Amaranth Porridge Recipe: The Breakfast of Champions
How many times have you eaten amaranth in the past year? What about in the past month? Unless you’re an amaranth enthusiast like me, chances are you haven’t crossed paths with it too many times.
Fortunately—after this introduction to its amazing properties—I suspect that’s about to change.
What Is Amaranth?
Amaranth is one of the most protein-rich plant-based foods out there. It offers a wonderful nutty, earthy flavor and pairs well with both sweet and savory spices—which, when added, enhance the digestibility of this tiny, nutrient-dense grain.
Although it is often categorized as a grain, amaranth is technically a seed and often looks like a smaller version of quinoa. For these reasons, you may also hear amaranth referred to as a pseudo grain.
Amaranth is a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids—including lysine (which is not present in most other grains or pseudo grains). In addition, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is a great source of fiber.
Amaranth is also rich in iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus.
Because of the high protein content, a little amaranth goes a long way to provide satiation and nourishment.
When exploring the recipe below, start by eating a smaller quantity than you might for another type of porridge and see how you feel before going back for more. When it comes to this ancient grain, you may find that half your normal portion size provides the perfect satisfaction.
Amaranth’s History and Cultivation
Throughout its eight thousand years of cultivation, this tiny golden seed was likely a staple for various ancient civilizations. It can be directly traced back to both the Aztecs and Maya, who cultivated it for nourishment and ceremonial purposes.1
In the 16th century, when Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico, they threatened to cut off the hands of anyone who grew the crop for fear of the Indigenous Americans’ spiritual connection to plants.2
In fact, it wasn’t until the 1970s that amaranth resurfaced as a research crop in the United States.3
Today, amaranth continues to draw attention for its high nutrient content as well as its drought resistance and adaptability to a wide range of growing areas—qualities that make it a very promising crop for the future.4
The Ayurvedic Perspective on Amaranth
This means it may be binding or drying to the stools, despite its high-fiber nature, so add extra ghee if you’re prone to occasional constipation.
It also supports muscle health and balanced energy when consumed in a quantity that doesn’t dampen agni, the digestive fire.
Due to its small nature, amaranth has a light quality, which makes it especially great for kapha and pitta doshas. That said, I’m going to share a relatively tridoshic recipe that is especially nourishing for spring and early summer.
This amaranth porridge recipe provides a tasty breakfast that is packed with nutrition. The addition of digestive spices helps the body unlock, absorb, and assimilate the nutrients to better nourish your tissues and provide you with quality energy.
- 1 cup amaranth (not rinsed)
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup raisins or currents
- 3–5 slices fresh ginger
- ½ cinnamon stick or ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1–2 cardamom pods or ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1–2 teaspoons ghee or coconut oil
- Honey or coconut sugar to taste
In a medium saucepan, combine the amaranth, water, raisins, ginger, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, and ghee or coconut oil.
Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 20–25 minutes.
Check the consistency every ten minutes or so and give it a quick stir—once it becomes creamy, your amaranth is done! Turn off the heat and leave the pot covered for five more minutes.
Serve your amaranth with a drizzle of honey (or coconut sugar) for sweetness and a dollop of ghee or coconut oil for a delicious creamy texture. Garnish with a squeeze of lime, a pinch of salt, and a touch of ground cinnamon and cardamom. Enjoy!
Additional garnish recommendations for each dosha:
Vata: Top with 10 soaked and peeled almonds or a tablespoon of full-fat yogurt to promote rejuvenation.
Pitta: Top with shredded coconut and a dash of maple syrup to soothe and nourish ojas.
Kapha: Top with a pinch of dry ginger and ½ teaspoon ground flax to prevent stagnation.
Want to level up your garnish even more? Try this bonus step!
On medium heat, melt a teaspoon of ghee in a small pan.
Add ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon cardamom, and ¼ teaspoon coconut sugar (optional).
Toast for 30–60 seconds, stirring often, until aromatic.
Drizzle on top of your cooked amaranth porridge.
Toasting spices in ghee brings out the flavor and potency of the herbs—not to mention your kitchen will smell incredible! If you’re short on time, skip this step and the amaranth will still taste delicious, but if you do have a few extra minutes to make it happen, it is worth the reward.