Boat Food! - Amaranth

Hello, I'm Jennifer and I'm a food snob.  Kinda.  I have been trying hard to buy local and/or organic whenever possible because the nutrient content is higher.  And the weird chemical content is lower.  I don't like chemicals.  Or preservatives.  But what about on a boat?  Mark was kind enough to remind me a while back that I can't just stop at a farmer's market in the middle of an ocean crossing.  He's nice that way.

Since we're not ready to leave any time soon, and I am in no hurry to give up healthy eating, I'm researching/cooking with healthy yet boat-friendly foods.  Today we're gonna talk about Amaranth.  I'm sure, unless you live under a rock (or in the middle of an ocean) that you've heard of Quinoa by now.  But what about amaranth?  It is also a tiny, dry (great for a boat!) grain (technically quinoa is a seed, but whatever).  Amaranth is also a great veggie source of protein.  I was able to find it at our local health food store in bulk for about $2.50/lb, as well as at Whole Foods - also in the bulk food section, at about the same price.  That's a whole lot cheaper and easier to store on a boat than meat.  But now I have to figure out what the heck to do with it.

The general cooking rule is 2.5 to 1 - water to amaranth.  It cooks up in about 20 minutes and has a wee bit of crunch at that time.  You can apparently cook it a little longer and it becomes kind of like porridge.  My first round is a little bland - but it seems to take on whatever flavors you cook it with, so it becomes a bit of a chameleon in the kitchen.  The bowl I'm having for lunch was cooked with salted water (needs a little more salt) and an Italian spice blend.  I added fresh tomatoes, garlic and a jar of artichoke hearts during the last few minutes of cooking and then topped with mozzarella cheese.  It's pretty darn tasty.  I've stuffed a red pepper with it for Mark's dinner tonight.

I can see cooking it with just about anything.  One recipe calls for simmering it with milk then adding sugar/butter - so it would become more of a hot breakfast cereal.  I also think it'd be great with mushrooms and cooked in beef stock.  As I experiment, I'll try to add more recipes.  In the meantime - here's the best part, the nutritional information:
It's gluten free, a great source of lysine and iron, has a decent (and absorbable) calcium content, 1 cup has 18 grams of fiber vs 2.4 in white rice, and is a good source of vitamin E/polyunsaturated fats (similar to olive oil).

Another handy little bit of info - you can pop it!  Just like popcorn.  This stuff is tiny, but it supposedly is great on top of salads, etc for extra crunch.  I'm not sure I'd sit around eating it like popcorn, but if I do, I'll let you know how it goes...

Anybody out there tried it/have a great recipe using it?  I'm sure there are a million ways to cook it and am ready to start trying them all.


  1. I did this with amaranth once, instead of the Israeli style couscous, and I liked it a lot. :D http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Israeli-couscous-with-green-beans_-feta-and-pistachios-368557?columns=4&position=10%2F60

    1. Thanks! It's a great substitute for couscous, nutritionally. :)

  2. I had no idea this stuff even existed. The stuffed peppers looked yummy. Try using sweet red peppers - available at Costco. OMG ~ so gooooood.

    One of the things we look forward to when we get to the remote ports is being able to buy fresh local veggies. Ah, you might say - check out our local farmers market. We did and found that the vegies sold where not really organic. They were purchased from a wholesaler to resell at the market and just labeled organic. One stand was doing a ripping business. They told us they had a farm. We asked them the location and Googled it right in front of them. The farm did not exist. We ask for them to show us on Google the location of their farm - we were politely pushed out of the tent.

    Mark and Cindy - s/v Cream Puff

    1. Hey Creampuff!

      Pushed out of the tent? That's pretty crazy!
      While I am looking forward to eating as much local food as possible when we set sail, I fully expect to eat whatever is available - I'm sure not every place is going to have organic stuff. I'm just going to stock up on as many nutrients as possible while I have access and then provision with as many cool foods (like amaranth) as I can find before we leave. Can't wait to enjoy all the fresh fruits on the islands!

      Thanks for stopping by :)


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