Great Grains: Amaranth

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Amaranth Breakfast Bowl

In my continuing quest to shake things up around here, I’ve decided to try a variety of grains to see what people used to eat before they decided everything should be on rice or noodles (which are both lovely options in my book). Who says the foods that we’ve settled into as a culture are the ones that will do us the most good? In many cases I think it’s clear that the opposite may be true – but that’s a rant for another day.  Why not increase the number of options and opportunities for the bod to get what it needs by adding a new whole grain to the pantry?  Today’s mission: amaranth.

Amaranth in the field

Amaranth has been grown for centuries in South America and, in more recent years, in many parts of the world as folks have noticed that it is particularly tolerant to drought.  From a nutritional standpoint, amaranth has a lot to offer.  Amaranth is high in quality proteins, shows promise in research in actually lowering cholesterol, AND it is gluten free.  How do you like them Amaranthapples?

The grain has been used LOTS of different ways including popping it to make a snack, mixing popped amaranth with honey for a sweet treat (I am SO trying both of these), boiled in water to make a porridge, in place of corn as polenta, and in any situation you might consider using rice…..  I’ve tried only two of these options, but I’m gonna just lay it out there.  I dig amaranth, so I’ll be trying more.

Amaranth grains

For our first foray into amaranthdom, I boiled some in water (following Dr. Weil’s recommendations because they came up first in a search and I was in a hurry) in a 1 c amaranth to 2.5 c water ratio.  Once it came to a boil, I simmered for about 15-20 minutes.  The result was thick and porridgy to the eye, but when I tasted it, the individual grains were still discernible – very cool texture with a slightly nutty flavor.

I served the amaranth porridge under some cauliflower steaks (still a fave in my house) and mixed some without the cauliflower steaks with some of the tomato red-pepper sauce I’d made for the cauliflower steaks.  Absolutely divine.  While Sir Eats A Lot was not particularly enthusiastic, Ms. Picky Pants happily ate hers (the kid is a total mystery – I think she’s messing with me).  She REALLY doesn’t like rice – he really does, so the reaction may have been that simple.

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Smoky the bear mug…

For me the real amaranth revelation happened the next day when I got up and pulled the leftovers out.  I threw some in a pan with a little extra water and warmed it on low heat for just a couple of minutes – stirring while I did my morning chaos thing.  THEN I put it in a bowl with a bunch of other breakfast porridgy stuff (raisins, coconut, walnuts and a little almond milk).  It was fantastic – filling, nutty, super yum.  There is still a serving in the fridge and tomorrow a.m. it is MINE, all mine.  To the left is my glorious amaranth breakfast bowl next to my new favorite coffee mug brought to me by a friend in remembrance of our visit from Smoky the confused adolescent bear last year.  Amaranth, it’s what’s for breakfast, and dinner, and even snacks if you like (lots of specific recipes here). Delish!

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27 responses

  1. I keep forgetting about amaranth and always opting for oatmeal, quinoa, or even chia, so thank you for this post. Your porridge looks so delicious! What a great way to start the day! Love your mug, too. 🙂

  2. I have some in my pantry. I made the mistake of using the grain version to make pancakes with other flour but the texture was so gritty it was like eating sandy pancakes. Perhaps if I had soaked it first it might have been better. It put me off using it again until now. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂 I still that the leftovers in the freezer! 😦

  3. I heard about amaranth years ago when I first switched to vegetarian and whole foods but couldn’t find any around and so forgot about it. That was in the 1990s and so much has changed I need to take another look and see if I can locate it, thanks for reminding me.

  4. Oh the popped amaranth with honey sounds delicious – we will have to give that a try! Thanks for sharing this at LWSL this week!

  5. Pingback: Breakfast Recipes from the Hearth and Soul Hop

  6. Pingback: Googling Up Easy Delish Dinner | my sister's pantry

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