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Amarnath Greens… The New Kale?

Amaranth Greens: A Nutrient-Rich Superfood

Amaranth greens are getting a lot of attention for their incredible nutritional and culinary value. Often referred to as a "superfood", these vibrant leaves are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants.

Amaranth greens, also known as Amaranthus belong to the Amaranthaceae plant family, which contains some 174 genera and around 2,500 species distributed worldwide. (1) Some are cultivated for their grain, and leafy greens, and others just growing wild.

Amaranth greens are available in a wide range of varieties, each offering unique flavors and textures. These are some of the ones we're currently growing at SoulFire Farm:  

  • Amaranth tricolor: Also known as Chinese spinach, this variety features bright red and green leaves with a slightly tangy taste.

  • Red Amaranth: Boasts deep red stems and leaves, coupled with an earthy, slightly peppery flavor.

  • Green Amaranth: Known as slender amaranth, this type showcases thin, tender leaves and a delicate, nutty flavor.

  • Pink Stemmed Amaranth: known for its striking pink stems used for its colorful edible leaves, which have a mild, slightly earthy flavor.

Hopi Red Amaranth
Pink Stem Amaranth
Tricolor Amaranth
Green Leaf Amaranth

Why are Amaranth Greens considered nutrition powerhouses?

Vitamins: Amaranth greens are an excellent source of vitamins, including A, C, and K. 

Minerals: Amaranth greens contain vital minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, copper, and magnesium, promoting overall health.

Rich in antioxidants: Both green and red amaranth leaves are rich sources of antioxidants.

Fiber: Amaranth greens are high in fiber and can help support healthy digestion.

Protein: Amaranth greens are a decent source of protein containing 3 grams for every cup of boiled amaranth.

Amaranth Green's Amazing Nutritional profile

Amaranth is rich in protein when compared to other leafy greens. It contains 3 grams of protein per cup when cooked.

Amaranth greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, providing more than twice the Daily Value (DV) in a single raw cup.

They’re also high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate, as well as minerals like manganese, copper, potassium, and magnesium.

Eating your amaranth greens with fat, like olive oil, will help your body absorb more of the vitamins A and K since those vitamins are fat soluble.

Both green and red amaranth leaves are rich sources of antioxidants. The main antioxidants found in amaranth greens include carotenoids, betalains, betacyanins, betaxanthins, and chlorophyll (2).

Red and pink amaranth are higher in antioxidants that give the leaves and stems their bright color, especially betalain, betaxanthin, and betacyanin (3).

Amaranth greens have more than twice the amount of antioxidants than spinach and even more polyphenols (4).

* Nutritional Value based on 1 cup (132 grams) of boiled or steamed amaranth greens.

HIGH IN ANTIOXIDANTS
319 mg (266% DV) - VITAMIN K
54 mg (60% DV) - VITAMIN C
183 mcg (20% DV) VITAMIN A
0.2 mg (12% DV) VITAMIN B6
12%
1.1 mg (48% DV) - MANGANESE
276 mg (21% DV) - CALCIUM
0.2 mg (22% DV) - COPPER
75 mcg (19% DV) - FOLATE
77 mg (18% DV) - MAGNESIUM
846 mg (18% DV) - POTASSIUM
3 mg (17% DV) - IRON

Is Amaranth the New Kale?

In our opinion, when choosing between amaranth greens and kale, both nutrition and culinary aspects favor amaranth. Its protein content, diverse vitamin and mineral profile, and delightful taste and texture make it our preferred choice for a healthy and enjoyable culinary experience.

Whether you're an experienced chef or new to the kitchen, amaranth will elevate your meals with flavor, color, and nutrition.

Amaranth Greens in the Kitchen

Amaranth greens are perfect for salads, adding both color and nutrition. Their tender leaves and slightly peppery taste make them a great addition to your salads.

You can also cook amaranth greens in various ways to suit your taste. Try a simple sautéed amaranth greens recipe by heating some olive oil in a pan, adding minced garlic, and cooking the greens until they wilt, then seasoning with salt and pepper.

