Complete Guide to Amaranth

Amaranth is naturally gluten free, making it a versatile grain that can be used in a variety of delicious baking and cooking applications.
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Amaranth is a small-but-mighty grain that has roots in ancient Aztec Civilization. Amaranth has gained lots of popularity in recent years, sought out for its great nutritional properties, unique taste, and diverse range of applications. Panhandle Milling offers a wide variety of amaranth products from whole grain to flour to mixes. Learn more about amaranth and find some of our favorite amaranth recipes below! 

What is amaranth? 

While it may be one of the smallest grains, amaranth has a long history behind dating back to its use in ancient Aztec civilization. Like the more commonly-recognized quinoa grain, the protein in amaranth has a good balance of essential amino acids resulting in a high biological value. Compared to many other grains, amaranth is higher in mineral content, most notably iron, zinc, and calcium. 

Is amaranth gluten free? 

Amaranth is naturally gluten free, making it a versatile grain that can be used in a variety of delicious baking and cooking applications. It works well in multigrain blends for gluten free baking as well as a stand-alone for porridge-style dishes, both sweet and savory. 

Please note, that while Panhandle Milling’s amaranth grain is naturally gluten free, the product is not certified gluten free.It is produced in a facility that also processes wheat and wheat products. However, if you are interested in a certified gluten-free product, our sales team will be more than happy to work through that project with you. 

What is the difference between amaranth grain and other grains? 

Amaranth, while classified as a grain, is not in the same family as wheat or rice. One of the smallest grains, its appearance almost resembles that of a seed and is commonly referred to as such. In ancient Aztec civilization, it was often used to make tortillas among other traditional foods. 

While it’s not a one-to-one substitute with traditional wheat and wheat flour, the amaranth grain is a great addition to nutritious grain blends that can be used for breads, crackers, cakes, and the like. Amaranth has an earthy flavor profile that can provide another dimension of complexity to your favorite dishes. If you or your customers are fans of quinoa or millet, amaranth would be a fabulous and on-trend grain to introduce into your product portfolio. 

What amaranth varieties are available for purchase? 

Panhandle Milling offers amaranth in both its whole grain and flour forms in organic and non-organic varietals, ensuring that you get the perfect product for your business and baking needs. We can service bulk customers, small-to-midsize bakeries, and those looking for retail products that are packaged and ready for the grocery store shelf. 

Not sure which option best suits your needs? Our experts are ready to help you find the perfect amaranth product for you. 

Is conventional or organic amaranth right for me? 

Because the flavor is relatively unchanged among the two product variants, it boils down to either your personal preference or your customer’s preference. Organic bakeries, restaurants, CPG brands, and health food stores might find more success with Organic Amaranth among their consumer base. Alternatively, those searching for a lower cost product may gravitate towards sourcing the conventional amaranth grain. 

Our experienced and knowledgeable sales team is a great resource for any questions regarding our product portfolio, and specifically around whether conventional or organic amaranth will be best for you and your business. 

Amaranth grain recipes

We’re big believers in the nutritional benefits (and amazing taste) of amaranth at Panhandle Milling and are excited to share some of our chef’s best amaranth recipes with you. Amaranth is commonly seen in porridges, riffs on polenta and grits, a “crunchy” element in baked goods, granolas, pancakes, and breads. 

Below you’ll find delicious base recipes that take you from porridge to amaranth popcorn to a riff on a traditional southern comfort-food classic. 

How to cook amaranth 

Fortunately, cooking amaranth is about as easy as it gets! With only two ingredients and two steps, you’ll have a hearty bowl of amaranth in no time. However, be sure to not let the amaranth grain overcook as it has a tendency to get soggy if it’s left to overcook! 

Ingredients:

1 C Organic Grains Amaranth

2 1/2 C water

Instructions: 

  1. Place the amaranth and water in a pot
  2. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for 20-25 minutes
  3. Serve and enjoy! 

How to pop amaranth 

The versatility of this grain is truly unmatched! Take a break from traditional corn popcorn and make delicious and nutritious amaranth popcorn in just a few easy steps! Use it to add crunch in cookies, granola bars, brownies, peanut butter cups, and more. 

Ingredients: 

1/4 C Organic Amaranth

Instructions:

  1. Preheat a large pot over medium-to-high heat
  2. Create a single layer of amaranth on the bottom of the pot
  3. Let the amaranth pop away! Move the pot back and forth to prevent the amaranth from burning
  4. Quickly remove from the heat and serve

Delicious Amaranth Cheese “Grits” 

You know that one recipe you just can’t get enough of? You turn to it whenever you need something really grounding and satisfying. For us, it’s this simple-yet-delicious amaranth grain dish. We’re putting a spin on the comfort food classic, cheese grits by substituting amaranth for grits, and calling out easy alternatives that will easily make this dish 100% plant based. 

Ingredients: 

1 C Organic Grains Amaranth

3 C water

Salt, to taste

1 C sharp cheddar, shredded (can substitute dairy-free cheese shreds)

3 Tbsp cream cheese (can substitute non-dairy cream cheese) 

Instructions:

  1. Combine the water and salt in a large pot and cover with lid
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Add Organic Grains Amaranth, cover pot and reduce burner to its lowest setting
  4. Simmer 20 mins, or until water is completely absorbed
  5. Turn off heat, add in the cream cheese and cheese
  6. Stir well until melted
  7. Serve and enjoy!

What foods pair well with amaranth? 

Amaranth is great because it can really be made sweet or savory, depending on what foods you couple it with. For a savory pairing try sharp cheeses, smoky sausages, herbs, mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Want something sweeter? Throw on some honey, baked apples, unsalted nuts, cinnamon sugar, or coconut. Whatever your creation, be sure to tag us @organicgrain on Instagram so we can see all your delicious dishes!

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