[Post #99 for 100 days of Vegan, Gluten-Free, Portable Power Pucks]
Amaranth. Have you made its acquantance?
I am enamored of this super-grain, but have been remiss in posting a new amaranth recipe in a while, despite having two pounds worth stored in the refrigerator. My husband likes to remind me of my extensive cache of grains, nuts and seeds when he gets frostbite foraging through the deep freezer for a pint of ice cream.
So, on amaranth a most remarkable food. It has not received the same level of buzz as its cousin, quinoa, but it boasts many of the same super-benefits.
Tiny and tan, amaranth was a staple of the pre-Columbian Aztecs (much like quinoa was for the Incas). The Aztecs believed that, in addition to providing general sustenance, eating amaranth could increase both energy and strength. The latest scientific research on amaranth indicates that they were spot-on: amaranth seeds are 13 to 15 percent protein, among the highest for any grain, and are also high in fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins A and C.
Most importantly, it is delicious and versatile. It makes a cozy porridge, similar in texture to cream of wheat (but gluten-free) and can be popped into the world’s tiniest popcorn (great for sprinkling onto salads and incorporating into rice-crispy-like bars and treats).
But I came up with something new for today’s post: a sweet and nutty breakfast bar/cookie that packs equal measures of great taste and protein to jumpstart the morning.
The recipe begins by cooking the creamy porridge I alluded to a moment ago. It only takes 20 minutes of hands-free time to cook:
Once the porridge is cooked, simply stir in the remaining ingredients, including oats (ground into a flour), plant-based vanilla protein powder (typically sweetened with stevia and/or monkfruit), coconut oil, dried fruit and chia seeds. Once baked, these bars have moist, chewy interiors coupled with crispy edges. This is what makes baking at home so worth the while.
This makes a batch of nine, but you may want to double the recipe if your household is 2 or more. I have already made a second batch. I have a marathon this Sunday in Fort Worth, TX (The Cowtown!) so I am (happily) carb loading. I’ll let you know if these provide me with some bonus Aztec endurance!
I’ll post the last puck recipe (100!) after the marathon! I am already thinking that it needs to be chocolate :).
Happy baking, eating, and moving, everyone!
- ⅓ cup (uncooked) amaranth
- 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup rolled oats (certified GF, as needed), divided use
- ¼ cup vanilla plant-based (vegan) protein powder
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- ⅓ cup packed dried fruit, chopped
- 1-1/2 tablespoons chia seed, divided use
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or spray 9 cups of a standard muffin tin.
- In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the amaranth, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes (stir once) until thickened and water is absorbed (it will be thick and porridge-like). Scrape into a medium bowl and stir in the coconut oil and salt until blended. Let cool slightly (or entirely).
- In a food processor, process ¾ of the oats into a flour. Add the oat flour, remaining ¼ cup oats, protein powder, coconut sugar, dried fruit and 1 tablespoon of the chia, stirring until well blended (mixture will be thick). Divide equally between prepared cups, flattening and smoothing the tops. Sprinkle with the remaining chia seeds.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 26 minutes until golden brown at the edges and tops of bars feel dry. Transfer tin to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes; remove from tin and cool completely.