Additionally, you can incorporate amaranth greens into your soups and stews for added flavor and nutrition. Beyond that, these greens can be blended into green smoothies or used in omelets, quiches, and empanadas to boost their nutrition and flavor.

Amaranth Greens in Cultural Cuisines

Amaranth greens have a rich history and have played a significant role in culinary traditions worldwide.

  • In Indian cuisine, known as "chaulai," amaranth greens find their place in traditional curries and lentil dishes, adding both flavor and nutrition. 

  • Across Africa, where they go by names such as "Inyabutatu," amaranth greens have been part of African diets for centuries, appreciated for their versatility in dishes like "Palava Sauce" and "Morogo." 

  • In Latin America, known as "Quelites" and "Bledo," they hold cultural significance, featuring in traditional preparations such as tamales, stews, and sautés. 

  • In Jamaica, amaranth greens are commonly referred to as "callaloo" or "callaloo greens are a key ingredient in the beloved "Callaloo" dish, a flavorful and hearty mixture of amaranth greens, okra, coconut milk, and spices, often served with rice and peas or bammy.

  • In Trinidad and Tobago, amaranth greens, known as "bhagi," are sautéed with garlic, onion, and spices, creating a flavorful side dish or filling for sandwiches and rotis.

  • Even in Europe, amaranth greens have found their way into modern cuisine, with chefs and home cooks experimenting with it in salads, quiches, and side dishes, recognizing their nutritional benefits. 

From Asia to Africa, Europe to the Americas, amaranth greens have woven themselves into the global cuisine.

Here are a few simple recipes you can make using Amaranth Greens.

Amaranth Green & Mango Salad

Instructions:

  1. Clean and chop the amaranth greens, removing tough stems.

  2. Combine amaranth greens, diced mango, and chopped onion in a large bowl.

  3. Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl.

  4. Drizzle dressing over salad, and toss to combine.

  5. Garnish with roasted cashews before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh amaranth greens

  • 1 ripe mango, diced

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

  • 1/4 cup roasted cashews

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Amaranth & Tomato Soup

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a pot, sauté onion and garlic until fragrant.

  2. Add diced tomatoes, and cook for 5 minutes until soft.

  3. Pour in vegetable broth, and bring to a boil.

  4. Reduce heat, add amaranth greens, and dried thyme, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until greens are tender.

  5. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh amaranth greens, chopped

  • 3 ripe tomatoes, diced

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 4 cups vegetable broth

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Amaranth & Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

  2. Combine cooked amaranth, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Cut a pocket in each chicken breast, and stuff with amaranth mixture.

  4. Sear stuffed chicken in olive oil until golden brown on both sides.

  5. Transfer skillet to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

  6. Serve hot.

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1 cup cooked amaranth

  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

  • 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Olive oil for cooking

Jamaican Callaloo

Instructions:

  1. Clean and chop the amaranth greens, removing tough stems.

  2. In a large pot, heat the cooking oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until they become translucent.

  3. Stir in the minced garlic and habanero peppers. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant.

  4. If using shrimp, ensure it has been previously cleaned. Then, add it to the pot and Sauté for a few minutes to combine the flavors.

  5. Add the sliced okra and thyme leaves to the pot. Cook for a few more minutes, allowing the okra to soften.

  6. Pour in the coconut milk and water (or broth). Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the okra is tender.

  7. Now, add the chopped callaloo leaves (or spinach) to the pot. Stir well and let them wilt down into the mixture. This should take about 5-7 minutes.

  8. Add the chopped tomato to the pot and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the spice level by adding more habanero peppers if needed.

