Ingredient Spotlight: Amaranth
While quinoa was considered sacred to the Incas, amaranth was the revered grain for the Aztecs — valued greatly for its high nutritional value and ability to thrive in poor soil.
What exactly is amaranth? Amaranth is a member of the Chenopodiaceae family of plants. This grain is a relative of beets, Swiss chard, spinach, and quinoa. For this reason, some of its nutritional characteristics are more like these dark green leafy vegetables than the cereal grain. Like quinoa and millet, amaranth is not technically a grain, but because it is enjoyed in meals like other true grains, it is usually referred to as such.
What does it taste like? Amaranth has a porridge-like texture with a mild nutty taste. It is completely gluten-free and is said to be easily digestible for people recovering from illnesses or cleanses. It is also a great source of plant protein!
What does it look like? Amaranth comes from a tall bushy plant. The seeds at the top of the plant are the grains made into the amaranth cereal and flour.
Why is it special? Amaranth contains more essential amino acids than any other plant source–specifically the amino acids lysine and methionine, which are not produced in other cereal grains in such great quantities. It’s also a great source of calcium, containing four times as much as wheat, and is second only to quinoa as a plant-based iron source. To top it all off, amaranth is the only grain to include vitamin C and is remarkably high in protein!
How to get in your daily dose? You can cook amaranth on the stove for about 20 minutes for a porridge-like consistency or you can pop amaranth in a pot on the stove to make amaranth puffs (like in our organic granola)! Amaranth can be used in a wide variety of recipes for both breakfast and dinner, such as cereals, pilafs, soups and veggie burgers. One of our favorites is Elizabeth’s Amaranth Sweet Potato + Swiss Chard Fritters.
For a quick and convenient dose of amaranth, eat a bowl of purely elizabeth Ancient Grain Granola or Oatmeal–you can find the power grain in almost all of our products!