As summer is coming to a close, the mornings in Portland are becoming chillier, and the nostalgia for warm recipes on chilly mornings has been building up in my home. In preparation for fall my husband and I have been looking for a different gluten-free, vegan option to fill our bellies in the morning, so I recently started making a warm amaranth porridge for breakfast. It is full of fiber (three times that of wheat) and like quinoa, amaranth is a high-quality source of plant protein that contains two essential amino acids, lysine and methionin. It also happens to be full of iron, calcium, and is a great anti-inflammatory. Because of its high mineral content and benefits, amaranth has been gaining popularity in Western culture in the recent years.
Warm cooked amaranth happens to taste wonderful with coconut milk or almond milk, dried fruits, and cinnamon. It can be popped like popcorn on the stove, or boiled and eaten like quinoa. My amaranth porridge recipe includes cardamom for a fragrant and exotic base, pear, banana, and coconut milk.
Before cooking amaranth, I like to soak it overnight in water, and then drain in the morning to make it easier for digestion.
Cardamom Amaranth Porridge
1 cup uncooked amaranth
5-6 cardamom seeds
1 banana chopped
1 ½ cup water
½ cup of almond or coconut milk
1. Place uncooked (and previously soaked) amaranth in a pot with your water and milk. Bring to a boil and lower the heat, and cook for 15 minutes.
2. While the amaranth is cooking, crack open your cardamom pods and dump out the black seeds inside on a flat surface. I like to press them with a back of a spoon and drop them in the cooking amaranth.
3. After the first 5-7 minutes, add in your banana slices and pear. I like to let the amaranth cook for a few minutes first and then add my fruit slices so they still have some body to them while being soft in the porridge.
4. Once it has finished cooking let sit for 5-10 minutes. It will be an interesting texture but don’t let this scare you off, just try it and you will be so surprised by how delicious it is. If you don’t have cardamom pods, just add cinnamon and flax seeds for a sweet nutty flavor.
Have you guys tried amaranth? What other unusual grains do you love?
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Photo: Irena Stanisic