We all became aware of quinoa as that ubiquitous superfood in 2014. Well, news flash: there’s a new ancient grain that’s about to take over the health-food scene and it’s time you got in the know. Here are the facts that make amaranth the next gluten-free wunderkind.
Amaranth, like quinoa, is a protein-packed pseudo-cereal, which means it has the characteristics of a grain but is gluten-free. It also has the added boost of eight essential amino acids and a high concentration of magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorous and potassium. And what makes amaranth an ancient grain? Well, it was cultivated during ancient times about 6,000-8,000 years ago and was a staple crop of the Aztec civilization.
Amaranth is easy to prepare and can be transformed in a bunch of different ways that make it a versatile cooking ingredient. If you’re looking for a little inspiration on how to use this grain, below are a few recipes that highlight its versatility and hopefully prove it’s deserving of the title of “best new superfood” this year.
Cocoa Puffmaranth Cereal
Ashley McLaughlin of edible perspective blog gives us this untraditional rendition of a classic childhood cereal: Cocoa Puffs. Here, she mixes toasted, popped amaranth with coconut flakes, raisins, cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup. The texture is delightfully airy, and a generous addition of cocoa powder gets right to that chocolate craving. Get the recipe here.
These pancakes use a combination of amaranth and whole-wheat flour for a slightly nutty flavor. Feel free to sub out the whole-wheat for all amaranth or another kind of gluten-free flour to make these gluten-free. Pancake time!
Sundried Tomato and Goat Cheese Amaranth “Couscous”
This simple recipe subs in amaranth for couscous, which although tasty, doesn’t provide the same protein-filled nutritional boost. The combination of sundried tomato and goat cheese is a tried-and-true favorite, but also use this recipe as inspiration for your next grain bowl or salad with some different add-ins.
Ancient Grains Chocolate-Cranberry Granola
There’s no easier way to incorporate ancient grains into your diet than your favorite granola recipe. This version uses two grains: buckwheat and amaranth, along with a combination of natural sweetener, cranberries, nuts and seeds for an unbeatably tasty energy snack or breakfast-on-the-go. Recipe here.
Amaranth Peanut Butter Cups
Proving that amaranth goes well with literally everything, these homemade peanut butter cups are studded with toasty, popped amaranth for a crunch you’ll love. It’s still the wonderful flavor combo of creamy peanut butter and chocolate, but made even better (and more nutritious!) with crunchy, crisped amaranth. Check out your new favorite peanut butter cup here.