As you will see from my breakfast meals this week, I went on an amaranth spree. Actually, the week so far has been one big amaranth experiment. Amaranth is one of those grains that I have been determined to make into my kitchen staple. I found a bag in my pantry, and I took my first stab at it on Monday. I cooked it for breakfast, like I would my steel cut oats.
I cooked 1 cup of amaranth in 2 ½ cups of water for about 20 minutes, whipped it with a banana, chia seeds, cinnamon, a sprinkle of date sugar and then I added a dollop of nut butter for good measure.
The result was a cup of amaranth for breakfast.
I have to tell you – as soon as I tasted it, I realized that the nut butter was overkill . Cooked amaranth is rich and creamy on its own. I also realized that I didn’t care for the texture and consistency of cooked amaranth. It has a similar texture to cream of wheat and/or polenta.
What to do? I immediately decided to add some oats to it and make some kind of “pancake” out of it. Hence, my creation this morning.
The texture was obviously not something you would expect from a pancake, but it was interesting. I made the batter by adding about 2 tablespoons of oats, almond milk, splash of vanilla, and cornstarch to the whipped banana amaranth.
The result? I was not crazy about it either. I realized that the flavor of the cooked grain overpowers the other flavors – bananas, spices, and vanilla. Instead of using cooked amaranth as a base for the pancakes, I will try making pancakes with amaranth flour.
But I did not stop there. I decided to give this amaranth thing another try. By making cereal. The basic process is this:
- Heat a medium size pot over medium-high heat. I used a ceramic, non stick (Le Cruset)
- Don’t add oil or anything else to the pot
- Get it really hot
- Put a tablespoon of amaranth into the pot, and quickly stir
- Once most of the kernels pop (about 20 seconds), take off heat and transfer to a bowl
- Repeat with the rest of the grain
The cereal version is my favorite. It has a mild flavor and a great texture. So far, I tried the cereal in two ways: over a berry smoothie, and over almond milk, topped with toasted coconut, dried blueberries, and almonds.
These two make a great breakfast!
Why was I so determined to make this amaranth thing work out? Amaranth is a very nutritionally dense whole grain. It’s a good source of fiber, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper. Here is the calorie breakdown.
Don’t get alarmed by the number of calories. 1 cup of uncooked amaranth will yield about 3 servings of cooked amaranth. One of the great things about amaranth is that it contains the essential amino acid, lysine, which is rarely found in grains. And since amaranth is gluten-free, it’s a great option for those who can’t have gluten.
Another thing worth mentioning is that amaranth, and all whole grains for that matter, have a shorter shelf life. Because these grains have not been stripped off their nutrients, they have a higher unsaturated fat content, and should be kept in airtight containers in a cool, dark, and dry place.
What I ate on Monday and Tuesday
Amaranth creations for breakfast (of course!). Yesterday’s lunch was a taco salad. Mixed green lettuce, topped with “taco mushroom meat”, cumin vinaigrette, and beans on the side.
Dinner last night was a falafel pita with a tomoto, mustard, and mushroom sauce and a big green salad on the side.
Lunch today was the last bit of the taco bar.
Dinner was really good tonight. Eric made a Moroccan Sweet Potato Soup. Here is a sneak peak, I will have more on this later this week.
By the way, throughout the process of posting my daily meals this past week, I realized that my to-go lunches are not that fun. Fun lunches are hard to transport! In all seriousness though, I love to have salads, soups, and stir-fry for lunch because they give me energy throughout the day. If I eat something heavier, I feel like taking a nap in the afternoon. And I don’t get paid to sleep
Happy Amaranth Week!