June 17, 2013

Amaranth

Thanks to Dr. Andrew Weil for his recent inspiration about this delicious grain.

For Aztec people, amaranth was not only a dietary staple, but an important aspect of religious rituals, as the women would shape a mixture of amaranth seeds with honey to be eaten ceremoniously.

Today, amaranth is often popped like popcorn and mixed with honey, molasses or chocolate to make a popular treat in Mexico called "alegría" (meaning "joy").

Although amaranth derives its name from the Greek for "never-fading flower," it is its highly nutritious seeds (and greens, though they are hard to find), not its vibrant red blooms, that are its most valuable asset.

Like buckwheat and quinoa, amaranth is an especially high-quality source of plant protein including two essential amino acids, lysine and methionine, which are generally low in grains. Amaranth is gluten-free, easily digestible, making it a traditional food for people recovering from illness or transitioning from a fast or cleanse.

Look for amaranth is at your local natural food store.

Simple cooked amaranth
Combine1 cup amaranth with 2 1/2 cups water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for up to 20 minutes, until grains are fluffy and water is absorbed.

For a porridge-like consistency, use 3 cups water for 1 cup grain and cook a little longer.

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Amaranth flatbread

Take 2 cups cooked amaranth and mix in a bowl with:
2 Tablespoons flaxseed meal
4 Tablespoons coconut flour
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 teaspoon each: nutmeg, cinnamon, salt

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes in an oiled pie or baking dish.
Cool and enjoy with sauces and spreads of your choosing!

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