Amaranth Grain Salad
25 Min

Amaranth Grain Salad

This summer, I decided to start a small vegetable and flower garden in my backyard. I planted tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and fennel, most of which, despite a summer of almost no rain, grew into healthy plants. I hovered over them like a new parent, moving them around to get the right amount of sun or shade. Some, like delicate herbs did not survive the harsh heat but the star of the garden turned out to be two innocuous looking amaranth plants a farmer at the weekend market persuaded me to buy. The drought resistant amaranth grains have been cultivated for millennia by the Aztec and certain parts of Asia and I have often bought the red tinged amaranth greens at Indian or Asian markets. The little plants blossomed quickly into tall gangly stalks, spread their seeds and I now have a mini amaranth farm in my backyard, bursting with bright green leaves, just waiting to be picked. Knowing the power of eating greens, daily, I look for ways to add it to my meals from stirring it into a curry, dal, salad, or a pilaf. 

So, here is an amaranth pilaf made with another interesting high fiber grain, millet. Millet is very commonly eaten in India, whole in pilafs and stews or ground into rotis. A few weeks ago, I discovered a special variety called ‘Kodri’, very popular in Gujarat, the state in India where I grew up. It cooks fast, is easy to digest, high in protein and rich in phytochemicals. The Indians believe it helps control blood sugar and other related conditions. But the real reason to eat it is that it is so delicious, it may be good enough to replace white rice! 

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Cook Time

25 Minutes



Step 1
In a medium sized stockpot, combine the kodri millet with 3 cups of water, salt, black pepper, and rosemary. Over high heat, bring it to a boil, cover, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. If you are using another grain like quinoa that requires longer to cook, you may need to add more water and increase the cooking time accordingly. When all the water has been absorbed, turn the heat off and let it rest.
Step 2
In a small frying pan over high heat, warm the olive oil and pop the mustard seeds. Immediately, add the kari leaves, onion, and bell pepper. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the peppers have wilted, turning the heat lower if needed, then transfer to a large bowl.
Step 3
Add the amaranth greens and the warm cooked millet on top. Stir gently, adding in the ginger, currants, pumpkin seeds, salt, and lemon juice. This will wilt the greens but not cook them entirely. Taste test for balance. Serve warm or at room temperature.

1 cup kodri millet or a grain of your choice

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon minced rosemary

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

10-12 chopped kari leaves

1 cup red onion, minced

1 tablespoon minced unpeeled ginger

1 large red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, minced.

1 whole serrano pepper, minced

1/4 cup currants or raisins

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

1 teaspoon sea salt

Juice from 2 lemons

4 cups chopped amaranth or other greens

Notes & Variations

  • Kodri millet also goes by the name Kodo millet and can be purchased at Indian grocers or online. Make sure you are buying the hulled millet since it cooks a lot faster.
  • If using a heartier green like kale, you may need to sauté it briefly before adding it to the millet.
  • Kari leaves are not essential to this recipe, feel free to leave out or replace with finely minced lemongrass or the zest of a lemon.

25 Min

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