One afternoon I was eating one of those frozen Kashi meals and noticed Amaranth listed as one of the ingredients. I was interested and decided to do a little research. I found a bit of information and a few recipes, but not many. I went to the grocery store to see if this was even something I could buy or if I would have to turn to Amazon. Nope, to my surprise, Amaranth was located in my regular grocery store’s health section. So….
What is Amaranth?
According to the Whole Grains Council:
- Amaranth is a native crop of Peru and was domesticated between 6,000-8,000 years ago.
- It is naturally gluten-free
- Amaranth contains more than three times the average amount of calcium and is also high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
- It’s the only grain documented to contain Vitamin C.
- It’s a protein powerhouse! (About 13-14%)
Now, for the coolest part. Amaranth is a tiny grain, but you can pop it like popcorn! The result is something like a tiny puffed cereal and so many use popped amaranth as a gluten-free, protein-packed cereal.
How To Pop Amaranth:
You pop Amaranth as you would popcorn. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat with no oil. The pan needs to be really hot. The trick is to work in batches or they will burn. The Amaranth pops almost instantly, so it doesn’t take long to get a few cups made. Only pop one tablespoon at a time and shake the pan so they don’t burn. This video helped me.
After popping, you can store the Amaranth in a jar and it will keep a few months in the fridge. Use it in these protein balls, as a cereal, a salad topping or just eat it plain!
Popped Amaranth Protein Balls
2 cups popped Amaranth
1/2 cup peanut butter or other nut butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips
4 scoops of vanilla protein powder. I use this kind.
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbls. honey, agave or other sweetener
milk or water
1. Combine all of the ingredients and mix. Add any kind of milk (or water) one tablespoon at a time until you can form balls. This will make about 15 protein balls and they have *around* 5-6 grams of protein depending on what protein powder and nut butter you use.
Let me know if you try Amaranth! If for some reason you can’t find it at your local grocery store, you can buy it here.