If you have never heard of Amaranth, you aren't alone. I consider myself to be a little bit of a foodie (or a lot of one) and until very recently, I'd never come across the stuff. But lately, that's all changing. It's the ancient grain revolution, y'all and Amaranth is all over the place. The tall, leafy plant has brightly colored flowers and looooads of seeds. It is in the leaves and seeds that real nourishment lies.
While it has got relatives in Greece and Asia, for most Americans, it's been a secret staple. That remained the case up until even the late 1970s. This grain native to Mexico was actually burned as a trash crop under Cortez. To the Aztec people, the grain had supernatural powers and was used (and still is) in ancient rituals. While we might not revere the plant the same way, we can definitely benefit from it. The fact that it's super tasty definitely helps!
Although Amaranth isn't technically a grain, it gets lumped into the same category. That's because it's very often consumed with grains, or in a similar manner. But Amaranth packs much more a nutritional wallop, containing heart-healthy aminos the likes of which are normally only found in leafy greens. Here are some tasty ways to try adding Amaranth to your diet:
Amaranth in a skillet: With a little olive oil, it pops up like rice for a crunchy, flavorful nut-like snack.
Amaranth porridge: Combine with some of your favorite grains to create a smooth and creamy porridge or oatmeal.
Amaranth flour: Totally useful in baking! Trying subbing in where you'd usually use whole wheat flour.
Amaranth stir-fry: It's easy to caught up with the seeds, but try adding the leaves and stems the next time you whip you stir-fry.
Amaranth Salad: There's a Greek dish that incorporates amaranth along with vinegar to make a slaw-like salad -- definitely worth a try.
Do you eat Amaranth -- will you try it?
Image via OrphanJones/Flickr