Since the 1970’s, this non-cereal plant has received a lot of attention. The reasons are many: Amaranth grain is packed with amino acids, giving it a uniquely whole protein content. It’s remarkably flexible - the tiny seeds can be cooked, roasted, popped, flaked, or ground into flour. Moreover, some varieties of amaranth leaves are digestible and tasty when cooked, unlike the greenery of many other grains. And there’s decorative value. Late in the summer some types of Amaranth top out at six feet and are capped with brilliant red, yellow, and orange fronds.

Plus, Amaranth has international cachet - and sympathetic history.


This generic sourdough starter recipe works with any grain flour, except oats. Use it to make an active, rich-tasting starter that can be incorporated into any sourdough bread recipe, gluten-free or glutenous.

Instructions include "Putting the starter to sleep", "Feeding" the starter, and "Waking up" the starter.

Yield: About 1 quart ready-to-use sourdough starter.

Time to make: 10 minutes per day for 10 days

Tools needed: 1 Qt or larger glass, plastic or stainless steel container with lid. Measuring spoons and cups. Stirring spoon. Zip-lock bag.

Amaranth pancakes are easy to make and a great way to use up over-ripe bananas. You can achieve many subtle flavor variations with your choice of wet ingredients and oils. For example, buttermilk makes a light, fluffy cake; regular milk tightens the crumb. Doubling the number of eggs lightens the cakes. Using Coconut oil gives your pancakes a lush tropical taste, and using canola oil reduces the taste bigness, making a more suitable breakfast for finicky eaters.

Nothing beats a small but delicious treat that can be baked in either a cake pan or a cast iron skillet. These rolls use the same method that gives Japanese Milk bread a soft, moist crumb; tangzhong, or "water roux".

Yield: 12, one-ounce round dinner rolls
Time to make: 30 minutes active. 90 minutes for dough to rise. 55 minutes oven dwell.

An enticing blend of New World and Old World flavors: sharply vegetable-tasting amaranth flour and hay-scented gruyére. Amazingly these two, when combined in a baked good, play together very nicely. This is one big-flavored biscuit.

Yield: 18 one-ounce biscuits

Time to make: Under 30 minutes. 24 minute oven dwell

Tools needed: Sharp knife. Cutting board. Medium bowl. Small bowl. Large zip-lock bag. Rolling pin. Biscuit cutter. Bench knife or plastic bowl scraper.

The success of this cake depends upon tart, big-flavored apples, so it's important to get the right ones. Northern Spy is the top choice, followed by Lodi, a summer apple. Alternatively, go with a sour "cooking" apple or a blend of several flavors. You can even use apple sauce, if it's a brand with restrained sugar. You want the flavor punch to be within your control and sugar is one of the keys.

Ingredient quantities are for a 5-inch circular cake. Multiply every quantity by 2 1/2 if you're making an 8-inch circular. 

Yield: One, 5-inch circular cake.

For Dessert or Breakfast, This Crostata Rules! 

This treat emerged from the oven late in the day, so I put off photographing until the morning - sadly, because I wanted a bite before bed. Not only did the crostata look as good in dawn light, it was a remarkable breakfast! (Which is why there's no photos of the whole thing.)

The crostata stales incredibly slowly, remaining tasty for several days. It's also solid, fragile to the tooth but easily transportable to a morning meeting or lunch-at-the-desk. Make it and enjoy.

The rich, traditional taste of brioche is greatly enhanced with boiling before baking, a technique usually reserved for bagels. An amaranth tangzhong softens the dough while adding a significant flavor punch. Sweet or savory toppings make for luscious desserts or fulfilling brunch.

Return to savory in a small but delicious treat. These rolls use the same method that gives Japanese Milk bread a soft, moist crumb.

This recipe demonstrates the versatility of a "Pancake Mix" - which is fundamentally the same ingredients also used for quick breads - while also creating a fast and tasty treat. You can modify the recipe easily, doubling it for a large family, subbing coconut oil for butter, using nut or grain "milk", or varying the types of apples - all for different taste or dietary preferences.


For any pie to be successful, the first prerequisite is an excellent crust. To me, this means two things: buttery-rich and flaky. This method provides both .

Regardless of flour blend or filling, the innovative pie dough technique described below will produce a puffy, delectable crust. Smearing the fat (ALWAYS butter!) into dry dough, then gently spritzing water onto the dough/butter mixture, are the essential steps. Keeping track of water use with a kitchen scale guarantees precision and repeatability.