Looking to shake up your grain game? This tiny seed of amaranth, meaning ‘everlasting’ in Greek, is just as nutritious as quinoa and contains more protein than oats. Here are its many benefits brought to you by purveyors of healthy baking, Superfood Bakery.
If the only nutritious grain you know is quinoa, then it’s time to you met this super grain. Meet amaranth – a close relative of quinoa hailing from South America, where it was domesticated nearly 7,000 years ago. This gluten-free grain was a major food crop of the Aztecs due to its high protein, mineral and vitamin content.
It has more iron, calcium and phosphorus than most vegetables, and also, cup for cup it has more protein than oats (28.1g vs. 26.3g) and rice (28.1g vs. 13.1g). The amaranth plant, also known as ‘Love-Lies-Bleeding’, can be grown in your back garden too.
Amaranth looks very similar to quinoa (the same tiny, round seeds) and has an earthy, nutty flavour that works wonderfully in tabouleh – or pilaf-style dishes with lemon juice, parsley and tomato. Another way to eat it that’s more unusual but absolutely delicious is to puff the amaranth and make energy balls with it or even ‘rice cakes’ with amaranth and honey.
If that’s not convincing enough, here are seven more reasons why you should get into this gluten-free nutritional bombshell!
1. Protein power
Amaranth is rich in an amino acid called lysine, which makes it a complete protein, as is contains all 7 amino acids. Packing in 26 grams of protein per cup, as opposed to 13 grams per cup of white rice, Superfood Bakery include amaranth in their protein-packed bliss ball mix.
2. Hello vitamins and minerals
Amaranth is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. 1 uncooked cup has 82% recommended daily intake of iron, 31% of calcium and 14% of vitamin C!
3. Cut cholesterol
Amaranth contains phytosterols, which can cut your levels of cholesterol!
4. Fibre all the way
An impressive source of fibre, amaranth contains 13 grams per cup (uncooked). For comparison, white rice has just 2 grams!
5. Anti-inflammatory hero
This tiny seed contains peptides and oils, which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, making it almost a dietary staple for those suffering from diabetes and heart disease.
How to cook amaranth
1 cup amaranth seed
2 ½ cups of water
Add amaranth to boiling water, bring to boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 18-20 minutes.
Puffed (makes two cups)
6 tbsp raw amaranth
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat for quite some time to make sure it gets hot enough. (To test when it’s ready, add a drop of water. If it instantly balls up, dances around the pot and evaporates – you’re good to go). Put 1 tbsp of amaranth in the saucepan. You should have a very thin layer covering the bottom.
Put the lid on (if you don’t, it will go everywhere). Lift the pot slightly and slide it back and forth – the grain should start popping in 2-3 seconds and should be ready in 10-15 seconds. It burns quickly, so keep an eye on it! Pour the popped amaranth into a bowl just as the popping is slowing down to make sure you don’t burn it. It takes some practice, but the result is delicious!
This article is brought you by our friends and clever creators of healthy baking mixes, Superfood Bakery.