The other day at the farmer’s market, I discovered a new favorite leafy green: amaranth greens. They looked a bit like paler, much more tender baby spinach, and tasted a bit nuttier like broccoli rabe, but without any of its bitterness. And yes, they are the leaves of the well-known amaranth grain, an ancient, gluten-free pseudo-grain that was a staple of the Aztecs. But it’s the greens that are more widely consumed across cultures, from Africa to Greece to China. Cooked amaranth leaves are a great source of Vitamins A and C, and folate.
As soon as I had some sample at the market stand, I decided to put together a grains-and-greens salad that is just lightly flavored to let the amaranth shine. The greens are sauteed with portobello mushrooms and combined with nutty, chewy wheat berries, and finished with some lemon juice and grated lemon zest. It’s so simple yet perfectly satisfying.
Warm Wheat Berry Salad with Amaranth Greens
1 bunch amaranth greens, washed and drained, and cut crosswise into 3-4″ pieces
2 cups uncooked red wheat berries
about 8 cups water
1 tsp vegan Better than Bouillon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium red onion or 4-5 medium shallots, sliced crosswise into thin rings
2 medium cloves garlic, smashed and minced
8 oz portobello mushrooms
Juice of 1/2 lemon
grated lemon zest (for garnish)
Pink Himalayan salt and fresh black pepper
1. Wash the wheat berries carefully and drain. Bring the 8 cups water to boil. Add wheat berries and bouillon; boil for a few minutes, and reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until berries are cooked through but still al dente. Drain water and set aside.
2. Heat a saute pan over medium heat. Add olive oil. When it starts to bubble slightly, add onions/shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softens (about 5-7 minutes).
3. Add garlic and portobello mushrooms to the pan and saute for a few minutes until mushrooms begin to turn tender.
4. Add amaranth greens. Salt and pepper generously and cook until greens are bright green, shiny, and tender. Take off the heat.
5. Add the cooked wheat berries to the saute pan and combine well with the veggies. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan and toss. To serve, add a bit of grated lemon zest and few fresh, uncooked amaranth leaves on top. Bon appetit!