Fun fact: Amaranth was banished after the Spanish conquest of the Americas. The Spanish forbid its cultivation in hopes of helping to eliminate the Aztec tradition of human sacrifice. (Amaranth was often made into a ceremonial mixture that would be eaten at such occasions.)
It fell out of use for hundreds of years, and only now in recent times is amaranth getting any attention from westerners. Even today, its appreciation from home cooks seems to be small.
Yet, it’s doubtful this natural superfood staple of the Mayans and Aztecs will hang under the radar for long.
Like quinoa, amaranth is a complete protein, packing in nearly 10 grams of the muscle-building nutrient per cup (30% more than rice) along with a notable amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Meanwhile, in contrast to quinoa, since this gluten-free grain hasn’t yet fully been rediscovered, you can still score a bulk bin bag of the nutty seed at a price that won’t set you back.
After a recent trip to Mexico, where I found amaranth showing up both on menus in the form of breakfast porridge and as a nutty topping to various salads, I began to start experimenting with it myself in my own kitchen.
I love it as an alternative to oatmeal, cooked up with almond milk and raisins, and swirled with cinnamon, maple syrup and nuts. Just recently, I discovered it in its flour form.
After receiving a bag of amaranth flour from Bob’s Red Mill, I got to work — and to daydreaming — in thinking up ways to use it. With Easter approaching, I settled on doing some sort of baked treat, which led me in creating this recipe.
Inspired by spring, these Amaranth Flour Carrot Cake Cookies are spice-forward and a perfect pairing to a tall glass of almond milk. I recommend serving them with a smear of almond butter on the side, too, or even peanut butter if you have either on hand. For an extra special treat, sandwich a scoop of coconut ice cream between two cookies.
Did I mention they’re vegan and gluten-free, too? And not all that unhealthy, too…