I love experimenting with alternative grains and flours in my cooking. It is a great way to add an extra dimension to traditional recipes and get added fibre, nutrients and protein in dishes that are usually made with white flour. Amaranth contains large amounts of protein, up to 30% more than wheat flour, rice and oats making it a good source of vegetarian protein. It is a gluten free seed that contains large amounts of lysine which aids in calcium absorption, and processing protein. Amaranth can be ground into flour, flaked into oatmeal or popped like popcorn. You can combine it with other grains like quinoa and millet for a unique pilaf or use it as a substitute for your favorite oatmeal recipe.
This is the new way to enjoy ‘porridge’. When combined with coconut milk it makes a wonderful breakfast. These little seeds retain just enough texture, which is why they are perfect for training your chewing technique make sure you break down each and everyone to extract their nutrition. Don’t overfill your bowl you won’t need as much as usual to fill your belly and feel satisfied. This grain is full of protein, vitamins and minerals.
Another way to breakfast amaranth is inspired by the old-school classic rice pudding. I love this baked pudding as a hot or cold breakfast or 4pm snack. Its wonderfully rich, so don’t eat this as a dessert unless you’ve had a salad or vegetables as your main course! This recipe makes plenty so I tend to eat half then put the rest of the dish in the freezer ready for a rainy weekend breakfast especially great after a long Sunday run.
- 1/2 cup amaranth plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 cup lite coconut milk
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 inch piece of ginger
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 vanilla bean
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 cup toasted coconut
- 1/2 cup diced mango
- extra coconut milk for serving
Rinse the amaranth well and add 1/2 cup to a small saucepan along with the coconut milk, cinnamon, cardamom, and maple syrup. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the pot. Gently whack the ginger with the back of a knife and add it to the mixture along with the vanilla bean. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes adding some additional coconut milk or water if the mixture becomes to dry. Turn the heat off, cover the pudding and let sit for 10 minutes to thicken slightly.
Take the remaining 2 tablespoons amaranth and let dry thoroughly on a paper towel. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and then add the amaranth a tablespoon at a time, cover the skillet with a lid and let cook shaking the pan until the popping slows. Repeat the process with the remaining amaranth.
To serve portion the pudding into two bowls, top with the mango, coconut, popped amaranth and extra coconut milk.