Why You Should Replace Your Oatmeal With This Gluten-Free Grain

Step aside| oats: there’s a new cereal making a comeback in the breakfast aisle known as amaranth! A popular ingredient among Mexican and Peruvian cultures alike| this rice-like grain is a good source of protein and a great option for anyone following a gluten-free diet.

A staple in the diets of pre-Colombian Aztecs| today amaranth has become increasingly popular around the world. In Mexico| it is popped and mixed with a sugar solution to make a treat called alegria (happiness). Amaranth seeds are also milled and roasted to make a hot drink called atole. Peruvians use it to make beer| and also use the flowers from the amaranth plant to treat toothaches and fevers.

Although it is commonly called a grain| amaranth is technically a pseudo-cereal. The seeds from amaranth plants are used to make cereal and flour (which is used to make pasta| bread crumbs| and baked goods). It can also be popped like popcorn| sprouted| or toasted.

Like whole grains| amaranth is highly nutritious. It’s high in protein| and contain the essential amino acids lysine and methionine. It’s high in fiber (three times that of wheat) and contains calcium and iron| too. In fact| it contains twice as much calcium as milk! Using amaranth in combination with wheat| corn| or brown rice results in a complete protein| making it a great choice for vegetarians and vegans.

What’s more| amaranth contains tocotrienols| a form of vitamin E| which have cholesterol-lowering properties. It is also easy to digest and has a mild| sweet| and nutty flavor. A great alternative to quinoa| it tastes great warmed with maple syrup| pumpkin puree| raisins| and a little rice milk. You can also use it as a rice substitute or try it in cereals like Mesa Sunrise| crackers| pastas or other products made with amaranth flour.

Image Source: Flickr user PeaSoupEats