Amaranth Porridge: A Gluten-Free Healthy Breakfast Alternative

Tim and I spent last Monday night in Atlanta — just a quick one-night getaway to the biggest city four hours from our home, made possible by a wedding gift from our friend Kim.

An image of a tree with its branches filled with pink blossoms.

After a rainy drive down that turned into a sunny stop at IKEA, we arrived at Stonehurst Place, our bed and breakfast for the night.

An image showing a facade of a bed and breakfast inn.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Stonehurst is a stunning estate built in 1896 and totally renovated in 2007-08. Our room, the Farnsworth, overlooked the screened-in back porch and was decorated with a Hollywood glam theme.

An image of a bed and breakfast inn with beautiful cathedral windows.

It featured its own fireplace, a queen-sized bed with Egyptian cotton sheets, a marble bathroom and a full walk-in closet.

An image of a a queen-sized bed with beautiful Egyptian cotton sheets.

One of the last times I’d stayed in a B & B was in Maine, a place whose quaint little towns often make it hard not to stay in a B & B, and the thing I’ve always liked most about them is the extra amenities: at Stonehurst, we had access to an upstairs sitting room with a Keurig coffee/tea maker, fresh organic fruit and baked goods in the dining room, an open front porch overlooking the streets of Midtown — not to mention, breakfast the next morning was a gourmet spread of hot coffee or tea; organic yogurt with berries; and toasted sourdough topped with ricotta, kale and eggs cooked the way we like.

An image showing a man sitting on a sofa in a beautiful room.

Even though we were in Atlanta for under 24 hours, we managed to fit in a lot of stops, from driving through Buckhead to shopping in the Virginia Highlands (and sipping on fresh-squeezed orange juice from artisanal chocolatier Cacao, a shop recommended by our Innkeeper, Sarah):

An image of a led signage of a burger joint against a dark background.

to dinner at Yeah! Burger, a surprisingly impressive burger joint that may look like your standard eat-in fast-food place but inside is actually the adept maker of a spread like this: fresh-squeezed orange juice (we’re obsessed!), fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, a bunless grass-fed burger with goat cheese and sauteed onions, a breadless portabella sandwich with goat cheese and tomato jam, Brussels sprouts and salad.

An image of two trays filled with salad, a glass of juice, and a bunless burger.

But it was our final destination that wowed us most: the DeKalb Farmers Market, which is like Costco meets Whole Foods meets an international grocery store, the one-stop-shop for every kind of specialized food ingredient and fresh produce you could ask for. Sucanat for $2.50 a pound.

An image of a farmer's market taken from across the road.

Organic cacao nibs for half the normal price. Fresh-baked spelt sourdough bread. Spelt cherry pistachio bread. Kamut hazelnut fig bread (!!).

An image of a delicious bread still in its plastic wrapping.

We were overwhelmed.

An image of a table laden with various grocery items.

When we finally left, bags and bags of groceries in our cart, this was just some of our loot:

An image of plastic cup filled with organic amaranth.

And among that hoard was organic amaranth (at $2.99 a pound), the increasingly popular gluten free and nutritional powerhouse related to spinach, beets, Swiss chard and quinoa.

I’ve never cooked with amaranth before, but I’ve wanted to ever since I noticed it in the bulk bins at Whole Foods. Like quinoa and millet, amaranth is not actually a grain, but as any gluten-free cook could tell you, it’s often referred to as a grain because it can behave like one, yet with none of the gluten and way more health benefits.

A top view image of a bowl half-filled with organic amaranth.

Amaranth is rich in amino acid and proteins, and it has four times more calcium than wheat and twice as much magnesium and iron. Research has linked it with fighting cancer, inflammation and heart disease.

An image of a hand holding a spoon filled with amaranth porridge over a bowl.

While the seeds can be eaten like couscous/rice or ground into flour for baking, one of their most well-known uses is as a breakfast porridge — something akin to Cream of Wheat or another hot cereal — so when we returned from our fast getaway, the following Sunday morning, we had amaranth for breakfast, in porridge form.

A top view image of a delicious breakfast porridge topped with various goodies.

