I am trying to use more nutritious whole grains in my everyday diet and have recently discovered amaranth. This grain was a staple of the ancient Aztecs and Incas and is now known to be an excellent source of protein and other important nutrients.
For gardeners out there, it is good to know that amaranth grows well in the Midwest. It has a purplish-red plume topping and a reddish-green stalk. The greens have a delicious, slightly sweet flavor and can be used in cooking or in salads. The stems can be prepared like asparagus. The seeds (as seen in the accompanying picture) can be cooked like a cereal or sprouted. Because flour from amaranth lacks gluten, it is suitable for muffins and for flatbreads, but is not a good choice for yeast-raised breads. When substituting for wheat flour in recipes, use one part amaranth flour to three parts wheat. Nutrition information for amaranth is as follows:
1 cup uncooked grain = 716 calories; 29.6g fiber; 12.9g fat; 8 mg Sodium; 307 mg Calcium; 1075 mg Phosphorus; and 980 mg Potassium.