Although amaranth has grown in popularity recently, it's been around since the Aztecs ruled, has a storied history in Mexico, is consumed throughout Latin America and is a native crop in Peru. Amaranth is a whole grain that's naturally gluten-free, packed with protein, lysine (an important amino acid), calcium, magnesium, iron and fiber. Consuming amaranth is also a natural way to reduce inflammation and has been shown to help lower cholesterol. Today, it's an important, nutritious food source in places such as Africa and India, and is grown all over the world—including in the United States—as it's a hearty, adaptive plant that can grow in most climates. Popped amaranth give this smoothie recipe an extra nutritional boost.
If you can't find pre-popped amaranth in your grocery store, look for amaranth grain in the bulk foods section of health food stores such as WholeFoods or you can also purchase it online and pop your own at home.
To pop your own amaranth: Add one tablespoon of amaranth to a deep pan or pot with a lid. Heat on the stove over low heat for a few minutes. Shake the pot a little to help prevent the amaranth from burning. The kernels will pop similar to popcorn, so they should look white and fluffy when popped.
This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan-friendly.