Grain Focus: Amaranth
Part 3 in the grain series: amaranth! This is the most versatile grain I’ve encountered thus far. Read about it below!
What is it?
Amaranth is classified as a “pseudocereal”, which is a fancy way of saying it’s usually used the same way as other cereals. Basically, it’s an edible starchy seed.
What does it taste like?
Amaranth is earthy and nutty tasting. It’s a mix between whole wheat and brown rice.
What are the health benefits?
Amaranth contains a higher protein concentration than almost any other grain (excluding quinoa, which is king). It has a peptide (short chain of amino acids) that can help reduce inflammation and contains antioxidant properties. Amaranth also has a high concentration of calcium and fiber. Bonus: It’s gluten free since it’s a seed! Potassium is found in amaranth as well, which we learned from the millet post is good for lowering blood pressure. The significant levels of carotenoids and vitamin A make amaranth great for eye health. It’s also high in folate, ladies! Jump on the amaranth train!
What is the best way to cook it?
Amaranth is versatile. It can be roasted, popped like popcorn, boiled, added as a thickener to soups, etc. Boiled: Add 1/2 cup amaranth and 1 1/2 cups liquid to a pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered 20 minutes. Popped: Toast the seeds in a covered dry, hot skillet. Continually shake/stir the skillet until the seeds pop. Use them as a snack, a topping on salads, soups, vegetable dishes, etc. Added to soups and stews: Amaranth creates a gelatinous quality that makes it good for thickening stews. Add a couple tablespoons to the soup while it’s cooking to help thicken it up.
Where can I find it?
I’ve bought amaranth at Walmart and County Market in the past. If you don’t find it there, you can buy it here on Amazon.
What are some recipes?