Billed as an "ancient grain," amaranth is actually a tiny seed indigenous to the Americas. So for those locavores living in North, Central or South America, amaranth fits the bill. A gluten-free source of protein, amaranth is a very interesting alternative to rice or quinoa.
I didn't know what to expect, as I'd never tried it before, so I prepared amaranth for the first time simply -- boiled only in water. I wanted to see what it really tastes like. Unlike quinoa, which I think benefits from cooking in broth with a little tomato paste or some other flavorful liquid, amaranth has a very satisfying, mild flavor on its own, in my opinion. I was surprised at the texture of the amaranth. When I read in the cooking directions that the seeds would "bind together," I was thinking in terms of the texture of polenta. Actually amaranth has a more gooey, gelatinous texture. It reminded me of the texture of chia seeds. My description may not be selling you on this nutritional powerhouse, as texture can make or break a food affinity, and our tastes are all so personal. For me, I really loved this texture and flavor. It was very much comfort food and I craved it with everything from this delicious broccoli rabe (yum!) to a frozen organic vegan burrito. I was sorry to see the bottom of the pot.
If my description of amaranth hasn't turned you off, give it a try!