  10. Serve your Callaloo hot alongside rice and beans, fried plantains, or your favorite side dishes. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh callaloo leaves

  • 1/2 pound okra, sliced

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2-3 habanero peppers, seeded and chopped (adjust for desired spice level)

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil (coconut oil is preferred)

  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves (dried or fresh)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 cups water or broth

  • 1/2 pound shrimp (optional)

  • 1 tomato, chopped

FAQs about Amaranth Greens

Yes, you can substitute amaranth greens for spinach in most recipes. They have a slightly different flavor profile but work well in salads, sautés, and other dishes where you'd typically use spinach.

Yes, you can eat amaranth greens raw in salads or as a garnish. Their tender leaves and peppery flavor can add a unique twist to your raw dishes.

While amaranth greens are generally safe for most people, those with known allergies to plants in the Amaranthaceae family should exercise caution. If you have dietary restrictions or allergies, consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist before adding amaranth greens to your diet. 

Amaranth Greens, like many leafy vegetables, contain oxalates. Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds found in a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. They are known for their role in the formation of kidney stones in susceptible individuals. Here are some key points about oxalate content in amaranth greens:

  1. Oxalate Levels: Amaranth greens contain moderate levels of oxalates. While they are not among the highest oxalate-containing foods, they are not low in oxalates either.

  2. Health Considerations: For most people, consuming amaranth greens as part of a balanced diet is not a concern. However, individuals who are prone to kidney stones or have a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones may need to be cautious about their oxalate intake.

  3. Cooking Methods: Boiling or steaming amaranth greens can help reduce their oxalate content. Discarding the cooking water can further reduce oxalate levels.

  4. Balanced Diet: The key to reducing the risk of kidney stones is to maintain a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods. If you have concerns about oxalate intake or a history of kidney stones, it's a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian for personalized guidance.

  5. Calcium Counterbalance: Consuming foods rich in calcium alongside oxalate-containing foods can help bind to oxalates in the digestive tract, reducing their absorption. So, including sources of calcium in your diet, such as dairy products or calcium-fortified foods, can be beneficial.

In summary, while amaranth greens do contain oxalates, they are a nutritious and versatile leafy vegetable that can be part of a healthy diet for most individuals. If you have specific concerns about oxalate intake, it's advisable to seek guidance from a healthcare professional or dietitian.

To keep amaranth greens fresh, keep them in a plastic bag or sealed container. Store it in the vegetable drawer of your fridge. This way, amaranth greens can stay fresh for about a week.

If you live in the Bocas Del Toro area, there are a few ways to get Amaranth Greens from SoulFire Farm.

  • If you are an existing CSA customer, Congrats and thank you! Just visit the shop and add your Amaranth Greens to your next order!

  • Join Our CSA to become a regular customer. Visit this page and click the Join CSA button.

  • If you would like to buy Amaranth Greens for your restaurant or hotel in larger quantities please reach out to us. Our email is [email protected] or via WhatsApp at +507 6701 3856

  • Find our greens at Local Retailers: Currently at The Super Gourmet and Empanadas Mariela on Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro.

Get Your Amaranth Greens Today 
At SoulFire Farm

We currently have Green and Pink Stem
 Amaranth, and soon to be available Red and Tricolor.

If you have a restaurant or hotel and would like to purchase
Amaranth Greens in larger quantities please reach out to us.

Amaranth is looking good
@SoulFire Farm

Enjoy this small gallery of photos from our farm
 showcasing our amaranth greens and plants, enjoy.

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    Join the Wait List!

    Welcome to our farm shop! 🥳

    We're thrilled to offer our community the opportunity to enjoy our organic greens, fruits, vegetables, and other farm products delivered straight to your dock.

    Our farm's production areas, species selection, and crop rotations will be based on the demand we receive, therefore, we're only accepting a handful of customers at a time. So, jump on our waitlist now to be one of the lucky ones to sample our fresh, organic, zero-mile, and downright delicious produce.

    We will be adding new customers on a first come basis, prioritizing proximity to our farm (aka: our closest neighbors first 😀). Don't miss out on this chance to support your local farm and enjoy the tastiest and most nutritious organic produce around, and be part of our growing farm family.

    Join the waitlist now and we'll let you know when you are first in line.

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