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.

amaranth-plant

 

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.

popped-amaranth

amaranth

Instructions:

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.

popped-amaranth

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.

amaranth-parfait

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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2 Comments

  1. Amy
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    I tried amaranth for the first time a few months ago. It cooks just like rice or quinoa for about 25-30 minutes. However, I was not prepared for the texture! Instead of cooking up in individual grains like rice, it has more of a cream of wheat consistency. It sounds strange, but it tastes delicious. We’ve had it a few times since then and really enjoy it. It has a nutty, earthly flavor and I love dipping my veggies in it! Wheat berries are my next grain to tackle!

  2. Janel
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    That’s so interesting about the texture! I just assume it’s just like couscous. I have more – I’ll definitely try cooking it up soon! I LOOOOVEEE wheat berries. This was one of my favorite wheat berry salads with apples and walnuts: http://eatwellwithjanelblog.com/sweet-apple-walnut-wheat-berry-salad/

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