Whole grains; once only consisted of brown rice or whole wheat bread. It was a boring horizon that many chose not venture; boy, things have changed! Now, by my own disclosure, I am a quinoa girl; but rather recently I have become quite enamored with Amaranth. This prized ancient grain hails from South America; and has recently experienced a revival of sorts, spurred on by its impressive nutritional profile, flavor and versatility in the kitchen.
When I first heard the word amaranth, I thought it was a fragrance- silly Bianca; but this gluten free grain is available in over 50 varieties. And the Aztecs believed that consuming Amaranth increased energy and strength; however, when the Spanish invaded, they made short work of wiping out this vitality producing crop. Thankfully, nobody puts amaranth in the corner, and the plant made a comeback; and is now seeing itself being touted as the newest super food in town.
This little pebble is loaded with calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins; and it is flush with protein and lysine, an amino acid missing from other grains. Amaranth is also an incredibly rich plant based source of essential fatty acids, including oleic acid- necessary for heart health. And what would a post on grains be without discussing heart health?! Amaranth is great for our tickers; with its ability to lower our bad cholesterol and aid in heart rhythm normalization.
The big C, cancer, is likened to many four letter words; and amaranth is one of our best defenses against it. Lunasin, the peptide found in amaranth, has been shown to inhibit the development of cancer cells; and the lunasin in amaranth penetrates cancer cells more rapidly than its lunasin rich counterpart soy.
For us women, of menstrual age, anemia is a concern. Anemia makes us pale and weak; and can cause headaches and decreased appetite. When we aren’t getting enough iron by means of our diets, our risk of anemia is dramatically increased; and although anemia won’t kill you, it will affect your day to day life greatly. Enter Amaranth; loaded with 5.17 mg of iron per one cup serving, amaranth provides plenty of this essential mineral to keep anemia at bay.
Since unearthing the potential in amaranth, I have been using it my kitchen efforts like crazy; and it’s true, this really is an incredibly versatile kitchen sundry. Now, I am usually a savory breakfast kind of gal; but I had a dream one night about amaranth porridge. I woke up the next day and made it happen!
Warmed pistachio milk, further amplifies the nuttiness of this grain; and with the tart sweetness of the berries and the crunchy bite from the pistachios, I think I may have to change my savory breakfast ways.
Good morning to you; me!
Breakfast Amaranth Porridge
½ cup cooked amaranth
2 tbsp pistachios, chopped and toasted
½ cup pistachio milk, warmed
¼ mixed berries
1 tsp raw honey
Cook the amaranth according to package instructions. In a bowl, combine the amaranth with warmed pistachio milk. Stir in 1 tbsp of chopped pistachios and drizzle with honey. Garnish with mixed berries and the remaining pistachios.