Cooking with Amaranth

Posted on June 10, 2013

Amaranth is one of Mother Earth’s best kept secrets. But I predict it won’t be a secret for long. Given its amazing nutrients and how easy it is to cook with, I think amaranth will explode as the next healthy food trend. Since we include amaranth as a primary grain in our new Ancient Grain Pure Bars, I get a lot of questions about this elusive “ancient grain”. What is amaranth? And why is it so good for you?

Amaranth isn’t technically a grain but it behaves like one. Actually, it behaves better than most grains! One of the distinguishing characteristics of amaranth is that it has high levels of lysine, an amino acid which is lacking in most grains. Because it has lysine, it is a complete source of vegan protein, which is good news for vegetarians and vegans alike. It is also rich in calcium, iron, and magnesium and has tons of fiber. Oh, and it is GLUTEN FREE!

Like most grains, amaranth cooks up nicely in water. It uses a 3:1 water to grain ratio and takes about 20 minutes of simmering to soften. To me, amaranth is very similar to the cream of wheat my mom used to make us for breakfast as kids. It looks, tastes, and smells very similar to cream of wheat. Even the texture is similar. My favorite way to eat amaranth is as a porridge with almond milk, honey, cinnamon and fruit but it also blends well with savory ingredients like onions, garlic, curry, cumin, turmeric and countless vegetables. For recipe ideas see my tip below!

Amaranth recipe ideas

Pour into soups like you would rice or barley to add thickness and texture as well as protein. You may need to add more broth since amaranth soaks up a lot of water.

Make “Amaranth Tabouli” by cooking amaranth in water according to package instructions, and mixing cooked amaranth with chopped onions, tomatoes cucumbers and parsley. Season it with sea salt and drizzle with olive oil.

Toast amaranth in a pan over low heat until it pops like popcorn. Throw into salads or pasta for a great crunchy texture and added protein.

Create porridge with cooked amaranth, honey, apricots, cinnamon and almond milk.

Use amaranth flour in place of wheat flour to create gluten free recipes.