Recipe Redux: Popped Amaranth
This month’s Recipe ReDux challenge was to try a new (to you) whole grain. I love trying new foods and know there are so many whole grains out there that I have yet to try, but one whole grain that’s new to me is actually pretty old to me. In fact, I’m afraid to admit how old. See, a few, well, years ago (yes years) I bought a scoop of amaranth from a dry bin in a health food store. And never cooked it. I figured it couldn’t possibly be bad, even a few years later, right? So this challenge got me to fiiiiiiinally make the amaranth that has been waiting patiently in my kitchen.
I’ve encountered amaranth before: above is a picture of the amaranth plant we saw on our honeymoon in Costa Rica. My friend who is from Mexico always brings me amaranth candy every time she visits, which I believe is called Alegria, made from popped amaranth. At the Boston Local Food Festival, I got to try popped amaranth, which was like itty-bitty popcorn (picture below). Since popcorn is a favorite snack in our home, I wanted to see if I could pop my own amaranth on the stove.
Heat a pot on the stove for a few minutes. When you drop a water droplet in the pot and it instantly sizzles, you know it’s hot enough.
Drop about a tablespoon of amaranth into the pot without any oil and close the lid. Within about 15 seconds, you’ll see tiny amaranth kernels pop into little white popped amaranth pieces.
I was expecting bigger popped pieces – these guys were teeny tiny! Instead of snacking on the amaranth like popcorn, I decided to use it in my breakfast parfait with non-dairy yogurt and frozen berries. I loved the texture and nutty flavor it added to my parfait, and the nutrient profile: ¼ cup has 7g each of fiber and protein making it a filling whole grain.
I’m glad I can say I’ve now prepared amaranth and have enough left over to try some other cooking methods. I assume it can be prepared with water much like you’d make rice or couscous, with a similar taste and texture. Have any new (to you) whole grains to try? I just picked up Farro so that’s next for me. Here are some new whole grain recipes by fellow Recipe ReDuxers. Enjoy!
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