Grains do OK on a plate, but mound them into a bowl and they are a terrific foundation supporting heaps of veggies, legumes, leafy greens, nuts, proteins and, depending on the dish, fruit. These concoctions have been dubbed “grain bowls” and taken over menus across the country. Spanish chef José Andrés, who debuts his new veggie-centric cafe Beefsteak in 2015, says, “There is nothing more comforting than a bowl full of beautiful vegetables and warm, filling grains. This is the bounty of the earth in a bowl!”
Chilly fall mornings call for piping hot breakfasts. This porridge fits the bill and the added spices make it all the more invigorating. If you’re looking to change up your morning oatmeal routine, give amaranth a go. Though it takes a few extra minutes to cook, its mild, nutty flavor and nutrients make it well worth the time. It also maintains a slight crunch after cooking. Although amaranth is one of the smallest grains around, it also happens to be one of the highest in protein. Topped with toasted pecans and chopped dates and served with a splash of almond milk, this breakfast is sure to keep you going until lunch time. Read more
This under-appreciated grain is a perfect way to get in your whole grains, plus it’s gluten-free. Get tips on cooking it and creative recipes to try this tiny grain.
What is Amaranth?
Also called pigweed or Chinese spinach, amaranth was a staple crop of the Aztecs who used to make idols from amaranth, honey and human blood. This outraged Cortes who burned the amaranth fields and decreed that anyone growing the crop would be killed.
Amaranth was rediscovered centuries later and about 60 varieties are available today. Although amaranth is categorized as a grain, it’s really a seed (just like quinoa). The tiny seeds are about the size of sesame seeds and have a yellowish color. The seeds can be used whole or ground into flour. They have a sweet and nutty flavor and are a bit crunchy when cooked. The greens of the plant are also edible and have a sweet flavor.
Today China is the biggest producer of the grain, but it’s also cultivated in Mexico, Central America and some areas in the U.S.