fat free opinions on a food centric life

Tag: vegetarian

Roasted Beet Salad with Arugula, Sorrel, and Hazelnuts

Roasted Beet Salad with Arugula, Sorrel, and Hazelnuts

I like to think I’ve always enjoyed vegetables — especially those others would prefer didn’t exist, let alone show up on their dinner plates.  The what are those, how does one prepare them, cook, or eat them vegetables.  But my perspective was limited early on […]

Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie

Oh, the over indulgences of the weekend.  New recipes tried and sampled a bit too much.  Football season in full gear, so lounging more than we normally might, our comfies donned, windows snapped shut against chilly and unexpectedly damp breezes.  Projects stalled while we stay […]

Spicy Red Amaranth Stir-Fry

Spicy Red Amaranth Stir-Fry

I don’t go to our farmer’s markets as much as I’d like, but when I do, I always seem to find something new to try.  I enjoy dark, green leafy veggies quite a bit, so I’m not a hard sell.  One vendor recently  noticed me admiring the beautiful magenta color at the center of the larger deep, green leaves lightly filling a bag.  “It’s red amaranth,” the young man told me, reaching for the bag I was focused on.  “Here, taste it.” And so I did.

Although somewhat like spinach in flavor, amaranth, or what some refer to as Chinese spinach, is more sturdy between my teeth as I chew on it, its flavor somewhat like fresh grass smells like if that makes any sense at all.  It’s not sweet, but not pungent, either, and leaves a pleasant, unbitter taste in my mouth.

But I thought amaranth was a grain — isn’t it?  And don’t I remember seeing annuals at the nursery with colorful plumes which also somehow reminded me of the tasty greens I was chewing on?

Evidently yes to all above — sort of.  It isn’t a true grain, but is referred to as a pseudo-grain.  Some varieties are cultivated for the leafy green vegetable, some for seeds to be used much like rice or corn are used. And although I did know that buckwheat and quinoa were very high plant protein sources, amaranth seeds are as well.  And, they lack gluten, so that makes them quite beneficial to those who are gluten intolerant.

Historically, amaranth was a staple of ancient Mesoamericans and has been enjoyed in Asia for centuries.  Why and how did our culture adapt to eating iceberg lettuce instead?  Evidently, amaranth became associated with religious rituals involving human sacrifice, so it was banned by the invading Spaniards who then came to North America.

So that explains how we ended up with ice berg lettuce.

This recipe spices things up a bit, perfect for lunch by itself or a dinner side.  Use spinach if you can’t find red amaranth.  Your body will thank you.

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Crusty Spinach Feta and Sun-dried Tomato Bread Rolls

Crusty Spinach Feta and Sun-dried Tomato Bread Rolls

Sometimes I’d love to skip dinner. It’s beautiful in the evening just before the sun has set and I want to be on the patio enjoying the cool, dry air, watching the light against the the trees and houses change as the sun disappears into […]

Vegetable Bean Soup

Vegetable Bean Soup

I’m not sure how many years ago we started the tradition of taking a long weekend trip late in January, but it’s one of my favorites.  I think it all began when I figured out that the holiday presents other than clothing my husband received […]