Similar to quinoa, Amaranth is actually a seed that acts like a grain, with a nutty, slightly earthy flavor. The flavor is mostly mild, which makes it nice for sweet and savory dishes. It is a nutritional powerhouse that continues to grow in popularity, especially as gluten-free diets are being followed more. Beyond the seed, amaranth is also grown for its greens, which are used in many cuisines and can be cooked like other leafy greens. This plant also has a long, fascinating history.
The Flour: I’ve found amaranth flour to have a bit more of an assuming flavor compared to the whole grain. This malty type flavor can work with both sweet and savory dishes but I prefer to use it in combination, never as a standalone flour. Amaranth flour can be a nice addition to gluten-free flour blends that contain oat, millet, or sorghum flour.
Get all the grains you need in the morning by combining them into a hearty porridge. Fill a pot with 6 cups of water and then add in 1/2 cup of brown rice, 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/4 cup amaranth, 1/4 cup millet, and 1/4 cup wheat bran, bring to a boil and cook for 40-50 minutes. If you don’t have all those grains, just add more of another one. In a skillet, cook a sliced apple, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons honey for about 3 minutes, until the apples are browned. Top your porridge with the contents of the skillet, cooked coconut flakes, sea salt, bee pollen, and a drizzle of honey.
Pop 8 ounces of amaranth in a hot skillet by adding a tablespoon at a time for about 15-18 seconds, transferring to a bowl when popped. In a large saucepan, combine 6 tablespoons honey, 6 tablespoons agave nectar, and 6 tablespoons butter, and cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the amaranth to the honey mixture with 6 tablespoons of sunflower seed, 6 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds, 1/2 cup of diced dried apricots, and 1/4 cup diced dried Mission figs. Pour the mixture into a nonstick pan, spread it out to the corners, and then let it cool and harden before you cut it into bars.
AMARANTH WALNUT COOKIE
In a food processor, put 4 ounces of walnuts and 2 tablespoons of sugar, then process until sandy-looking, which should take about 15 seconds. In a medium bowl, mix together 3/4 cups of white whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup amaranth flour, and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt. Beat 7 tablespoons of butter with a mixer until smooth, gradually adding a cup of sugar, then add an egg yolk, 1 tablespoon of brandy, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and beat for 30 seconds. Reduce the speed of the mixer and beat in the nut mixture and the flour mixture. Then cover the bowl and chill for at least 3 hours. Pour 6 tablespoons of amaranth seeds into a bowl, then roll pieces of your dough into circles and then roll them in the amaranth seeds and place them on a baking sheet. Make an indent with your thumb in each circle and place a walnut half in them. Bake at 350 degrees for 17-18 minutes.
COCONUT AMARANTH PUDDING
Cook 1/2 cup of amaranth in a can of light coconut milk and 4 tablespoons sugar for about 20 minutes, then let it cool. Pour the mixture into serving dishes and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Once cool, sprinkle with cinnamon and top with fruit.
AMARANTH CORN FRITTERS
Cook 1 cup of amaranth in 1 cup of water in a covered saucepan for 10 minutes, then remove it from the heat with the lid on, and remove the lid after 10-15 minutes and let it cool. In a skillet, sauté a minced onion or shallot in olive oil, and then add 2 cups of sweet corn kernels and some salt. Add the skillet’s contents to the amaranth, along with 1/2 cup of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 3 beaten eggs, 1/4 cup of milk, and a tablespoon of chopped chives, then mix together until you have a thick batter. Drop the batter in small batches on a skillet in grapeseed oil, and cook each side for about 3 minutes.
AMARANTH HOT CEREAL
In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup amaranth, 2 cups milk, and 1 cup water, then bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir frequently for about 25 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of dried cherries, 1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg.