Let's face it, eating the same thing every morning gets old. I had a three year oatmeal binge in college, eating it every day (sometimes twice a day), so honestly it just doesn't excite me that much anymore. Don't get me wrong, oats are fantastic - they're super easy to make, really nourishing, versatile, and extremely cost-effective (hence college oatmeal phase) - but there's actually some science behind why we should be switching things up at meal time.
Every food, even those that seem similar, has it's own unique nutritional profile, offering us it's specific combination and set of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients. Well-rounded and balanced health comes from eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods, not just the same things every day. Over time, sticking to the same foods can potentially lead to deficiencies in certain nutrients, and some of us can even develop aversions or allergies to foods we've been consistently exposed to for too long. I say this not to freak you out, but to inspire you to step outside your comfort zone and try something new.
In lieu of oatmeal, I've been switching things up using different grains to make breakfast bowls. Today I'm sharing a recipe for my current porridge of choice - a warming and fruity Amaranth Breakfast Bowl. Chances are, many of you have yet to try (or maybe even hear of) amaranth.
Amaranth is a tiny gluten-free grain that packs in huge nutritional value. It's higher in many minerals - including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, and manganese - than most vegetables, and it boasts a higher protein content than both brown rice and oats. Amaranth is also high in healthy unsaturated fats, and is the only grain containing vitamin C. It's pretty much an all-around rockstar food, and I'm hereby nominating it for 'trendy superfood of the year'.
Amaranth is often used as a replacement for rice or quinoa in savory dishes, but recently I've been gravitating towards it at breakfast time. I'm one of those people that wakes up starving, especially in these cooler months, so it's been my go-to first thing in the morning. Amaranth is a pretty dense grain, making it the perfect breakfast for when you're craving something warming and hearty. Whole grains like amaranth are rich in complex carbohydrates, making them ideal for balancing blood sugar and energy levels.
To prepare, you simply cook the amaranth stove top as you would any other grain. I prefer to cook my porridge with a bit of coconut oil for creaminess and some extra fat, and I've been finishing it off with nut or seed mylk (my current fav here), a mix of warming fall spices, and a touch of honey. So good. The spice mix I'm currently obsessing over is hawaj, a blend of ground ginger, cinnamon, clove, and cardamom that is native to the Western Asian country Yeman. This slightly sweet blend of herbs warms the body, boosts the metabolism, and increases our immunity - all so key during the fall and minter months.
In terms of toppings, you know I'm always one to support creativity. Today, I opted for a sweet-tart version using kumquats (aka nature's sour patch kids), fresh pomegranate, and sweet fall apples, but amaranth porridge can easily and deliciously be made either sweet or savory.
AMARANTH MORNING BOWL
Yields 1 serving