Amaranth is commonly referred to as a grain because of its appearance and nutritional profile. It's actually not a grain at all: it's the seed of a beautiful flower called Amaranthus, said by gardeners to be very easy to grow.
Both leaves and seeds are edible and enjoyed in various parts of the world. The name of this wonderful plant comes from a Greek word that means "everlasting." The plant itself comes to us from the Aztecs, however. There are many legends attached to it, and it was an integral part of the Aztecs' diet and religious rituals.
photo courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons
Amaranth's nutritional pedigree reads like manna from heaven. It is bursting with important nutrients--just take a look at its nutritional profile:
1 cup of Amaranth uncooked contains:26g of protein
13 g of fiber
31% Daily values of Calcium
82% Daily values of Iron
14% Daily values of Vitamin C
The protein in Amaranth contains both lysine and methionine which makes it an especially good source for vegetarians. It contains no gluten (yeah!) and is a good source of vitamin E (tocotrienols).
Amaranth needs to be stored in an airtight container because of its oil content. I keep mine in a jar in the refrigerator. I try to use it within three months because the oils can go rancid if kept much longer. The good news is: it's delicious and very versatile. You should have no problem eating it often. It can be popped like popcorn, cooked like grits, and transformed into delightful patties-- the list goes on and on. You can also add Amaranth flour to your baked-goods in moderation. I would start by replacing 1/4 cup of your flour mix with it. It's a great binding agent so too much will turn your bread gummy.
This week I will be sharing two recipes for Amaranth.
Today's recipe is Popped Amaranth Cereal with Sesame Seeds and Crystallized Ginger.
This breakfast or snack is packed with wholesome ingredients. It comes together in minutes and is such a nice change from a bowl of porridge.
Coming up in my next post: Spinach Amaranth Herb Salad
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Popped Amaranth Cereal with Sesame Seeds and Crystallized Ginger (makes 1 serving)
One of my daughters doesn't like milk of any kind, so she enjoys hers with a little bit of
orange juice. It can also be altered for a vegan diet by choosing one of the vegan milk and sweetener options listed below.
2 tablespoons of Amaranth Seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp of crystallized ginger, minced
sugar, honey or agave nectar to taste (optional)
1/4 cup milk, soy milk, almond milk or orange juice
Breakfast is Ready!