Where breakfast is concerned, some people are “gimme a cup of coffee and I’m good.” This would not be me. I need to put food in my morning belly. Could be a smoothie, a bowl of oatmeal or a granola bar on the go, but I’ve got to have something. I’m almost always hungry before 8 AM and besides, I exercise and I need energy.
I’ve always been big on oatmeal, but when I was working on recipe testing with Mom on her Cook without a Book: Meatless Meals, she and I did a lot of work with whole grains. I remember going to the Whole Foods and going wild in the bulk bins. We were bagging and weighing grains we’d never tried or cooked with. We came home, read up and figured out how to cook them and what they went best with. It was fun. One of the most attractive grains was amaranth. Like oats, amaranth reduces blood pressure and cholesterol and helps strengthen your immune system; and like quinoa, it’s full of protein and gluten-free.
After working with it a bit, I realized that amaranth would make a great hot cereal (and also a great way to get protein in the morning without eating meat). When I cooked the amaranth, it was somewhat sticky and thick, so I added some soy milk to thin it out (you could use regular milk too). It worked like a charm. If you mix in anywhere from a half cup to one cup of soy milk, the amaranth takes on the consistency of cream of wheat. And it’s delicious. The flavor is nutty and earthy and the texture is a bit more interesting than oatmeal.
Here’s a very simple method for cooking amaranth and turning it into cereal. And then just treat it like you would oatmeal. This week I’ve been topping it with toasted & chopped pecans, raisins and agave. Next week I’m thinking berries, cinnamon and maybe a few little shavings of dark chocolate.
- 1 cup amaranth
- 2½ cups water
- ½ cup to 1 cup soy milk (depending on desired consistency)
- Bring amaranth and water to a boil in a saucepan. Once boiling, reduce heat and partially cover. Stirring occasionally, simmer for 25-30 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Add soy milk, a little at a time, until desired consistency. Top with nuts, fresh or dried fruits and honey, agave or maple syrup.