Simple Amaranth and Quinoa Porridge

Simple Amaranth and Quinoa Porridge | The Full Helping

If you’ve been following the #VVC2013 madness on Instagram, Twitter, or in the recaps, you may by now have seen the generous swag bag, which was stuffed to the brim with cookies, toffees, lip balm and body butter, chips, chocolate, snack bars, coupons, and other goodies. Figuring out how to fit all of my loot into the tiny suitcase I’d packed was harder than solving a Rubik’s cube, but I managed, and brought home with me a gaggle of goodies, along with the twenty or so peanut butter samples I had snagged from the conference. The heaviest bit of swag I toted back was a bag of amaranth from Bob’s Red Mill.

I’m a little frightened of amaranth. I’ve tried it a few times, only to dislike it; it’s always ended up pasty, and I naturally prefer larger, chewier grains to teeny tiny ones. That said, I decided to regard this bag of amaranth as an opportunity to get to know the ancient grain a little better. Amaranth is relatively high in protein, calcium, and iron, and it’s also very high in fiber. It was first cultivated in Central America, and to this day it appears in many traditional Mexican recipes.

At the conference, I confessed to JL and Ginny that I was intimidated of amaranth, and both of them assured me that the best way to enjoy it is to mix it with other grains, like millet or quinoa. I decided to try cooking a half and half batch of quinoa and amaranth, and lo and behold, I really loved the resulting grain mix. Because quinoa is super fluffy and amaranth is denser, the mixture was a nice in between. I also loved the variety of texture here. I used to do oat+millet and barley+oat combinations all the time, and I’ve sort of forgotten that two grains can be better than one.

Simple Amaranth and Quinoa Porridge | The Full Helping

You could do anything you want with the cooked mixture of amaranth and quinoa: serve it with roasted or steamed veggies and a simple tahini dressing (like the one I serve with my raw falafel), pile it on top of a meal sized salad, or use it in a stir fry. Or, you can make the following porridge. Sure, it’s (almost) June, and porridge season is behind us, but after a chilly and drizzly long weekend in Portland, this one hit the spot!

Simple Amaranth and Quinoa Porridge | The Full Helping

Simple Amaranth and Quinoa Porridge (Gluten Free & Soy Free)
Recipe Type: breakfast
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, soy free, no oil, tree nut free option
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup dry amaranth
  • 2 cups water
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar, agave, or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp flax meal
  • 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds (or another nut/seed)
  • [i]Optional[/i]: fresh blueberries, dried cranberries, or any other fresh or dried fruit
  1. Combine water, salt, and grains in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar to let air escape, and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until water is absorbed and grains are tender. At this point, you can use the grains in any way you’d like, or move straight into the porridge. I like to prep the grains in advance and then refrigerate them, so that I can whip up the porridge quickly on the next morning or two.
  2. To make the porridge, combine the almond milk and sweetener in a medium pot and add the grains. Simmer over low heat for a few minutes, then add the flax. Continue to cook until the almond milk has absorbed quite a bit, and the porridge is a desired texture (I like mine creamy, but not liquidy).
  3. Divide porridge into four bowls. Top with the almonds and an extra pinch of sweetener, if desired. Stir in dried fruit, fresh fruit, or any other fixings you like!

 Simple Amaranth and Quinoa Porridge | The Full Helping

Of course, if you live solo, as I do, you can whip up the grains in advance and then make the porridge in individual servings (so you use a half cup of almond milk, a heaping teaspoon of flax, and just a pinch of sweetener for each serving).

I tend to make my mind up quickly about ingredients (I make my mind up quickly about everything!), but this porridge was a good reminder that preparing something in a new way can often reveal hidden virtues. I’m happy to have amaranth in my life.

Tell me, how do you all like to prepare amaranth? I’m eager for more ideas!


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Categories: Breakfast
Ingredients: Quinoa
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, No Oil, Tree Nut Free, Vegan

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  1. This recipe looks banging!!! Iron, protein AND plant based calcium, keep doing what you’re doing – it’s appreciated!

  2. Hi! I wanted to make this porridge for a while now and just did it, I must say, I feel just like you when it comes to amaranth, but the combination was lovely. I used red quinoa and it looked gorgeous! Also, I added some goji berries to add even more red to my dish, simply delicious! Thank you!

  3. This post is just what I need. I was baffled as to what I should do with our 2 bags of amaranth because I’ve always been a little intimidated by the grain myself. And I’m still doing warm breakfast even though the weather has warmed up, so I will definitely be giving this a shot. 🙂

  4. Hey Gina,
    Just wanted to let you know about something I discovered the other day. I’m a single girl as well and eat some sort of grain for breakfast almost every morning. I hate dry cereal and love a warm, creamy bowl of oatmeal, quinoa, etc. despite the time it takes to cook these grains. My favorite is steel cut oats, but to get those really creamy, it takes a good 45 min, which as a student… pshwaw! That never happens during the semester.
    Anyways, I discovered I could make a big batch of steel cut oats or any other creamy grain and freeze them in “pucks” (like they have in the freezer section at the grocery store for much more) by popping big muffin tins(the 6 hole ones) into the freezer. A few hours later, I pop them out and bag them up. I like variety in my food choices and this lets me choose whatever grain I want in the morning without worrying about “using up” the one sitting in the fridge. Hope you try it- takes just a few minutes to defrost while I do my makeup in a warm pot!

