Discovered more than 6,000 years ago by the Aztecs of Central Mexico, amaranth (African spinach, tete, green) is a gluten-free seed with a nutty flavour. It is a great source of minerals including, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. It contains beta-carotene, vitamin B6, and it is the only grain known to contain vitamin C. Amaranth is composed of up to 14% complete protein. It is a complete protein because it contains all the essential amino acids that our bodies are unable to synthesise, including lysine, which is often absent in many grains.
Amaranth seeds contains a protein, similar to one found in soybeans called lunasin that can prevent cancer. They also have other compounds such as rutin and nictotiflorin that can help prevent high-blood pressure.
Amaranth is a rich source of plant phytosterols including beta-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmas-terol, which have cholesterol-lowering properties. It also contains other major compounds that can stop the action of proteins involved in the production of cholesterol.
- 65g amaranth
- 120 ml cold water
- 1 medium cucumber, diced
- 3 spring onions, finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
- salt and black pepper to taste (optional)
- Wash amaranth seeds thoroughly under cold running water and set to the side.
- Bring the water to boil in a medium saucepan, add the amaranth and set your stove to low heat. Cover the pot and let the seeds cook for around 25 minutes or until most of the water has been fully absorbed. Then set to side.
- In a salad bowl, combine cucumber, spring onions, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper
- Allow the cooked amaranth to cool if you like a cold salad, otherwise add to the salad bowl contain the other ingredients. Garnish with parsley and enjoy.
Amaranth can also be popped, very much like popcorn and it is prepared the same way. Put a pan on the stove, once its hot, add the amaranth and they should start popping within 3 seconds. Once popped, they look white. Take them off the stove and make as many batches as you require.