Amaranth grains are very small and have a slight nutty flavour. It contains more protein than wheat or any other gluten free grain including oats – there are 28g of protein in 1 cup of Amaranth. Actually, it’s a great high quality plant protein choice as it’s an excellent source of lysine which is an important amino acid and well absorbed in the intestinal tract and better digestible than wheat proteins.
Amaranth has a great calcium content, more magnesium and Iron than other gluten free grains (10 times the amount in white rice). It contains more fibre than other gluten free grains as 1 cup of raw amaranth contains 18 grams of fibre, half your daily needs. It also has slightly less carbohydrate than other gluten free grains. And finally it’s high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and vitamin E in similar levels to olive oil. A nutrition powerhouse!
So how to cook it? Amaranth eaten on it’s own will turn out very sticky. Instead it’s great combined with other grains such as brown rice, as it doesn’t overwhelm with it’s stickiness but adds a nutty sweetness. It is also a great thickener in soups or sauces, as it has a gummy texture when cooked. Just add a few teaspoons during cooking and stir. Amaranth flour is also a great wheat flour substitute for baking, however don’t use it solely as it can make baked goods too dense. Instead combine with other gluten free flours.
Cooking Tip: add 1.5 cups of water to 0.5 cups of Amaranth and simmer covered for 30 minutes.