A…Amaranth Greens

October 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

I LOVE my greens.

And I’ll admit it – I’m guilty of sneaking greens into unsuspecting dishes.

I like experimenting with the different flavors and textures that greens often lend to a dish. Imagine my excitement when I discovered a new green to experiment with!

Amaranth is an ancient food, usually grown for its seeds.  But actually all parts of the amaranth plant are edible. Popular in India, it is used in dal dishes, Greeks use it as a side for fish and Asian cultures use it in stir-fry and soups.

As exciting as it was to discover new greens, they were not a easy for me to find. Here’s why – these greens go by many names, various shapes AND colors.

Green, red, purple. Long leaf, short leaf, round leaf. Amaranth, callaloo, hinn choy, tampala. No wonder I had a hard time tracking down these greens.

I decided to take a trip to the Asian market. List in hand, I had every version of the Amaranth name. Fortunately, my persistance paid off, I found my greens!

They came in a large plastic bag for $2.29/lb, but there were a whole lot of greens stuffed in that bag.  And the leaves – they looked just like super-sized spinach!

Amaranth greens are a bit astringent when raw. They develop a mellower flavor and a tender, but hearty texture when cooked. These greens cook quickly, making them a great addition to any quick meal.

I think these greens are going to be the next visitor in my Skillet Gnocchi & Eggs breakfast.

amaranth

Tip: When purchasing, look for greens that don’t have any visible buds. This means they are younger and will taste better.

Nutrition: They are a COMPLETE PROTEIN! But also a good source of vitamin A, K (find out it’s importance here), B6 and C, iron, folate, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese.

Caution: Eat in moderation! Although this green is nutrient rich, it also contains a large amount of oxalic acid which inhibits absorption of calcium and zinc.

 

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