ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Amaranth: Source of Gluten-Free Flour and a Delicious Vegetable

Updated on June 14, 2022

From Prehistory to Today

Amaranth is a flowering plant that is native to Europe, Africa, Central America, and South America, and has been used as a source of food and dyes for millenia. When the Spanish first arrived in Mexico, they discovered this plant as the Aztecs used it -- the seeds ground, mixed with honey or blood, and eaten in non-Christian ceremonies, that, to the Spanish, resembled Christian communion. The Spanish were horrified and forbade its use, and with that, the knowledge of using this plant might have died out, were it not for a few remote communities in Latin America that continued to use the amaranth as it had always been used. Now amaranth is being raised commercially, and amaranth flour is routinely sold in health food stores. We should be grateful to those remote native communities, because the flour made from this plant is nutritious and safe for those with wheat or gluten allergies.

While it was not much used in antiquity except as a vegetable, the Greeks knew the amaranth; it appeared in Æsop's fables, and was widely known for its long-lasting and beautiful blooms. In Africa, it has been used as a staple food source since antiquity. As a vegetable, it is delicious and has a very high nutritional value, and is easy to grow. The leaves, stems, roots and seeds of the plant are all edible. The grains can be toasted like popcorn for a snack, and the flowers make a brilliant red dye. So this is one of nature's most useful plants!

Amaranth | Source

Growing Amaranth

Amaranth is an easy plant to grow, requires no special care, and each individual flower can produce up to a half a million, or 1 kilogram of seeds, with multiple flowers on a single plant, thus making it an unusually productive source of food. There are three varieties grown for grain: a. caudatus (from South America), a. cruentus(from Central America), and a. hypochondriacus (from Mexico). These weedy plants are highly tolerant of many conditions, grow rapidly, and are easily harvested. Like all of these plants, they need room and sun, but little care until harvesting. Amaranth is also known as pigweed, and indeed, it grows just like a weed in the right climates.

Amaranth is considered as a very valuable plant for the domestic security of food crops, and its growth is encouraged. However, not all species of the plant are equally valuable, so make sure you are getting an edible variety when you buy the seeds. Otherwise, you'll wonder what all the fuss is about!

Using Amaranth

The seeds can be cooked and used as a breakfast cereal much like oatmeal or other hot cereals: simply add 1 part of seeds to three parts of water, and cook until tender. The seeds may also be sprouted and used in salads.

The root is delicious, with a milky taste, and the leaves taste a little like spinach. Cook the root as you would turnip or beets, and use the leaves as you would any leafy greens.

Green Amaranth
Green Amaranth | Source

Making and Using the Flour

Making amaranth flour: Gather and dry the seeds, then grind them (I use a home grinding mill). Store in a dark, cool, place and use within three months.

Using the flour: this flour has no gluten, and therefore must be mixed with gluten or other flours (1 part amaranth to three parts flour with gluten) for recipes that need gluten. By itself, you can use amaranth flour to make pasta, pancakes, pizza crusts, pie crusts, or flatbreads, or use it for battering food or thickening soups, stews, sauces and gravies. Otherwise, mix amaranth flour with vital gluten or another gluten-containing flour, and use as normal. Be careful not to overcook this flour, or it will become gummy.

Amaranth Grain, Cereal, Seeds

Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Grain Amaranth, 24 Oz (4 Pack)
Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Grain Amaranth, 24 Oz (4 Pack)
Whole grains, for cooking, grinding into flour, popping, or for breakfast cereal.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 classicalgeek


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)