Foods We Love: Amaranth

A friend and I were hanging out at my place when the subject turned to what we normally eat for breakfast. I told her that lately I've been into peanut butter, and that I tend to go through phases so there will probably be something new on the horizon. She then told me that her favorite breakfast consists of amaranth, mango, and maple syrup. Wow, what a concept! I decided to check out this little seed. A few words about the history and nutrition of this gluten-free grain: Now technically, amaranth is a seed, but in terms of taste and texture, it functions more like a filling grain, great for entrees as well as side dishes. Amaranth was first cultivated by the Mesoamerican Indians about 8,000 years ago. The Aztecs, who appreciated the food's ability to provide long-lasting energy, believed that it had supernatural powers. The seed's name is derived from the Greek word for "everlasting flower." A half cup of amaranth offers 28% of a person's RDA of protein, 60% dietary fiber, and 55% iron -- pretty impressive. Here's my friend's recipe for amaranth cereal: Ingredients: 1/4 cup amaranth 3/4 cup milk (cow, soy, hemp, oat, almond, or any combo) 1 mango, diced (optional, or substitute another fresh or dried fruit) 1 T shredded coconut 1 tsp maple syrup 2 T ground flaxseed Sprinkle of cinnamon Bring amaranth and milk to a boil, then simmer until most of the milk is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Put diced mango in a bowl and stir in cooked amaranth. Top with coconut, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Give another stir and serve. Wipe up your spills with Seventh Generation's 100% recycled paper towels! Do you have an amaranth recipe to share? photo: Chantal Kreth