If you’re not yet familiar with the superfood called amaranth, now’s the time to get acquainted. This ancient “pseudograin” is absolutely loaded with nutrition, making it an amazing alternative to wheat and other grains. Like quinoa, which you may have eaten in my Blueberry Quinoa Pancakes, amaranth is not actually a grain (a grass) but a fruit, although its seed can be ground into flour like a grain. Thus, it’s considered a “pseudograin.”
What’s So Great About Amaranth?
It’s said that amaranth contains up to 87% of total human nutrients. Um, add kale and a B12 shot and what else do you need? Seriously!
First of all, it’s high in protein, even higher than quinoa, at 9 grams per cooked cup. It’s also loaded with 5 grams of fiber per cup, and is gluten-free.
Amaranth is full of vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
As if its nutritional profile weren’t enticing enough, consider that the ancient Aztecs in Mexico used amaranth to create images of their gods ~ it was THAT revered. I figure, if any food was considered amazing by ancient peoples, I wanna try it, too.
When cooked with water in a 1:2 ratio, amaranth turns into a kind of porridge. I personally don’t like the texture, nor does my honey, but we were so enamored of its nutritional value that we decided to try something else with it.
After a bit of online searching, I discovered this recipe for Baked Amaranth Meal Cracker Flatbread, which required making the “porridge” first, spreading the amaranth on a baking sheet, and baking it. We wanted more of a thicker flatbread, though, not a cracker. After several tries, we finally were able to get the timing right and not burn it to a crisp.
While the baking method worked all right, we did find that the edges came out a bit too crunchy and the center too gooey. (Of course, that might have something to do with my old baking sheets!)
So, our next experiment was using the dehydrator. We set it low, to somewhere between 105-115F, and let it run for about 10 hours. And I’m happy to share that OMG IT WORKED PERFECTLY!
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you could try using your oven set to a very low degree (135F or so). If you do have a dehydrator, this method has worked perfectly for us. We now make a “loaf” every week or so, which we eat like any other flatbread with nut butters, hummus, goat cheese, chutneys, and other toppings.
It’s easy to spice this up (literally) by adding herbs and seasonings to the goo before you bake/dehydrate it. We’ve tried a few different ones but keep coming back to simple old sea salt and cracked black pepper. If you try the recipe and come up with something new, I’d love to hear what you did!
Amaranth Flatbread (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
- 3 cups dry amaranth
- 6 cups water
- olive oil or coconut oil
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- other dried or fresh herbs and seasonings (optional)
- Add the amaranth and water to a large pot on the stove. Cover and bring the pot to a rolling boil.
- Turn the stove to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Stir the amaranth thoroughly. If you are adding herbs or seasonings, you can add them now.
- Allow the amaranth to cool completely, at least 1 hour or more.
- Cut strips of parchment paper to the shape of your dehydrator sheets and place the papers on the sheets. If you are using the oven, cut to the shape of your baking sheets.
- Brush the parchment paper with the oil. This will help prevent sticking and will also add flavor.
- Spread the amaranth on the parchment, making it as even as possible. If you’re using a baking sheet with raised edges, that can help form the shape. Sprinkle on sea salt and pepper to taste.
- Dehydrate at 105-115F for about 10 hours. Check in on the bread often to make sure its the crispiness you desire. I personally like it softer, but if you want more of a cracker, dehydrate for longer or at a higher temperature. Same goes for the oven method.
- Allow to cool. Slice with a pizza cutter to the shape and size you want. Spread with the toppings of your choice. Enjoy!
Adjust the recipe as necessary for your needs and tastes. You can determine the nutritional content of your final product using Recipe Calculator.
Have you ever tried amaranth?
What’s your favorite topping for a flatbread?