Amaranth is an ancient crop making a new debut in the last 20 years. It is a tiny seed, mostly tan with a few black seeds mixed in. It has a mild flavor, similar to rice but without the rice aroma. And it is a nutritional powerhouse.
yours truly out standing in amaranth photo by vsimon
Ancient Aztec runners and warriors ate amaranth because it provided energy and endurance. Nutrition Data shows that 1-cup serving of cooked amaranth is about 250 calories, 4 grams fat, 5 grams fiber, and 9 gm protein. That will keep you fueled on your busy day.
It is also like taking a tasty supplement in a bowl. Certain minerals and vitamins are lacking in many gluten free foods. Not here. That same 1-cup serving of amaranth naturally provides about 30% of our iron, 10% of our calcium, 15% of our folate and 15% of our B6 minimum daily needs.
photo by lsimon
Start the day with creamy crunchy hot amaranth.
It is all about the texture. It is creamy as you expect hot cereal to be, with a pleasant lingering little crunch.
1 cup amaranth seeds
4 cups water
Put seeds and water in a saucepan and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. For even more iron, use a cast iron pan.
This recipe serves 4, and doubles well. Make enough for the week and you will easily have a quick satisfying breakfast. It thickens as it stands, so you may want to add more water before reheating. Top it with fruit, nuts and ground flax seeds for even more fiber, texture and flavor.
Use up leftover plain cooked amaranth in meatloaf or meatballs instead of gluten free breadcrumbs.
Or try popped amaranth seeds. You get light airy bits that look like tiny double snowballs stuck together. With wonderful toasty flavor and scent. Simply put a ¼-cup amaranth grains in a heavy saucepan covered with a lid. Bring heat to medium high and slide the pan side to side to shake up the grains. Once you hear a faint pop, you only need to cook for a minute or two to pop the seeds. They burn easily so remove from the heat quickly and pour into a cool bowl. They are yummy with milk as a cold cereal. Eat them quick for maximum crunch.
Updated 1-12-10 Interested in amaranth greens? Click here.
Interested in harvesting amaranth grains. Click here.