Amaranth

Summary

  • The high fiber content relative to the protein in amaranth makes it impractical as the sole source of protein in a meal
  • It is easy to make and stays fresh for a few days
  • The protein in cooked amaranth is about 80% as good as the equivalent amount of casein protein

Amaranth Recipes

The first section of this article is a number of amaranth recipes. The second half covers some of the more technical nutrition qualities of amaranth. Click this link to go to the second half of the article.

How to cook amaranth

  1. Boil 3 cups of water
  2. Add one cup of amaranth
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes
  4. Remove from heat and enjoy

More information

The amaranth will most likely still have a soupy consistency after 20 minutes of cooking. If you let it sit and cool it will become much thicker.

One cup of uncooked amaranth will yield just under 3.5 cups of cooked amaranth. This means you can expect 8 grams of protein per cup of cooked amaranth.

It will stay fresh in the refrigerator for a few days. The longest I let it sit was four days and the consistency and taste were the same as the first day.

Amaranth tastes how you might expect a tree leaf to taste. Seasoning it is very easy and takes less than you would expect based on the volume of amaranth you are trying to flavor.

Because of the “plant” taste I have found that things like basil, garlic or zaatar seasoning work well. You can also add brown or regular sugar the same way you would in grits or oatmeal.

Amaranth and Peanut Butter

Technically it mixes well with peanut butter too. You get a diluted peanut butter taste with a texture that you want to chew. I mainly use this on open faced sandwiches.

  1. Measure .25 cups of cooked amaranth and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter into a bowl
  2. Mix well
  3. Spread over 1 piece of bread
amaranth and peanut butter sandwich
Open faced amaranth and peanut butter sandwich with a side of cheese curds

Amaranth Nutrition

This section of the article provides details about the protein quality of amaranth. Topics include comparisons of amaranth to similar types of foods.

Amaranth vs Oats

This is really not a fair comparison when it comes to overall nutritional value. Amaranth is by far more nutritious in a number of ways. This is mostly due tot he fact that when you eat amaranth you are consuming the whole seed. With oats you only get a part of the seed.

The oats in oatmeal are considered cereals while amaranth is a pseudocereal. The difference here is that cereal grains are types of grass while pseudocereals as just used in many of the same ways. Other pseudocereals include quinoa and buckwheat

Amaranth protein vs oat protein

This section talks about the differences between amaranth and oat protein based on their relative net protein ratios. There are compared to casein protein as a reference point.

For the most part there are not significant differences in the protein of amaranth and oats when either of them are compared to meat, eggs and dairy. However, when you compare them to one another they are quite different.

When compared to casein, amaranth protein has a relative net protein ratio of just over 80%. This basically means you can multiply the grams of protein in a serving of amaranth by 0.8 to get a rough estimate of how much protein you can count on digesting.

Oats on the other hand have a relative net protein ratio of about 78%, very close to peanut butter. This means you would need to eat just over 2 cups of cooked oatmeal to get the same amount of protein you get from 10 grams of casein.

Amaranth is a lot more efficient when it comes to volume. We will use the results from the cooking section of this article that showed 1 cup of uncooked amaranth yields 3.5 cups of cooked amaranth. You only need 1.5 cups of cooked amaranth to get the equivalent of 10 grams of casein. This equals out to 342 calories total. The 2.13 cups of oatmeal weighs in at 337 calories.

Amino acids in amaranth vs oats

The total protein from eating oats or amaranth is comparable when it comes to the amount, but what about the amino acids? This section talks about the differences between amaranth and oat protein based on their protein digestibility corrected amino acid score, or PDCAAS. There are compared to casein protein as a reference point.

The PDCAAS is different from relative net protein ratio because it takes the amino acid present in the lowest amounts into account. This is an important consideration if you are thinking about replacing high quality animal based proteins.

Based on the Protein quality evaluation Report of Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation published in 1989 the PDCAAS for casein is 1.00. The same source puts oats at 0.57. Amaranth comes in at 0.64.

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