A few months ago, I was riding in a car with two of my very favorite people when they both started gushing about amaranth.
It’s a grain, my friend explained -she heard about it from Chef Brad.
I have a lot to learn. Thank goodness for Google. You probably already know about Chef Brad and Amaranth. I’m usually pretty late to these kinds of parties.
It turns out that Chef Brad is a grain master -his food is healthy and delicious.
Since going gluten-free (can you hear “Taps” playing? It can’t just be me…), I’m working hard to make sure I keep some healthy grains in my diet, so I added Amaranth to my “Thrive” shipment last month. I felt so accomplished just having it in my house, like I was somehow more sophisticated for having a heavy tin can of grain on my living room floor.
… in my trailer.
It sat there for a few days because although I knew I wanted it, I didn’t quite know what to do with it. Eventually I started running out of other foods around the house (end of the paycheck famine), so I cracked open the can and went to work.
I vaguely remembered reading somewhere (from Chef Brad, maybe?) that Amaranth could be popped, and since I’ve found joy in the art of stove-top popping with popcorn, I decided to give that route a try.
I burned three batches, but eventually one came out right. And then another and another, and my son stood nearby, cheering me on.
I poured some into a bowl, added sugar and some pomegranate honey (compliments of my Utah-residing sister) (it’s Zion’s honey, no doubt), topped it with milk and it was gone so fast.
And my son kept begging for more -it didn’t matter that he didn’t even know what he was asking for.
“More of that, Mom… with the sugar, the popped… so good… I’m BEGGING.”
I also threw about 1/4 C. in with my tuna salad and it was really, really, really good.
Amaranth itself is completely and utterly guilt-less -and what it lack in guilt it makes up in bliss.
You’re Going to Need:
(seriously, that’s it!)
Heat a pan or skillet to high heat.
Add a small amount of amaranth (I pop 1 Tbsp. at a time). Cover (I mean it, sister). Shake pan. Keep it moving! The amaranth will begin to pop in a few seconds and will be done popping in 10-13 seconds. It burns SO fast, and you’ll end up throwing a few batches out as you figure out what heat setting works best for your stove.
One popped, let your imagination run wild. I can’t let my imagination run wild because once I pop a few batches, EVERYONE wants to eat it up in cereal-form. We started calling it Power Cereal. It’s a staple now.
Add yogurt, add berries, throw it into salads, eat it plain.
(I keep feeling like I’m trying to write a Dr. Seuss Tribute to Amaranth.)
Popped amaranth will keep in your fridge or freezer -I’ve even read a few places about dehydrating it!
I hope you’ll try it. It’s a wild ride (says the girl who screamed when she rode the Pinocchio ride at Disneyland… stupid whale popping up…)
Here’s a quick run-down on what it has to offer (source):
Vitamins & Minerals
vitamins A, B6, K and C, a well as folate and riboflavin, manganese and also iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
Amaranth contains large amounts of protein, up to 30% more than wheat flour, rice and oats. It also contains no gluten.
Dietary Fiber & Amino Acids
Dietary fiber and essential amino acids, including lysine, which has clinically shown potential for cancer treatment, are prominent in amaranth. It also contains relatively low cholesterol levels.
Disease Prevention & Immune Support
The oils in amaranth have been proven to assist in the prevention and treatment of hypertension and heart disease. Regular consumption of amaranth can help to reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. Amaranth has also been said to help boost the immune system.
Grey Hair Prevention
Some studies have even found that grain amaranth may even help prevent gray hair.
Now for the fun part: IDEAS!
Pinterest is a great search engine for things like this -I prefer Pinterest to Google when it comes to recipes… it feels more like a sweet, sisterly woman is opening her kitchen and knowledge to me. Google is so cold and robotic.
Cold and robotic has it’s place. Just not in my kitchen.
There’s Popped Amaranth Cereal in a Jar -I’m leaving my computer in a few minutes to go make some of this for my friends!
Popped Amaranth Peanut Butter Cups
And, of course, just plain Popped Amaranth!