Amaranth is a nutrient-rich grain that has been used in various cultures for centuries. It is rich in protein, fiber, and minerals like iron and zinc, making it a great addition to a healthy diet.
However, amaranth can be tricky to find sometimes, or you may simply not have access to it.
Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives that can help you create meals just as tasty and nutritious as they would be with amaranth. From quinoa to couscous, these amaranth substitutes will ensure that your culinary creations are as satisfying as ever.
Quinoa is packed full of protein and fiber, so it makes for a great substitute for amaranth in recipes. You can cook quinoa like rice and use it as a side dish or mix it into other dishes like salads and stews for some extra added nutrition.
When substituting quinoa for amaranth, you should use one part quinoa for every one and a half parts of amaranth. It is also important to rinse the quinoa first because it naturally produces saponin, which has a bitter taste. To remove the saponin, simply boil some water, add the quinoa, and stir every now and then until the water turns cloudy. Then, strain, rinse under cold water, and let it drain before using.
Millet is a versatile, gluten-free grain that has been used in traditional diets for millennia. Unlike most grains, it is nutrient-dense and contains an array of minerals, including zinc, phosphorous, magnesium, and iron. Traditionally, it’s made by soaking the grains overnight before cooking them in water on a stovetop until tender.
You can use millet instead of amaranth in various dishes, from pilafs and risotto to breakfast porridge. Its mild flavor makes it an ideal base for all kinds of savory or sweet recipes. When cooked right, millet can add texture and flavor to any recipe without overpowering the other ingredients. Ideally, one cup of millet should be perfect for every two cups of liquid used. This ratio can easily be adjusted to fit your preferences.
Historically, buckwheat has been used throughout ancient cultures all around the world as a flour substitution and even provided the foundation of early staples like soba noodles. It’s a perfect gluten-free option and is high in iron, zinc, magnesium, and Vitamin B6.
When using buckwheat as a substitute for amaranth, there are some important ratios to consider. For every cup of amaranth, use about three-quarters cup of buckwheat.
The best way to incorporate it is to fully cook the buckwheat before adding it to whatever dish you are preparing. This will help bring out its earthy flavor and creamy yet crunchy texture that pairs especially well with stir-fries and salads. You can also grind it into flour or use it as an ingredient in your favorite baked goods.
4. Brown Rice
Brown rice is essentially whole-grain rice that has only had the outer husk removed, keeping the bran and germ intact. This means it tastes nuttier and sweeter than white rice and has more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
When replacing brown rice with amaranth, use a two-to-one liquid-to-brown rice ratio. This guarantees that the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the proper amount of liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat and cook the brown rice for 40 minutes. To reduce extra moisture, keep the lid slightly ajar on the pot.
Oats are a classic, multipurpose grain that may be used in a wide variety of recipes to replicate the texture of amaranth. Oats are commonly ground into flour and used as a substitute for amaranth flour in pancakes, muffins, and cookies.
When using oats as a substitute for amaranth, you should know that amaranth is denser. So, you’ll need to use more oats to balance the consistency. So, if your recipe asks for one cup of amaranth, you should use three cups of oats instead. You may then adjust the ratio based on how much texture you want from the oats. For best results, opt for old-fashioned or steel-cut oats.
Teff is an ancient grain that originated in the highlands of Ethiopia. It’s a tiny, gluten-free grain packed with nutrition and flavor. It works as a great substitute for amaranth as teff is equally healthy without compromising flavor.
To use teff, you can simmer it in water or vegetable broth for about 20 minutes or until the grains are fluffy and tender. You can also add teff to soups, stews, salads, and stir-fries for added texture and nutrition. For baking, you can substitute the same amount of teff flour as you would amaranth flour to make bread and muffins with a lighter texture and nutty flavor.
Couscous is an excellent alternative if you’re looking for something to replace amaranth in your cooking. Originating in North Africa, it’s made from semolina wheat and steamed until the grains are light and fluffy. The finished product is similar to pasta but easier to prepare, making it a great time-saving option. It has a nice nutty flavor that complements many dishes and can absorb whatever flavors and spices you add to it.
You can use couscous as a substitute for amaranth in many different recipes. To cook couscous, rinse it in cold water and then steam it for 10-15 minutes before cooking with other ingredients such as vegetables, unseasoned meat or fish, lentils, and beans. For added flavor, consider topping it off with some olive oil and fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro before serving.