Well we were supposed to get snow yesterday, so in true fashion the entire metro-Atlanta area shut down in anticipation. You can’t really blame us since people still shake in their booties thinking about the day 5 years ago when the entire city was stuck in an icy traffic jam with many people having to spend the night in their vehicles. Better safe than sorry I suppose.
While I did not see one snowflake (it actually turned out to be pretty sunny in the afternoon), I can’t complain about having a day to get things done around the house and still have time for some kitchen experiments. A few weeks back I found some great deals on a few ancient grain options at the store. One of these was amaranth, which I had never worked with before. After a little research, I decided to try my hand at making puffed amaranth to put into homemade granola.
Amaranth is a tiny little grain, but it has many nutritional benefits. It is gluten-free, so a great option for those who may need to avoid certain other whole grains. Though it has some of the common nutrients like fiber and plant-based protein you would expect to find in a grain, it is also a good source of magnesium and manganese, and even a bit of iron. Another bonus is that it is apparently easy to grow and harvest, which means it is a good pick for those of us with sustainability in mind when we make our food choices.
In addition to all of that, it was really fun to play with! I did a little research to see just how to cook it to make it pop open and puff up. However, like most things you just have to get in there and practice a bit to find the technique that works best for you. It is fairly easy to burn, which smells a lot like burnt popcorn. The consensus that did work in the end was to cook it on high heat really quickly! Small batches also helped to make sure they all had room to pop (and also ensures you don’t waste too much if you ruin the first few batches like I did 🤣).
I warmed up the pan to medium-high heat, then poured in about a half a tablespoon of the amaranth. Immediately cover with a lid unless you want amaranth kernels all over the stove top (yep, learned from experience on that one). It should literally only take 10-20 seconds for them all to pop open. Pour them out into a bowl and repeat until you have the amount you want. I made plenty for my batch of granola, with some to spare for later!
- 1 cup rolled oats (certified gluten-free if you need a totally gluten-free recipe)
- 1/2 cup puffed amaranth
- 1/2 cup hulled hemp hearts
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped raw almonds
- 3 tablespoons organic brown rice syrup (can sub maple or date syrup)
- 2 tablespoons cashew or other nut/seed butter
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- sprinkle of ground nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.
In a large bowl stir together the dry ingredients. Place the remaining wet ingredients and spices into a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until combined and the spices start to get fragrant. Remove the wet mixture from the heat and pour into the bowl with the oats. Stir everything together.
Scoop out the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the granola is fragrant and toasted. Remove from heat and let cool before breaking up and placing into a jar for later use. Try not to eat it all in one sitting since that kind of defeats the purpose of healthy, homemade treats, haha!
The puffed amaranth added a nice little bit of texture to break up the heartier nuts and oats. I made enough to store some in the refrigerator for later use. I’m sure I’ll find some more fun ways to incorporate it into the weekly meal plan!
*Recipe also shared on my Steem & Whaleshares profiles