Thursday, May 19, 2016

Amaranth Hot Cereal

Considered a power food because of its fiber-rich, high-protein content, Amaranth is a grain that we should consider adding to our diets.  The leafy variety, that I wrote about last year, is highly delicious and very good for you, but it is the grain which makes a tasty, hot cereal for breakfast or for brunch.  We just started making it here at home and I am glad it has now become a part of our menu rotation.


These small seeds, or 'grains', originated in Mesoamerica and were used for festivities and ceremonies throughout the area before the Spanish conquest. Nowadays only a small amount of the global amaranth supply is grown in this region, with India and Nepal cultivating the bulk of what we purchase in the health food aisle.


As I said, cooked amaranth seeds are a good source of fiber, protein, manganese, magnesium and iron.  In addition to this, it is naturally gluten-free, but aside from these healthy benefits, one of the things that appeals to me about cooked amaranth is that it has a natural sweetness to it.  There are times when I feel it doesn't even need any added sweetener, but you can, of course, sweeten this hot cereal with a delicious honey, some pure maple syrup or even agave nectar.  It's entirely up to you.


This is what I do at home.  Everything can be customized to taste at the table once you divvy up the cereal to your family.


Amaranth Cooking Ratios (1 part grain - 3 parts water)

  • 1/2 cup amaranth 
  • 1-1/2 cups water (you can substitute some of the water with milk of your choice, such as almond, soy or rice milk)
Yield: 2 servings
Note: this can be scaled up to serve any amount.
  1. In a heavy bottom saucepan with high sides,  add the amaranth and the liquid and bring to a low boil.  Lower the heat and simmer the amaranth for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent sticking or burning.
  2. Serve hot.

Serving Suggestions:
  • Milk (to thin out)
  • Dried Fruit (raisins, apricots, cranberries, etc.)
  • Fresh Fruit (chopped mangoes, strawberries, blueberries, sliced bananas, clementine wedges, pomegranate seeds, etc.)
  • Spice (sprinkle some ground cinnamon or ground ginger)
  • Cocoa Powder (to taste)
  • Nuts (chopped walnuts or chopped pecans are delicious)
  • Seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or some ground flaxseeds can bump up flavor and nutrients)
  • Sweeteners (use pure maple syrup, agave nectar, brown sugar, sugar in the raw, stevia or the best honey available)



You can feel confident in providing a nutritious breakfast to your family if you make some amaranth hot cereal.  There is nothing easier than cooking a pot of it for a weekday breakfast or for a weekend brunch.  I hope you try some soon and discover this healthy, yet tasty grain.  Cheers!

2 comments:

  1. Where do you find the Amaranth? I actually think I have garden seeds for amaranth - its a beautiful plant!

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    Replies
    1. Sarah, I get mine at a health food store, but it's readily available from Bob's Red Mill online. Go to their website and search under amaranth. It's not expensive. Good luck!

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