One easy, gluten free dinner recipe to consider incorporating into your healthy diet is Amaranth. It is a healthy food recipe due to the richness of the calcium and protein content. This grain makes for a thick, sticky side dish (rather than a fluffy one) due to its heavy starch content.
History of Amaranth:
Known as an ancient Aztec staple, this beautiful, broad leafed, brightly flowered, ‘weed’ often blooms in red, gold, and purple. The plant is used around the world ornamentally as well as for consumption: cereal, leafy vegetable, and the seeds cook into unique sticky rice. The Greek term amarantos, meaning “one that does not wither” or “unfading”, refers to the flower rather than the grain it produces.
Health benefits of Amaranth:
• Weight-loss: Because this food is high in fiber, the body slows the absorption of sugars keeping you satisfied and allowing the body a steady metabolism; rich source of protein and more digestible than other grains.
• Nutrients: Excellent source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and copper; rich in zinc, potassium, and phosphorus which aid in strong bones and muscles.
• Health benefits: An excellent health food because the grain is known to protect the cells from their resistance that can lead to cancer; for the heart, Amaranth aids digestive health, cholesterol, inflammation, and blood pressure.
How to cook Basic Amaranth:
- 1 cup Amaranth
- 2 ½ cups water (or broth)
1. In a 2-quart pot, put in the Amaranth and water, and cover with a tight-fitted lid.
2. Bring to a full boil; reduce heat to low. DO NOT stir.
3. Simmer 20 - 25 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Yields 2 cups
Tips and tricks on how to cook whole grains:
- Cooking: For the best results use a stainless steel pot with a thick, aluminum core bottom for even heat distribution and a tight-fitting lid. Bring both the grains and water (liquid) to a boil together in the pot; once boiling lower heat and simmer. NOTE: If tough and chewy, you may have boiled them too long. If mushy or clumped, the initial heat may not have been high enough or perhaps you added too much liquid.
- Stirring: Never stir while the grains are cooking. Whole grains are unique in that they arrange themselves so that the bottom layers cook as evenly as the top to create steam holes. By stir-ring you destroy the steam holes and all of the grains never fully cook.
- Salting: *Amaranth, wheat berries, kamut berries, and spelt berries should NOT be cooked with salt because it inhibits the liquid absorption. All other grains cooked with a pinch of salt will open them up and bring out the sweetness rather than leaving them tasting flat.
- Gluten free grains: Amaranth, brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, millet, and quinoa. Wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and kamut all contain gluten. Oats vary, so check to see if they are certified gluten-free.
- Always consult your physician if you have special diet or health related issues.
For additional information and local places to shop for healthy foods, click on any of the following links:
- For more related information on the nutritional and health benefits of Amaranth, click on the links in this sentence.
- To see the many varieties of Amaranth, click on the link in this sentence.
- Boise Co-Op
- Whole Foods Market
- Brown Box Organics
- The Organic Store Locator
From my home to yours, another favorite recipe - enjoyed with nutrition in mind.