Meatless Mondays: Teff “Polenta” with Sautéed Chard

Teff is one of the most interesting whole grains that we offer, but it often leaves folks scratching their heads wondering how to use it. Teff is quite possibly the world’s smallest grain. It is a traditional staple of Ethiopia, where teff flour is used to make the flat bread Injera. You wouldn’t guess it, but this tiny grain packs a nutritional punch. Because of its small size, each kernel has a higher proportion of bran and germ than other grains. A single quarter-cup serving delivers a healthy dose of fiber (4 grams), protein (7 grams) and calcium (10% of your RDA).

Teff makes a wonderful breakfast porridge, but we were craving something a bit more savory. Our Label Content Manager, Michelle (who also writes the beautiful blog Je Mange la Ville) came up with this extraordinary twist on polenta. Not only is teff nutritionally far superior to corn, it has a complex flavor that is sure to delight your inner foodie. Bonus: this recipe is entirely gluten free!


Teff “Polenta” with Sautéed Chard

Serves 4-6

  • 4 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried Basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Teff
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tbsp unsalted Butter
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

For Sautéed Chard:

  • 1 bunch Rainbow Chard
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Pepper
  • 1 medium Onion, diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced

Optional: balsamic vinegar for drizzling and shaved Parmesan cheese

For Teff Polenta:

Add broth, basil, thyme, oregano and garlic powder to a pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Whisk in Teff, reduce heat to low, cover and cook 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broth is absorbed. Stir in butter and cheese. Teff should be soft and slightly creamy. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Spread teff out in a 8-inch (or similar) square pan coated with non-stick spray. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate at least 2 hours (and up to 24).

When ready to finish polenta: Heat a non-stick skillet with 2 tbsp olive oil, over medium heat. Slice polenta into 4 or 6 squares and sauté in the oil about 3-4 minutes per side, until slightly golden.

For Chard:

Cut stems and center ribs from chard, discarding any tough portions, then cut stems and ribs into 1-inch pieces. Cut chard leaves into 1-inch-wide strips.

Heat oil and butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat until foam subsides, then add onions and garlic, lower heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and begin to color, about 8 minutes.

Add the stems and ribs to the pot, along with salt and pepper. Cover and stir occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Add chard leaves to pot and cover. Cook 4-6 minutes until tender and wilted. With a slotted spoon, divide chard among four plates, atop a square of polenta. If using, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and a little shaved Parmesan to finish.


Truth, I’ve been a little scared of the flavor of teff. The darker flours seem to have a stronger flavor and while I like them, I always fear my guys won’t be as into them. Now I’m intrigued! I need to give this a go! Sounds amazing!

Liz Thorpe says:

I love using teff. The flavor and resulting texture it produces is similar to whole wheat flour, which I used to use in all sorts of things before I had to go gluten free. I use it in a dark gravy. Yum. Admittedly, it is a little gritty – much like rice flour, but the flavor is worth it.

My daughter is allergic to corn, soy, and nuts and I am allergic to rice, potatoes and beans so our gluten free all purpose flour is 1 cup teff, 1 cup sorghum and 1/2 cup arrowroot starch. Corn starch works better than arrowroot if you can eat it. That said, we make awesome chocolate cakes, muffins, cookies, and a lemon cake (we put up with the light-tan color because we love the taste. Our solution is to smother it with lemon frosting! No suffering here!)

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