on the stovetop or in the microwave. The Yolélé website quotes the old Bambara saying “Fonio never embarrasses the cook,” meaning that if you screw up, there’s an easy fix.

So why has it taken fonio so long to get here? HuffPost has a fragment of a quote from Thiam about how it’s been “stifled by colonization.” Maybe it didn’t make the trip through the Middle Passage with other West African foods, like jollof rice (which became jambalaya) or soupou kanja (gumbo)? And maybe the economy of small farms wasn’t big enough to sustain exporting around the world?

Anyway, Yolélé sells fonio straight up and also in packets of flavored pilafs so we can now try them for ourselves and find out what we’ve been missing for the past 5,000 years.


There’s a new ancient grain for Americans to get excited about

If some grains are ancient and unchanged for thousands of years, how is it that modern Americans are just discovering them now? Remember how crazy we all went for quinoa? Now a new ancient grain has appeared on the U.S. market: fonio.

A member of the millet family, fonio originated in West Africa and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, who called it “the seed of the universe.” It is tiny, but mighty. A primer in HuffPost extols its many virtues: “Fonio is also a gluten-free grain with a low glycemic index, making it ideal for gluten-sensitive eaters and those who monitor their blood sugar. Fonio is also high in the amino acids methionine and cysteine, both of which promote healthy hair, skin and nail growth but are not present in any other grain.” It’s also lower in calories than brown rice or quinoa. It doesn’t require deep plowing, which is harmful to soil, and it can be grown in many climates.

Yeah, yeah, but how does it taste? The HuffPost article was a bit vague on that point. Pierre Thiam, co-founder and president of Yolélé Foods , a Brooklyn importer that sells fonio grown primarily on small farms in West Africa, describes it as “‘light and fluffy’ with ‘a slightly nutty, earthy flavor.’ He said that it ‘soaks up spices and sauces beautifully’ and that it can ‘replace any grain in your favorite recipes . you can even use it in baked goods.’” You can prepare it on the stovetop or in the microwave. The Yolélé website quotes the old Bambara saying “Fonio never embarrasses the cook,” meaning that if you screw up, there’s an easy fix.

So why has it taken fonio so long to get here? HuffPost has a fragment of a quote from Thiam about how it’s been “stifled by colonization.” Maybe it didn’t make the trip through the Middle Passage with other West African foods, like jollof rice (which became jambalaya) or soupou kanja (gumbo)? And maybe the economy of small farms wasn’t big enough to sustain exporting around the world?

Anyway, Yolélé sells fonio straight up and also in packets of flavored pilafs so we can now try them for ourselves and find out what we’ve been missing for the past 5,000 years.


There’s a new ancient grain for Americans to get excited about

If some grains are ancient and unchanged for thousands of years, how is it that modern Americans are just discovering them now? Remember how crazy we all went for quinoa? Now a new ancient grain has appeared on the U.S. market: fonio.

A member of the millet family, fonio originated in West Africa and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, who called it “the seed of the universe.” It is tiny, but mighty. A primer in HuffPost extols its many virtues: “Fonio is also a gluten-free grain with a low glycemic index, making it ideal for gluten-sensitive eaters and those who monitor their blood sugar. Fonio is also high in the amino acids methionine and cysteine, both of which promote healthy hair, skin and nail growth but are not present in any other grain.” It’s also lower in calories than brown rice or quinoa. It doesn’t require deep plowing, which is harmful to soil, and it can be grown in many climates.

Yeah, yeah, but how does it taste? The HuffPost article was a bit vague on that point. Pierre Thiam, co-founder and president of Yolélé Foods , a Brooklyn importer that sells fonio grown primarily on small farms in West Africa, describes it as “‘light and fluffy’ with ‘a slightly nutty, earthy flavor.’ He said that it ‘soaks up spices and sauces beautifully’ and that it can ‘replace any grain in your favorite recipes . you can even use it in baked goods.’” You can prepare it on the stovetop or in the microwave. The Yolélé website quotes the old Bambara saying “Fonio never embarrasses the cook,” meaning that if you screw up, there’s an easy fix.

So why has it taken fonio so long to get here? HuffPost has a fragment of a quote from Thiam about how it’s been “stifled by colonization.” Maybe it didn’t make the trip through the Middle Passage with other West African foods, like jollof rice (which became jambalaya) or soupou kanja (gumbo)? And maybe the economy of small farms wasn’t big enough to sustain exporting around the world?

Anyway, Yolélé sells fonio straight up and also in packets of flavored pilafs so we can now try them for ourselves and find out what we’ve been missing for the past 5,000 years.



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