If you want to reduce the amount of red meat you eat each week, you cannot do better than to include either amaranth or quinoa in your cooking repertoire. The beans are rich in protein and low in fat with lots of healthy fiber. Experiment with these foods at breakfast, lunch and dinner to bring variety and nutrient-rich foods to your table.
Both amaranth and quinoa have a long history in Central and South America. The ancient Aztecs in what is now Mexico amaranth domesticated about 7,000 years ago and used the grain for food and religious rituals. The Incas in South America use quinoa in the same way. The beans have traveled to Asia, Africa, Russia and the United States. Its resistance to drafts and adaptability to different climates make useful crops worldwide. Quinoa has a slight edge over amaranth because it can thrive in poor soil, while amaranth need loose soil to grow at its best.
Neither amaranth nor quinoa is real cereal grains belonging to the botanical family Poaceae. Instead, they are what scientists call pseudo-cereals; have a nutritional value similar to that of the grains, but belong to different botanical families. Amaranth is one of 60 different species of Amaranthus plants; tall plants with large flowers grouped and broad leave. Quinoa is a type of foot goose or quinoa Chenopodedium, which also includes beets, chard and spinach. Like amaranth, quinoa is a tall plant with large flowers that turn into seed heads.
One cup of cooked amaranth contains 251 calories and amazing 9 g of complete protein. Quinoa is not far behind, with 222 calories and 8 grams of complete protein. Grains also have 5.2 g of fiber in a serving of a cup, which gives all the healthy benefits for the heart and cholesterol lowering fiber and help you comply with the recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans ranging between 28 and 34 g of fiber daily. The grains are gluten free and contain high amounts of potassium. Amaranth also is high in minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, while quinoa has smaller of these quantities. Quinoa contains more vitamin E than amaranth, but does not match the general vitamin and mineral profile has amaranth.
Amaranth Vs Quinoa
Arrowhead Mills Organic Whole Grain Amaranth, 16 Ounce
truRoots Organic Quinoa 100% Whole Grain Premium Quality, 4 lbs
For breakfast, kitchen amaranth for 10-15 minutes quinoa for 20 minutes and add nuts or cinnamon as if it were any other cooked cereal. Add beans to soups, stews and casseroles in the same way you would add pasta or beans. You can also substitute any of the grains by any dish or cold bean salad with chopped vegetables and roasted nuts.