Quinoa vs. Amaranth: What’s Your Pick?

A new ancient grain is edging out quinoa as a life-extending superfood (at least in the home of Gardenista editor Michelle): amaranth.

Amaranth and quinoa both are high in protein, can be milled into flour (a complex carbohydrate alternative to white white flour), and produce beautiful feathery plumes of seeds that look dramatic in a floral arrangement. So what makes amaranth superior?

Above: Photographs by Katie Newburn for Gardenista.

Aside from protein, amaranth is a great source of B vitamins, calcium, iron and Vitamin C. About 60 different species of amaranth have been identified; there are purple varieties, as well as yellow, green, red, and orange.

Above: Photograph by Shanti, shanti via Flickr.

A favorite grain of the ancient Aztecs, amaranth mysteriously fell out of widespread use after the fall of that civilization for reasons that remain unclear. Researchers at the National Academy of Sciences have speculated the reason was that a small-seeded plant like amaranth needs to be babied and is harder to grow than a large-seeded plant like corn.

Amaranth can be milled into flour for various recipes.

Click here for healthy Amaranth Banana Bread.

For more ways to use amaranth micro-greens, see A Chef’s Secret Rooftop Garden.

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Karen G3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Michael Enright
Michael E3 years ago

Don't want to hog the comments, but I just followed the link to the banana bread... ???... not very appetizing looking is it? Resembles a burnt Fletton.

Michael Enright
Michael E3 years ago

I have to admit that despite its' obvious beneficial dietary value I find quinoa to be the most boring food imaginable.

My guide, when I was in the Andes, was a 'kinwa' junkie and would constantly encourage me to partake. Just to be polite I would, but I never once enjoyed it... especially the way it is prepared for the table in Peru. It was like eating frog spawn. :D

If amaranth is similar I'll be giving it a miss.

Uddhab Khadka
Uddhab Khadka3 years ago

Thank you.

Dimitris Dallis
Past Member 3 years ago

Non of them. Thank you.

Heather H.
Heather H3 years ago

"A new ancient grain" ...

Alicia N.
Alicia N3 years ago

thanks for info- I eat Quinoa

Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey3 years ago

Quinoa is a complete protein. Is Amaranth?

Kanako Ishiyama
Kanako I3 years ago

Amaranth! Boiled one gives a similar texture like spinach.

sylvie a.
.3 years ago

Je suis une très grande consommatrice de quinoa.