If you’ve been spending time on health food blogs lately, you might have come across articles about amaranth and its many health benefits. But what exactly is amaranth, and how can it be integrated into our diets?
Amaranth, which looks a bit like a smaller version of quinoa, is a pseudo-cereal, which means that it is not actually a grain (amaranth is a seed!), but is used and consumed like a grain. Like most other pseudo-cereals, amaranth is high in fiber and protein. It is also a good source of several important vitamins and minerals including folate, iron, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus.
Amaranth can be boiled with water, similar to rice or quinoa. It can then be served with meat and vegetables just like quinoa. However, amaranth has a strong earthy flavour that is very dominant when cooking it this way, so this option might not be for everyone.
My favourite way to eat amaranth is to pop it and eat it with yogurt, fruit or smoothie bowls instead of cereal, like shown in the above picture. To get popped amaranth, simply heat a pan (non-stick coated works best) on the stove with the lid on. You will know that the required temperature is reached when you can put a drop of water in the pan and it disappears right away. Once the pan is hot enough, add a thin layer of amaranth to the pan (you do not need oil!), put the lid back on and move the pan around on the heat until most of the seeds have popped. They should start popping pretty much right away if the temperature is right. As soon as most seeds in the pan have popped, remove them from the pan to prevent burning. Repeat until you have the desired amount and then get creative with using it!