Fearless Food: Amaranth

Say what now? Amaranth?

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine posted a link about amaranth to my Facebook wall and asked, “What is this?” And you know what? She’s not alone. Not many people are familiar with amaranth, but it’s time you had a proper introduction.

Amaranth is generally classed as a grain but, like quinoa, is actually a gluten-free pseudo-cereal. Amaranth is more of a seed, and is actually from the same family as Swiss chard, a leafy green vegetable.

Amaranth is quite a powerhouse, full of fibre, protein, and even vitamin C, which is rarely found in grains. It is a complete protein, so you don’t need to combine it with anything else to get all your amino acids. It’s also a great source of calcium, iron, and magnesium.

Cool story, bro, but what am I supposed to do with it? Traditionally, amaranth is popped in a skillet, or boiled. It makes a great porridge (its consistency is similar to cream of wheat), and is a little bit sweet on its own.

If you’re looking for a new lunch option, here is one of my favorite ways to use amaranth:

Amaranth Chick Pea Salad

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup water

1/2 cup dry amaranth

1 avocado

1/2 cup chick peas

Cherry Tomatoes

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Spices to taste (I used garlic, dill weed, cayenne pepper, and turmeric, approx 1/4 tsp each)

Boil the amaranth in 1 1/2 cups water, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. It will be done when the water is gone. Allow the amaranth to cool, or if you’re pressed for time, pour the amaranth into cheesecloth and squeeze out the excess water. Mash half the avocado and blend with the amaranth. Add chickpeas, oil, vinegar, and spices, and blend all together. Chop the remaining avocado into small cubes, and halve the cherry tomatoes and mix in. (Chopped cucumber would make a great addition, too, but I was out of cucumber). Enjoy!

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