A Tiny Grain with Tons of Nutrients

by | Updated: December 2nd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Q: What is teff?

A: The healthy whole grain known as teff is the smallest grain in the world, no larger than a poppy seed. But don’t let its small size fool you. This tiny grain is a superfood powerhouse. Teff is native to Ethiopia and Eritrea and is a primary ingredient in their cuisine. Teff crops have an incredibly high survival rate, with the ability to grow in harsh climates and conditions. Teff has a smooth and nutty flavor, plus it’s easy to cook with and highly nutritious. These are just a few of the reasons that teff is continuing to gain popularity.

Teff Flour: Gluten Free and Nutritious

Q: What are the nutritional benefits of teff?

A: Teff is similar in nutritional profile to quinoa and other popular whole grain oats. It leads all grains in its calcium content and is also an excellent source of Iron. With high protein content and a sufficient amount of fiber and carbohydrates, teff is an excellent addition to any meal — or a perfectly fine meal by itself! About 20-40% of the carbohydrates in teff are considered to be resistance starches, a type of dietary fiber which aids in weight management, intestinal health and sugar control. Oh, and did we mention it’s completely free of gluten?

Whole Grains Compared: Teff Nutrition
Here’s how teff stacks up to other whole grains.

Q: How do I cook with teff?

A: Anyone who has eaten at an Ethiopian restaurant will be familiar with Injera, the spongy and delicious flatbread traditionally made with teff flour, which acts as an edible serving plate in Ethiopian cuisine.

While teff is excellent in Injera and porridge, its uses have evolved far beyond that. It can be used in cereal, snacks, pancakes and on top of salads. There are two different styles of teff: ivory and brown. Ivory teff has a mild and sweet flavor, while brown teff is a bit heavier with hazelnut undertones. Teff flour provides a hearty base to recipes and can be used to replace flour in gluten-free dishes.

Basic teff preparation:

1/2 cup whole grain teff
2 cups water or stock


  1. Add 1/2-cup teff grain to 2 cups boiling water or stock. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 – 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Stir occasionally.
  2. Serve with honey, raisins, nuts, fruit and/or cinnamon to add flavor and nutrition for a hot breakfast cereal.

Quick-and-Easy Teff Crepe (similar to Injera)

Breakfast Wrap Made with Teff Flour
These crepe-like wraps can be topped with syrup and eaten for breakfast or rolled up for a lunchtime sandwich.


1 cup teff flour
1 ½ cups hot water
1/3 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp coconut oil


  1. Coat a cooking pan with coconut oil and bring to medium heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients together.
  3. Pour batter onto hot pan and cook each side briefly until light brown and solid.
  4. Eat it like a pancake or crepe, or use it as a wrap!