Ancient Aztecs regarded amaranth as a supernatural food and used it in their religious ceremonies — and for good reason. Don’t be fooled by its small size — the nutritional benefits of amaranth are more similar to dark leafy greens than grains, with four times as much calcium as wheat and twice as much iron and magnesium. It’s also a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids. Like quinoa, amaranth is not technically a grain; it’s a seed, which makes it gluten-free. These seeds can be cooked similarly to whole grains, but we love popping the tiny morsels for a crunch, nutty flavor.
Air-Popped Amaranth “Popcorn” Recipe
Cook time: 3 minutes
1/4 cup amaranth
Salt or dried herbs (optional)
- Heat a deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Test the pan by splashing a few drops of water in. If it evaporates instantly, it’s ready.
- Add 1 tablespoon amaranth and stir with a wood spoon constantly until toasted and popped, about 15-20 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining amaranth.
- Season to taste and eat it like popcorn, or sprinkle it on your salad or yogurt.