This year, I challenge you to date amaranth.
Date amaranth? Go on a date with an ancient-grain? No silly – I mean I challenge you to eat more dates and get to know amaranth on a deeper culinary level.
To be more precise, I challenge you to eat my date coconut amaranth oatmeal.
Amaranth is a high-protein, ancient grain first cultivated by the Aztecs. What’s more, it’s gluten-free!
By itself, when cooked, amaranth has a nutty taste – at least, that’s what the package says. I found the taste and texture to be a bit off… I’m still working on it…
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about amaranth:
“Cooked amaranth leaves are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate; they are also a complementing source of other vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin, plus some dietary minerals including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. Cooked amaranth grains are a complementing source of thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and folate, and dietary minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and manganese – comparable to common grains such as wheat germ, oats and others.
“Amaranth seeds contain lysine, an essential amino acid, limited in grains or other plant sources. Most fruits and vegetables do not contain a complete set of amino acids, and thus different sources of protein must be used. Amaranth too is limited in some essential amino acids, such as leucine and threonine. Amaranth seeds are therefore a promising complement to common grains such as wheat germ, oats, and corn because these common grains are abundant sources of essential amino acids found to be limited in amaranth.
“Amaranth may be a promising source of protein to those who are gluten sensitive, because unlike the protein found in grains such as wheat and rye, its protein does not contain gluten.”
That said, I decided to cook my steel cuts with amaranth. I’m trying to use less sugar (in all forms, including honey and maple syrup) and I saw that I had some left over date paste in my fridge (more about this later), so I decided to add it. I ran out of almond milk (isn’t that how it always is? You discover you don’t have milk at the very moment you need it. *kiss teeth*). So when the oatmeal got a little too much on the thick side, I added some water and stirred in a 1 tbsp of creamed coconut. When I tasted my newest oatmeal creation I was taken aback. It was good. In fact, it was really good.
Naturally sweetened. Protein-packed. Hint of coconut. Served with my broiled ugli fruit.
The best things in life often come as a result of improvisation.
I’ve decided to share the loveliness with you all. Have fun. (P.S. You can soak your grains overnight for faster cooking and easier digestability.)
1 cup of steel cut oats
1 cup of amaranth
2 cups of water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grounded)
½ cup date paste (5 or so Medjool dates blended with ½ cup water)
- Bring the water to a boil and add the amaranth, oats and salt. Cook according to package directions (on steel cut oats). Both oats and amaranth should cook in about 15 – 20 mins.
- Add your cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Stir in your date paste. Serve while hot.