Amaranth is a gluten-free grain — technically a seed — that’s versatile and tastes great.
Amaranth is an incredibly small seed about the size of the tip of a pen or pencil and is yellow in color. It’s full of fiber, protein, lower in carbohydrates than most grains, and most importantly contains higher amounts of lysine, which is an essential amino acid which is typically lower in plant-based proteins.
How to Use:
Amaranth is great to use for a healthier version of cream of wheat or grits since amaranth is a very small seed, after it’s cooked it resembles the texture of grits. Each amaranth seed melts together to form a chewy textured mixture and the seeds are not able to be individually picked apart like quinoa for example. Amaranth is great to use in sweet porridges for a hearty breakfast, in soups or stews as a thickener, popped similar to popcorn or used in granolas/mueslis, or a simple side dish with roasted veggies and protein.
Nutrient Breakdown of Amaranth:
*per 1 cup
Protein — 1 cup of cooked amaranth contains 9g protein
Rich in the in the amino acid, i.e. building blocks of protein, lysine compared to other grains, which is normally one of the lacking amino acids in plant proteins. Lysine is an amino acid important in growth, converting carnitine, which helps break down fatty acids into energy and plays a role in cholesterol, helps the body absorb calcium, and supports collagen growth.
Fiber — 1 cup of cooked amaranth contains 6g fiber
B Vitamins — folate and B6
Calcium — 12% DV
Iron — 40% DV
Phosphorus — 36% DV
Potassium — 9% DV
Zinc — 14% DV
Copper — 18% DV
Manganese — 105% DV
Selenium — 19% DV
Where to Purchase:
Health food stores, grocery stores in bulk bins, and online retailers
How to Cook:
With 3 cups water: 1 cup amaranth, boil water, add amaranth, simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes until soft, fluff with a fork. Option to cook longer and add more water to develop a grit-like texture. The popped option is to add dry amaranth to a large pot and shake/stir continuously until all the amaranth has popped. Be careful; it burns quickly.