Amaranth- Another Super Grain

I’ve recently been writing about super healthy ancient grains, like chia and quinoa. These grains are vitamin and mineral rich, gluten-free (if that matters to you- not so much to me, as you can see by my pasta recipe), and loaded with antioxidants.

Today’s grain is one I recently started using that is actually not a grain, but a seed. A single plant has about 400,000 seeds that are:

  • High in levels of calcium and iron (even more than quinoa!)
  • Rich in lysine (important for healthy blood vessels)
  • A great source of magnesium, iron, potassium, folate, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, and E.

Quinoa was grown throughout the Americas and was grown and used almost as widely as corn before colonization. It was another of the sacred grains of the Aztecs, but was almost wiped out by the Spaniards, who required wheat to be grown instead, as they were looking for grains that could be turned into bread.

It is drought, heat, and pest tolerant, and is grown where most conventional grains don’t do so well- in the highlands of Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Bolivia.

Many Uses of Amaranth

Amaranth has many uses. It can be:

  • Ground into gluten-free flour
  • Popped like popcorn
  • Cooked like rice or quinoa
  • Made into flakes for thickeners or cereals
  • Made into confections
  • Used in souffles and savory fillings

I believe it is best when it is integrated with other foods. It is a great thickener. I plan to use it in veggie burgers to hold them together (I’ll post the recipe after I’ve figured out a good one).

I recently made 2 cups of it as a base an then made a mushroom dish to go on top.amaranth-risotto_1x1

I liked it, but my two kids and husband, who’d never seen, smelled, or tried amaranth before, were a bit skeptical. I’d made too much of it by itself…

So I turned it into something else. First I tried these crispy amaranth patties, which my kids loved. I took some of the rest and added raisins, cinnamon, rapadura (sugar with minerals still in it), and nuts, and baked it the same ways, and my kids loved it even more (especially since I referred to them as “cookies,” which they tasted like- crispy, yummy, cookies).

Basic Recipe

Here’s a simple way to cook amaranth:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup amaranth
  • 3 cups water

Directions

  1. *Soak the amaranth overnight
  2. Put the amaranth and water in a pot and slowly bring to a boil.
  3. Cover and cook on low, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes (until water is absorbed).

*How To Soak Amaranth

Like other nuts, seeds, and grains, amaranth locks in the vitamins and minerals. Soaking helps to make these bio-available so our bodies can get to them and use them. It also reduces other things like phytic acid, which protect the seeds and wreak havoc on our gut health (and, consequentially, our immune system).

To soak it, cover it good with water. Add 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per cup of water. (Or if you’re like me, just douse the bowl with a little). Leave it overnight (at least 6 hours) up to 24 hours.

Got an Amaranth Recipe You Love?

Please share it in the comments!

My desire is that through this blog, you will be inspired to:

  • engage deeply with the Lord and those you care about
  • embrace wholly, bringing your whole self to the table to connect with others, and
  • delight lavishly, celebrating the consequential and minutia of life.

Eating nourishing foods prepared in a way our body can access them best helps us to have the energy and resources to do these things.

Check out other recipes here:

 

Great Resource on Ancient Grains (where I got some of my facts): Cooking With Ancient Grains: 75 Delicious Recipes for Quinoa, Amaranth, Chia and Kaniwa by Maria Baez Kijac.

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