Vegetarian Teff Sliders

Laurie Wolf, Photo by Anastassios Mentis


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Makes 4 servings

2⁄3 cup whole grain teff

2 1⁄2 cups water

3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

1⁄3 cup red onion, chopped

1 cup chopped kale

1 small sweet potato, peeled and shredded

2⁄3 cup frozen corn niblets

2 cloves garlic, minced

1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cucumber, washed and thinly sliced

8 whole wheat slider buns, sliced in half

3 Tablespoons shredded mozzarella

Don’t let size fool you: Teff’s tiny grains pack a big nutritional punch. No wonder it’s one of the hottest foods around! The grains are about the size of poppy seeds, and varieties range from white to dark red. Red teff is high in iron, making it particularly popular. Teff is also packed with more calcium and vitamins than other grains and is a rich source of thiamin, fiber, and protein.

Since it’s both highly nutritious and easy to grow in difficult climates, teff is a longtime staple of North African cuisine. If you’ve eaten in an Ethiopian restaurant, you’ve enjoyed teff-based injera, the spongy bread used to sop up the juicy food. In injera, the teff is fermented and has a somewhat sour flavor. But without fermentation it has a naturally sweet and nutty taste, which lends itself well to a variety of recipes. Here, we combined it with vegetables to create these mighty little sliders. With the added crunch of refreshing cucumber slices, this is a fun and healthy recipe the whole family will love.


  • Swap out the kale for spinach or chopped broccoli.
  • Top the burgers with a sauce of equal parts plain Greek yogurt and salsa.
  • Put a slider in a mini pita with hummus, a little cumin, and greens for a faux falafel.

More Ways to Use Teff

  • FOR BREAKFAST: Cook teff to the consistency of porridge and serve it with maple syrup, fruit, and chopped nuts.
  • FOR A SIDE: Create a polenta-like dish by allowing the teff to set after cooking. Cut it into wedges and sauté in oil and spices that complement your main dish.
  • FOR A GARNISH: Combine 1 cup of teff and 1 cup of water and let sit for 7 to 10 minutes. You will now have a food similar in texture to poppy seeds, which you can sprinkle on vegetables, soups, and casseroles.

Where to Get It

For recipes like this one, look for whole grain teff rather than teff flour (which is the ground version of the grain). It’s available at health food stores as well as online, and you can store dry teff in an airtight container for up to one year. We used red teff from The Teff Company ($25 for five 1-pound bags,


1. In a medium saucepan bring the teff and water to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes, until the water has been absorbed by the teff. Allow to sit, covered, for 7 to 10 minutes.

2. In a large nonstick sauté pan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté the onion, kale, sweet potato, corn, and garlic for 7 to 9 minutes or until potato is tender.

3. Add the teff to the vegetable mixture along with the sea salt and mix well. Form the teff into 8 small patties. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. Using the same sauté pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, carefully place the teff sliders in the pan. Sauté until golden brown and the sliders have formed a crust. Turn and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes.

5. Place the cucumbers on the bottom half of the slider rolls. Top with the burgers, then sprinkle with the cheese. Place the top half of the bread over the cheese and enjoy.

Per Serving:

Calories: 471

Carbohydrates: 80 g

Fat: 12 g

Protein: 15 g

Fiber: 10 g

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 85 minutes