Amaranth Greens

You may know that amaranth is one of those super grains, like quinoa, but did you know that it’s easy to grow and as the plant matures, you can use some of the leaves as part of a mixed salad? I actually feel more comfortable cooking with the leaves more than the seeds. Aside from a mixed grain hot breakfast cereal and a candy called allegria, I don’t quite know what to do with amaranth seeds. Do you have any good ideas?

Amaranthleaves

For salads, mix in some leaves along with your regular salad mix. Amaranth has a pleasant slightly bitter taste. You can also sauté the greens, like spinach, but I don’t think it’s as successful.

8 Comments on Amaranth Greens

  1. By “easy to grow” you mean it is usually thought of as an invasive weed right? Or do you actually plant this stuff?

    -Simon

  2. Can you plant the seeds that you sell at Rancho Gordo?

    I got Amaranth from my CSA and sauteed it. I didn’t really like it… next time I will eat it with salad. Thanks!

  3. My wife and I do two things with popped amaranth grain (obtained by heating the seeds in a little bit of oil):

    We mix the popped grain with olive oil, salt, and chile powder, and eat it like popcorn (this makes a fabulous snack).

    We also mix the popped grain with eggs, a little wheat flour, roasted chiles, tomatoes, onion, greens, and salt, and cook the mixture in a frying pan like an omelette. The amaranth is delicious this way!

    As a side note, we’ve found amaranth greens to be far more palatable cooked than raw, but perhaps that’s just a peculiarity of our native species, which we eat most often.

  4. Simon, yes, I should have said these have been incredibly invasive for me but very easy to weed. My place here in Napa is loaded with amaranth and purslane but not much epazote!

    Sharon, the salad is nice but just a leaf or six mixed in with the lettuces. And make sure they’re young leaves. This purple leaf was from the Hopi Red from Seeds of Change, I think.

    Chris, how do you pop it without burning it? I’ve had a hell of a time trying to do that. I’ve cooked it like quinoa and then added it to a souffle but you could barely tell it was there. I did it about 4 years ago and haven’t thought to do it since.

  5. I should have been more explicit previously. To be perfectly honest, we haven’t yet tried popping the seeds ourselves. We buy the popped grain directly from Native Seeds/SEARCH. However, once the amaranth plants in our yard go to seed we plan to try popping it ourselves. I’ll let you know if we figure out a successful method!

  6. To pop it without burning it, do it in a pan on the stove, add plenty of oil and grain and NEVER STOP SHAKING the pan. I mean never. Not when it’s on the heat. Not when it’s off. When it’s popped get that stuff out of the pan FAST or it’ll burn and stick in a heartbeat.

    I’ve always wanted to try using the popped amaranth to crust something. Replace the panko with it. But I haven’t taken the opportunity to try that yet.

  7. I’ve popped them, with the never stop method, and while it is entertaining as hell, we are talking micro-popcorn, and if your work the pot angle correctly you can make a huge mess,I’m not sure I ‘get’ the flavor. The texture is very similar to …ground glass, and the flavor has that resounding bitter finish.
    Clearly I’m missing something….

  8. I love amaranth mixed with quinoa as a side dish. I cook them together like rice until moist and creamy and then pour a crazy but delicious amount of my best olive oil over it and sprinkle it with sea salt. It’s perfect just like that and one of my favorite comfort foods.

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