Amaranth is a plant with numerous species that include leafy vegetables, grains and ornamentals. The consumption of Amaranth can be traced back as a dietary staple of the pre-Columbian Aztecs. In the dietary world this brightly-colored flowered plant is consumed mostly for its seeds.
This pseudograin (seed) is considered by many to be a superfood because it is packed with nutrients, gluten free, easily digestible and alkaline-forming.
Amaranth is high in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A and C and fiber. It is also a great source of protein including two of the essential amino acids, lysine and methionine.
I like this pseudograin not only for its high nutrient content and nutty flavor but because it is a blast to pop in a heated skillet. It can also be simmered like rice with a 1:3 amaranth to rice ratio.
Fortunately I can purchase amaranth at a local Mediterranean market but it can be difficult to find. You may want to check availability at health food stores or order on-line.
Below you will find a recipe for my version of Federal Jack’s seared brussels sprout salad. I experimented with both a lemon and orange based marinade and preferred the lemon. In addition, I included red peppers to bring a little color and added flavor to the plate and sweet onion because onions rock. I also included tahini and amaranth as a topping.
Serves 4 large salads
brussels sprouts, halved
mushrooms. cremini, sliced
sweet red pepper, sliced
sweet onions, sliced
1-2 tbsp amaranth, popped
1 orange and its zest or1 lemon and its zest
¼ c tamari
¼ c white balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tbsp ginger root, zested
1 tbsp maple syrup
Heat a skillet on high heat. Add brussels sprouts, halved down, and allow to brown, 3-5 minutes (depending on how thoroughly you want them cooked). Add a little water if necessary to keep from burning.
When sprouts are cooked to your liking, add 1-2 tbsp of marinade. Mix thoroughly, remove sprouts from pan and set aside.
Add remaining ingredients in similar fashion as sprouts, set aside with the sprouts until all ingredients have been cooked.
Heat a small skillet on high. Make sure the skillet is piping hot. Add amaranth and continuously stir as it pops (30 -60 seconds). Keep your wits about you because the seeds can easily burn! Set aside.
Top mixed greens with cooked vegetables.
Drizzle with tahini.
Sprinkle with amaranth.
Have you ever had amaranth? If so, what is your favorite way to prepare it? Please leave a comment…