Fonio being harvested in the field. See the baobab tree in the background? (Wikipedia)

Fonio being harvested in the field. See the baobab tree in the background? (Wikipedia)

Fonio is a little-known West African superfood packed with¬†nutritional benefits. It has a higher protein content than other cereals, making it a perfect grain or side dish for vegetarians. It’s also gluten-free.

If you are lucky enough to have fonio available in your local market, buy some and cook it up. Fonio grains are small and cook quickly, making this a great choice when you’re short on time and boiling a pot of brown rice will take too long. Fonio’s small grains make an easy couscous, but can also be make into bread, porridge and even beer.

The small grains are beloved in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Nigeria, Senegal and Togo, where fonio is a staple part of most people’s diets. In Togo, fonio is cooked with black eyed peas and in other places, mixed with nutrient-dense sesame seeds to add even more vegetarian nutrition.

Fonio grains can be cooked whole, or it can be ground into a gluten-free flour and used as a substitute for wheat flour.

Give our favorite fonio recipes a try:

Basic Fonio Couscous

To learn more about fonio, we suggest:

About African Fonio

To learn more about our continent’s favorite food staples, we suggest:

About African Starches and Artisanal Grains
Cooking with African Starches and Artisanal Grains