We’ve heard of amaranth, but the details still remain a bit grainy. What are the benefits of this ancient grain? How is it used in dishes? Lake Austin Spa Resort’s culinary team, led by Executive Chef Stephane Beaucamp, dishes on all we need to know—plus, shares a must-try recipe!
So what exactly is amaranth?
Consumed around the world as either a grain, a vegetable, or a cereal, amaranth is part of the same genus of herbs as quinoa with 60-plus species with various colors and uses, Lake Austin Spa Resort informs us. It has a rich history, with a majority of the species originating in South America; amaranth was, in fact, a primary food source for the Aztecs.
You’ll find amaranth cooked in dishes like quiche, banana bread, muffins, and soups, the resort spa continues. A quick tip? It’s best cooked with plenty of water. As well, amaranth sets itself apart from other whole grains, as the inside softens, while the outer layer keeps its “crunch” when cooked, it says.
What are its benefits? Here are just a few:
- High-quality protein
- Has 30% more protein than wheat flour, rice, and oats
- Benefits cardiovascular disease
- Combats hypertension
Curried Amaranth Salad with Shrimp, Stone Fruits, and Snow Peas from Executive Chef Stephane Beaucamp, Lake Austin Spa Resort
½ lb cooked shrimp
8 oz sugar snow peas
1 cup amaranth, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp. curry powder, divided
3 ½ Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
3 ½ Tbsp mango chutney, blended (stonewall kitchen)
3 ½ Tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
3 small stone fruits each cut into 10 wedges
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced (3/4 cup)
2 cups coarsely chopped watercress, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
- Cook snow peas in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender
- Stir amaranth and 1 Tbsp curry powder into same pot of boiling water
- Cook 14 minutes, or until amaranth is tender, stirring occasionally
- Meanwhile, whisk together remaining 1 Tbsp curry powder, vinegar, chutney sauce, and oil in medium bowl
- Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and set aside
- Toss together shrimp, snow peas, stone fruit, and onion in large bowl; add watercress
- Drain amaranth, rinse under cold water to cool, and drain again
- Add amaranth and dressing to salad, then toss to coat
- Serve salad garnished with watercress sprigs
The following information is per serving: Fat 3.70 grams | Calories 210.16 | Protein 11.65 grams | Fiber 6.679 grams