Amaranth… ama… who??

Amaranth salad with halloumi en pomegranate | insimoneskitchen.com

Now be honest with me… have you heard of amaranth before? Or even better, have you tasted it before? I hadn’t. I had heard about it but it was some far ringing thing in terms of ‘o yes that sounds vaguely familiar’ but I had no idea how it looked, let alone know how it tasted. So when I saw it in the store I could simply not let the opportunity pass and buy a bag of amaranth.

Amarant salad | insimoneskitchen.com

It looks a little bit like quinoa except the grains are even finer and once cooked the amaranth is a lot stickier then quinoa. Taste wise I would say the two are pretty similar too. Both take really well to adapting different kinds of flavors and while I haven’t tried it in a sweet version I have been reading that it would work too.

Amaranth itself is a grain with a pretty interesting history. The Aztecs thought it had superpowers and even used it in their religious ceremonies, while the Spanish where so appalled by those same ceremonies that the grain was forbidden and fell of the radar for the next hundreds of years. The Aztecs used to make shapes of their idols/Gods out of a mixture of ground amaranth, honey or human blood and then those were eaten during a religious ceremony…

Amaranth salad with halloumi | insimoneskitchen.com

Being naturally glutenfree it is a grain that is slowly rising in popularity and is seen more often in health food stores or stores that have gluten free products. The amaranth can be ground and then used as a flour in baking or making pasta, it can be used as a type of popcorn, in Peru they make beer out of it and it can be used in sweet dishes for breakfast or dessert too. So pretty versatile, again I would say, a lot like quinoa!

I made the amaranth this afternoon into a delicious salad. It was tasty for sure but if you do not like the texture of quinoa, you will most certainly not like the texture of amaranth. And while I liked it, I didn’t think it was that different from quinoa which I always have in the house so unless I am convinced of that in the upcoming dishes I will create with this grain (it’s not really a grain by the way but more a seed) I think I’m gonna stick with the quinoa. But let me know if you have another opinion on amaranth or some great dishes I should try!

Amaranth salad with halloumi

Ingredients:

  • 75 g amaranth
  • 50g halloumi (cut into cubes)
  • sunflower oil (for roasting the halloumi)
  • 2-3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1/2 smoked pepper (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon mayonaise
  • 1/2 lime (juice only)
  • 1-2 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
  • pepper
  • salt
  • mixed salad leaves

Directions:

Cook the amaranth according to package instructions or roughly 15 minutes in 150 ml of water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and put the lid on while you leave it bubbling away. In the meantime fry the halloumi in a small layer of sunflower oil in a frying pan and leave to drain on kitchen paper
Leave the amaranth to cool. It will still look very sticky. You want the grains to be soft but still a bit crunchy. Add the pomegranate seeds to the amaranth once cooled, add cilantro and smoked peppers and mix everything well.
Make a dressing by putting lemon mayonaise and the balsamic vinegar together and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can add the lime juice to the dressing but I added the lime juice directly to the amaranth and then added dressing to the amount needed which was really very little.
Put some of the salad leaves in a shallow bowl or on a plate. Add the amaranth mix on top, sprinkle with some extra pomegranate seeds and the halloumi cubes.
Recipe by Simone van den Berg

Simone van den Berg

Food- and travelblogger from the Netherlands. Loves good food. Loves to taste good food the world over. She also loves to share travelstories, delicious recipes and ok, cat pictures too. She sometimes feels the need to get really healthy for a while, always mingled with periods of insanely delicious sweets and other decadent treats. Lives together with Tom and their two cats; Humphrey and Buffy. Profession: Food photographer

18 comments

  1. I’ve never had amaranth… A deliciously summery salad! Halloumi is such a great addition.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. OOh I really like amaranth and to date have use it in my granola (the popped version) I love your colorful salad here!

  3. Yup well not until about a year ago but since then I’ve made a few things with it. If you’re gluten free I’m sure you have heard of it. I’ve made amaranth crackers and amaranth zucchini muffins. I like it!

  4. I heard about it but never used it. Last year I went to a presentation about edible schools and the wonderful speaker brought some amaranth for us to play with (they use it a lot in their schools as it is a great grain, grows easily and it is a beautiful plant). We extracted the seeds, and I brought some home, ended up losing them (I believe my cleaning lady threw away a bunch of seeds I had on the counter), few ended up in my compost so I have few plants growing now. I am curious to see whether I would get enough seeds to eat.

    The whole plants can be eaten too, the young leaves can be eaten raw or sauteed.

    Great idea for a salad, I will try it. My amaranth plant is red, the seeds are almost black.

  5. I love this. I’m an avid quinoa eater and have used puffed amaranth like Meeta for my muesli but once tried straight up amaranth and used too much. Made that funny texture in my mouth. I’d like to try this cooked version and I really like the addition of lime and pomengranate.
    I discovered you through What’s For Lunch Honey and have eaten a lot of Pasta with goat cheese and peas this week! AND I’ve still not quite gotten the shot. I’m posting it today… and might still have one more go of it as I just turned a half gallon of goat milk into chevre… and I got a line on a neighbor with peas coming out the wazoo ๐Ÿ™‚
    Love your site.

    • I have got to try the puffed variant too, as i have plenty left and it sounds intriguing! Great that you’re joining in the fun of the Donna Hay Challenge Wendy! Can’t wait to see your results!

  6. What a colorful looking salad! I like to saute the amaranth leaves in a little oil and add in toasted almonds. Love the addition of Halloumi and of course, the beautiful colorful pomegranate arils! Lovely!

    Best,
    Sihi

  7. I have heard of amaranth but never tasted it. Looking at the salad and your beautiful presentation .. I am getting tempted ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I’ve been eying the amaranth but haven’t bought it yet, so this post was really useful, thanks Simone. I did by amaranth spouts the other day, and they are really strange…they are bright magenta, and kind of taste like beets! I love exploring new foods!

  9. Living in the Land Down Under I can honestly say that the word ‘amaranth’ seems to be in all of the cookery/health magazines at the moment as an alternate to quinoa and farro. Your interesting recipe which is bookmarked, will make me all the more likely to get a personal ‘opinion’ soonest! Thanks!

  10. I’ve heard of amaranth, but have yet try it. Your beautiful salad would be a great place to start!

  11. Hi Simone, I love amaranth! You find it all over the place here and it is very cheap. For a large bag of popped amaranth you pay less than 1 Euro. I often use the seeds to make porridge; I cook it for 25 minutes in water, a pinch of salt and a pinch of cinnamon and add banana at the end. Or I cook them and make a pancake batter. The other day I used popped amaranth (amaranth cereal) in a soup that uses two of the four basics out of Pre-Hispanic Mexican cuisine. I got the recipe here: http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/2172-mexican-squash-corn-and-amaranth-soup-sopa-de-calabaza-y-elote-con-amaranto
    It was very good! Your salad looks delicious too; I’m sure I’m going to try your recipe some time.

  12. Love the amaranth history and info!

  13. Pretty pretty salad and I love the flavors. I don’t think I’ve ever had amaranth and I do like quinoa. Fun!

  14. Never tried amaranth. Yet…that is! I’m on somewhat of a quinoa kick lately, but now I’m very curious about amaranth. Love all the flavors in your gorgeous salad!

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