  5. I actually have a whole bag from BEFORE vvc, that I hadn’t done anything with yet, so thanks for the inspiration!

  6. I wonder if a similar mix of quinoa and amaranth would be a good base for a veggie burger? With grated carrot and onions and herbs and such?

  7. This looks great for breakfast! Instead of almonds, though, I’d try topping it with roasted pistachios, chopped, dried figs, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Like many others have said above, I have tried popping amaranth. It is good, but I much prefer puffed millet or puffed kamut.

  8. I got a sample pack at a local event too. I think I put it into a soup or bean stew type thing. I haven’t tried mixing it with quinoa. I’d like to try it popped.

  9. Gena, this looks delicious. I love the fact that you can change it up depending on what you top it with.

    I am really wanting to try the porridge recipe. What a filling and nutritious breakfast.

    By topping it with some spices and fruit you can keep it tasty and interesting while still being healthy for you.

    My thought is to make this basic recipe on the weekend and top with something different each morning. I can have a completely different taste each morning without a lot of work.

    Have you tried this? Does it keep well? I’m thinking that is what is going to be for breakfast this week.

  10. Oh, bollocks to the hollocks. I left the amaranth behind (actually, I gave it to Lisa and Nicole) because my suitcase! it was so heavy! it was so full! my own million sample of peanut butter seemed more important! I tried amaranth flakes for porridge once and they were awful and sour! but now, of course, I want it. Hmph.

    (But let’s be honest; even given the choice again, I’d still choose the peanut butter.)

  11. I LOVE popped amaranth thanks to Ashley as Rachel commented. It’s the only way I’ve been able to eat amaranth and enjoy it. I tried making porridge and could barely get it down! Good tip to combine it with other grains, I agree, the texture of amaranth and quinoa would be perfect!

  12. Amaranth-quinoa porridge is my one of my favorite ways to enjoy the teeny tiny grain! The amaranth makes it so hearty and creamy.

    But in the summer (when it’s too hot for me to eat warm breakfasts and I’m not in a smoothie mood) I *love* puffed amaranth cereal! I use this tutorial from Ashley’s Edible Perspective:

    It definitely takes a few tries to master the technique, but it’s really tasty once you get it. Ashley also has a ton of really awesome combinations on her recipe page – I especially like the one mixed with crunchy buckwheat.

  13. i have never had amaranth, but i definitely need to buy some and experiment with it! i actually just posted a quinoa breakfast bowl last week using the same technique of the pre-cooked quinoa. i was astonished how creamy it gets this way, as i’ve made several quinoa breakfast bowl attempts before and was very underwhelmed. next time- quinoa AND amaranth 😉

  14. Not a big grain person, so I don’t have a slew of ideas, but I do love the cornbread recipe in the Voluptuous Vegan cookbook, which calls for the popped Amaranth that Les describes above. I’m sure you could just as easily add to muffins and stuff as to cornbread. I definitely prefer it in baked goods to porridge – can’t abide the “sticky” texture.

    • The first time I made it, Elizabeth, it ended up a giant mound of paste! It was dreadful. I’ll try popping, and I did love how it came out with the fluffy quinoa mixed in.

  15. I make a similar amaranth quinoa porridge but with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and raisins which I found over at Janet’s blog the tastespace, and is delicious.
    I too haven’t got into amaranth on it’s own yet but keep meaning to try the popping thing! If you haven’t tried it yet Ashely at the EdiblePerspective has tutorials and uses for it.

    • I learn so much from Janet — of course it’s no surprise that she should have a great amaranth porridge. Yum 🙂

  16. Pop the amaranth grains in a hot pan about 2 tbsp at a time. I shake the pan over the flame, lid on, till they toast and pop, 30 seconds or so. Takes a bit of time but you may as well do a bunch at once. Then let it cool and eat with nut milk and stevia/dried fruits/nuts/whatever as cereal!!

    • Fantastic, Les! I’ve heard speak of popped amaranth, but it sounded rather daunting. I’ll try it 🙂

      • Puffed amaranth is also great as an added layer to greased tins for baked goods. It bakes right into the muffin, tastes great and helps create a non-stick bottom.
        Also puffed is great as ” sprinkles” for frosted things, but buttered things, oatmeal, salad etc. mixed into date truffle/energy bar things for added crunch and nutrition.
        I always make a big batch and store it in a sealed glass jar. It keeps puffy for ages.

  17. Hi Gena,

    I first coarsely grind 1 cup of Amaranth seeds into a flour. roast this flour in a thickpottomed pan for about five minutes with a wee bit of coconut oil. When it starts getting malty and fragrant, I add two or three cups of water and cook the porridge for about 7 minutes till it starts thickening. Keep stirring while its cooking otherwise it gets lumpy. I sometimes add a cinnamon stick or cardamom while its roasting too. After transferring the porridge to a bowl, I add a splash of coconut milk and some date syrup. Grinding the seeds takes away that somewhat gooey sticky texture, and roasting it brings out all those warm deep malty flavours. ITS IS AMAZING this way I promise. Hope you try it too.

  18. I mix amarantha and millet…1/2 cup of each to 2 cups of water…wonderful!

  19. What a fabulous use of your amaranth! Unfortunately I couldn’t fit mine in my luggage so I handed it off to the desk clerk at the hotel. Hopefully he’ll be able to make good use of it as you have!

    It was so lovely to see you again.

    • if you live alone and make this porridge you did not say how much of the grains you use

      • Hi Edie,

        It says in the recipe: 1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
        1/2 cup dry amaranth

        You can store leftovers and heat them up the next day if you live alone and are worried about having too much!