What’s up with Amaranth? I always see it on the standard list of gluten-free grains but it’s not so commonly used in western cooking.
Amaranth, popular with the Aztecs, is a plant with a flowery head that contains the seeds we eat. The nutritional profile of amaranth is interestingly similar to swiss chard, beets, spinach, and quinoa – this because they all belong to the same Chenopodiacease family. Like many dark leafy greens, amaranth is chalked with magnesium, calcium, and iron in much higher quantities than most grains (like wheat for example). In terms of taste, it can be described as nutty, earthy, and ever so slightly sweet.
What’s cool about Amaranth is that it is rich in the essential amino acid Lysine. An essential amino acid, btw, is protein building block that we cannot make and therefore must be obtained from our diet. This particular amino acid is used for making carnitine which we need to convert fatty acids into energy. Also, it helps the absorption of calcium which works very synergistically with the fact that Amaranth is a good source of calcium. Overall, it has more protein than any other gluten-free grain and lots of fiber too. Here is a amaranth porridge recipe from an awesome site called Naturally Ella that is DELICIOUS!
Banana-Pecan Amaranth Porridge
(adapted from Naturally Ella & recipe created by Erin Alderson)
- ½ cup amaranth
- 1 cup water
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup pecan pieces
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 bananas
- Milk (almond or coconut), to serve
Combine amaranth with one cup water and salt. Bring amaranth to a boil, and reduce to a simmer and then cover and simmer for 15 mins. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 mins. If it’s too thick, add some almond or coconut milk and set aside. Add pecans to a dry skillet and toast over medium-low heat, stir often. Toast ar0und 3 minutes. Set aside. Heat coconut oil, maple syrup, and cinnamon over medium-low heat. Cut bananas in ½” slices and add to skillet, cook until bananas are extremely tender and maple syrup has absorbed into the slices. Stir together ¾ of the bananas and amaranth. Pour into bowls and top with remaining bananas, pecans, and a drizzle of milk.
THE DAILY DL (Dalai Lama)
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”
– Irish Proverb
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