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Quinoa vs. Amaranth: What’s Your Pick?

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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Read more: Eating for Health, Food, Gardenista, Natural Remedies, Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian, , , , , , ,

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Gardenista is a one-stop sourcebook for cultivated living, a guide to outdoor design and gardening. Helmed by former New York Times columnist Michelle Slatalla, Gardenista features inspiration, garden visits, and advice for all things outdoor living, from patios and peonies, to tables and terraces. Gardens matter, and Gardenista celebrates tomatoes on the fire escape as much as rolling acres of green.


+ add your own
8:57AM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

Thanks for sharing.

8:55AM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

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.

8:47AM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

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.

2:52AM PDT on Sep 17, 2013

Thank you.

9:50AM PDT on Sep 9, 2013

Non of them. Thank you.

9:48AM PDT on Sep 9, 2013

"A new ancient grain" ...

2:18PM PDT on Sep 6, 2013

thanks for info- I eat Quinoa

7:43PM PDT on Sep 3, 2013

Quinoa is a complete protein. Is Amaranth?

5:53AM PDT on Sep 3, 2013

Amaranth! Boiled one gives a similar texture like spinach.

3:00AM PDT on Sep 3, 2013

Je suis une très grande consommatrice de quinoa.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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