It didn’t officially extend our vacation but, hot and creamy, sweet and comforting, it was the next best thing.

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A top view image of a delicious breakfast porridge topped with various goodies.

Amaranth Porridge


  • Author: Shanna Mallon

Description

A non-grain, gluten-free breakfast porridge which is hot and creamy, sweet and comforting. A healthy alternative to gain based morning cereals


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup organic amaranth grains/seeds
  • 1 cup water for soaking
  • 1 teaspoon whey (i.e., the liquid in your organic yogurt) OR other acid such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar—optional
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, coconut milk or water (I used 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup water)
  • Spices and honey, as you like
  • Add-ins, as you like

Instructions

  1. Soak 1/2 cup amaranth grains/seeds in water overnight (or up to 24 hours), preferably with a little acid added such as the liquid in your yogurt container. (Why? Soaking amaranth makes it easier to digest and helps release the most nutrients. For more information on this, see this helpful Weston A. Price article.)
  2. In the morning, drain amaranth and rinse. In a saucepan, combine with 1 1/4 cups of liquid (I used 1 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of water), adding whatever spices you like, maybe with a little raw honey, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover for 25 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Notes

To serve, add whatever extras you like and enjoy!

Suggested add-ins: a little extra milk, bananas, berries, walnuts or other nuts, coconut flakes, dried fruit, spices.

About Shanna Mallon

Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.

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16 thoughts on “Amaranth Porridge: A Gluten-Free Healthy Breakfast Alternative

  1. What a sweet trip! You did a lot in a day. It would’ve been hard, I imagine, to leave such a cute B&B offering great food. I didn’t realize amaranth was so nutritious – I’ll have to give it a try!

  2. Love your photos, Shanna! Sometimes a 24-hour getaway is all you need — as is a bowl of comforting porridge when you get home. 🙂 I actually have a friend moving to Atlanta this spring. Why is everyone going south???

    • Aw, thanks, my photographer friend! It felt good to pull out the camera in public again. : ) And oh, I wish everyone really were moving south–or at least all the people I miss. Wouldn’t it be fun to go explore some little town together?

  3. i’ve never heard of amaranth but i’m excited to try something new!

    i have a question about the soaking. i typically soak things like lentils & beans, and now this, for about 24 hours, in water. since i am dairy free, i wouldn’t use whey. could i use a splash of lemon juice or something acidic in lieu of it?

    • Lan, Yes! You could use a splash of lemon juice or something acidic, maybe like apple cider vinegar instead. Good question. I think I’ll update the recipe to reflect that!

  4. Oh man I wouldn’t have been able to leave a market like that! At least not without a stock pile : ) I’ve still yet to cook with amaranth, it looks delicious as a porridge!

  5. I’ve heard only wonderful things about the Dekalb Market — I’m making a note of it on my mental to-do list.

    I think sometimes short little getaways are the best kind 🙂

  6. Such beautiful photos. I have been reading up on Amaranth alot lately but yet to find it. But I know what I’m doing when I get it!

  7. I’d love to hear if you do find it, Kulsum. You know, even when I was living in Chicago, I never saw it anywhere, not that I was looking…. I wonder if it’s very geographically specific? Hmm.

  8. Shannalee and Tim! I am now completely obsessed with your food blog. This looks even better than I imagined it when you told me about it during your stay. I am so glad your 24 hours in Atlanta was great and that the Stonehurst could have been apart of it. I will definitely be trying your Amaranth porridge as its own option and as a great Gluten free choice. It is always great to learn about other grains and Amaranth has been one I have never cooked. Thank you for sharing such beautiful pictures and a new recipe!

  9. So fun to hear from you here, Sarah! Thanks again for the amazing breakfast and great suggestions. We loved meeting you! : )

  10. Yay, Stonehurst Place! We really, really loved it and I’m so happy to hear that you all did too. And can we talk about how amazing Virginia Highland is? If we hadn’t grown accustomed to living near the ocean, I swear Atlanta would be high on our list of places to live!

    PS – The porridge in this post looks amazing!

    • Meredith! I love that you stayed there last week! As soon as I saw your post, I thought, Of course they would like this place! The thing I love about your blog is you have such great design taste! : )

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