If you’ve never heard of amaranth, don’t worry. It’s not very well known. I just learned that it was actually a forbidden grain for 300 years or so, during the Spanish conquest.
And it’s not even a grain. Did you know that amaranth, like quinoa, is a seed? It looks like a teeny tiny version of quinoa, and has a mild corn taste.
As a sidenote, I actually first tried amaranth in Mexico, where it was popped and used as the base of an amazing granola. I became obsessed with it when I got home, and, unable to find any already-popped amaranth, tried on several occasions to pop it at home. I would warn you against this – amaranth grains are teeny tiny (like the head of a pin). Try popping that! I’ve recently discovered already popped amaranth at some health food stores, and my popped amaranth consumption has become 1000x easier.
Here are a few reasons to try amaranth:
- It’s higher in protein. Because it’s a seed, amaranth is higher in amino acids than grains, and thus provides more protein per serving. Perfect for breakfast, when your body needs a good dose of protein.
- It’s nutrient rich. Amaranth is high in calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc and fibre. Don’t we love all these things? YES.
- It’s versatile. It can be popped and made into granola, popped amaranth krispies (like rice krispie squares) or sprinkled on grain dishes. When cooked like oatmeal, amaranth takes on a porridge-like consistency. It reminds me of cream of wheat (which I actually liked as a child… weird?)
- And it’s especially amazing with fresh summer fruit. Amaranth and fresh strawberries are like a match made in heaven. With strawberries near the end of their early summer run, grab some asap and try making amaranth porridge this weekend.
- ¼ cup amaranth, rinsed
- 2/3 cup water
- ½ cup strawberries, sliced
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 1 tbsp ground flax
- 1 small handful sunflower seeds, walnuts…
- Put amaranth and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to lowest setting and cover for around 20 minutes. Periodically add more water if needed.
- When amaranth is soft and porridge-like, pour into a bowl and top with berries, almond milk, flax seeds, nuts and, optionally, some cranberries.