Amaranth leaves are a nutrition powerhouse. The nutritional profile of some varieties of amaranth greens is equal to or even superior to Kale.
Amaranth is one of the oldest known food crops in the world. It has been recorded to be in cultivation since 6700 B.C. There are nearly 60 species of amaranth. It is grown for its super nutritious greens, grains, as well as for ornamental purpose.
Amaranth grains can be ground into flour, popped like corns, or even flaked like oatmeal. As a perfect gluten-free substitute, amaranth grain can easily replace wheat for those suffering from allergies.
Amaranth leaves are known as Chaulai ka saag in Hindi. It is quite easily available in the Indian subcontinent, Mediterranean region, and in South America.
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Nutrition Profile of Amaranth Leaves
- Amaranth leaves have high mineral content. Some of the important minerals present in the greens are Iron, Manganese, Copper, and Calcium.
- High fiber content of Amaranth leaves aids in digestion and promotes weight loss, in fact, they form part of the essential Ayurvedic dietary regime during digestive health issues.
- They are also able to control cholesterol levels and also help in controlling hypertension.
- Apart from being a top-rated iron-rich food, they are also a great food option for Diabetics.
Health Benefits of Amaranth
Regular consumption of amaranth greens leads to the balancing of electrolytes in the body and boosts up mineral levels naturally.
- Promotes Bone Strength
Amaranth leaves contain a wide range of minerals, including calcium. This makes amaranth a superfood that can help to strengthen the bones.
Regular consumption of Amaranth can also help to prevent osteoporosis.
2. Digestive System Health
The high fiber content in amaranth results in smooth digestion of food and facilitates efficient absorption of minerals. Amaranth being gluten-free is an alternative to a grain source and can also prevent Celiac’s disease.
3. Heart Health
Amaranth contains essential oils and phytosterols. It helps to lower down cholesterol levels, including LDL.
The bioactive compounds, fiber, and vitamins present in amaranth greens also help to regulate blood pressure. This makes it an excellent heart-healthy food alternative.
4. Vision Health
The carotenoids and vitamin A found in amaranth leaves are a major boost for eye health. These essential nutrients prevent aging related degeneration of the eyes.
Regular intake of amaranth greens also prevents the development of cataracts.
5. Weight Loss
The proteins, minerals, and fiber contribute to nutritional sufficiency. It promotes satiation and reduces food cravings.
It also provides with ample of fibre that promotes metabolism and supports weight loss.
An amino acid, lysine that our body cannot naturally produce is present in abundance in Amaranth.
This increases calcium uptake efficiency and helps prevent baldness and hair loss.
Recipes with Amaranth Leaves
Amaranth grain can be consumed by grinding them to flour and then turning around into several recipes. The seeds can also be popped and turned into sweet and savory treats. The grains can also be sprouted and used into salads.
Amaranth leaves are an excellent way to introduce the nutrient dense green leafy vegetables to your meals. Check here for recipes.
1. Red Amaranth Leaves and Lentils Soup
This is a one pot recipe. It contains all essential nutrients for a meal. This recipe of amaranth greens and lentils goes well with rice and chapati. You can have it for any meal.
It is recommended for diabetes patients, children, pregnant women, PCOS patients, and those looking to lose weight while eating healthy.
Purple Amaranth and Lentils Soup – Iron Rich Foods
- Pressure Cooker – Can also be replaced with rice cooker
- 1 cup Raw and Uncooked split Lentils
- 200 g Fresh Amaranth Leaves Replace with other varieties of Amaranth
- 2½ cups Water
- 1 Medium Onion optional
- 1 Medium Tomato
- 2 Cloves Garlic optional
- 1 inch Fresh ginger root
- 1½ tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1½ tsp Coriander Seeds Powder
- 2 tbsp Ghee Or Pure Cooking Oil of your choice
- 1 pinch Asafetida or Hing
- 1½ tsp Rock Salt to taste
- 1½ tsp Black Pepper To sprinkle on the top
- Wash the lentils properly and soak in the water
- Clean and sort out the Amaranth Leaves. Wash them well and chop them fine. Keep aside.
- Finely chop onion and tomato.
- Peel the ginger and garlic. Pound them together using a mortar and pestle.
- Heat the base of the pressure cooker.
- Once the cooker is a little hot, then add ghee, Asafoetida, and cumin seeds.
- Add garlic, onion, and ginger when the seeds start to crackle. Stir till the mix till it turns golden.
- Add turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, salt, and pepper.
- Keep the heat low. Add chopped tomato, mix well till it turns mushy.
- Add chopped amaranth leaves, water, and lentils.
- Close the pressure cooker and let the mix get cooked wither with one whistle, or within 15 mins when the heat is kept at low.
- Sprinkle black pepper on the top. Your soup is ready to be served.
- Enjoy with hot rice, bread, or just like that!!
- For split mung beans, process is same as split lentils.
- For whole mung beans, here’s the process:
- Soak the Mung beans in water for 3-4 hours and then cook or pressure cook till soft.
- If you do not have time to soak, then just put them in a pressure cooker or rice cooker and boil till soft.
- Normally, it should take 30-40 mins for boiling till soft without soaking and pressure cooking.
2. Amaranth Leaves Stir Fry with Coconut and Potato + Ragi (Finger Millet) Dosa Recipe
This is a super simple, delicious and quick recipe made with Amaranth greens. Potato and coconut together mask slightly bitter taste of the amaranth leaves. It makes for a creamy and mushy stir-fry.
Full picture shows a meal option of the vegetable with Ragi or Finger Millet Dosa. This makes a great filling and nutrition rich breakfast option for a weekend. It is suitable for Diabetics, children, new mothers, pregnant, cancer patients, and those suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
Amaranth Leaves and Coconut Fry with Ragi Dosa (Finger Millet Flour Pancake)
- Heavy Bottom Pan
- Broad and Shallow Pan or Tawa to make pancake
- Ladle to make pancake
- Sharp Spatula for the pancake
For Amaranth Potato Stir-Fry
- 300 g Fresh Amaranth Leaves Red or Green
- 400 g Potato
- 1 Medium Onion
- 1 inch Fresh ginger root optional
- 1 pinch Asafetida or Hing
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- ½ cup Fresh grated coconut
- 2 tsp Rock Salt To taste
- 1½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1½ tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1 Green Chili optional (break into 2 pieces horizontally with hand)
- 2 tbsp Mustard Oil This can be replaced by Ghee or Peanut oil.
For Ragi Dosa
- 1 cup Sprouted Ragi Flour About 150g
- ¼ cup Jowar (Sorghum Flour) Replace it with wheat flour or bengal gram flour or rice flour
- 2-3 sprigs Fresh curry leaves Finely chopped
- 1½ inch Fresh Ginger Root Pound or grated or replace with dry ginger powder (1 tsp)
- 1½ tsp Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Roasted Cumin Seeds powder
- ¼ cup Curd
- 1½ cups Water Make sure that the mix is consistent and flowly. Change amount of water to your requirement.
- 3 tbsp Ghee or Coconut Oil To make the Dosa
Preparing the Vegetables
- Wash and boil the potato in a pressure cooker or in a pan. You may need 1-2 whistles in pressure cooker and about 20-30 mins of boiling in a pan.
- After it is boiled. Peel it and cut it into small pieces or simply mash it.
- Wash and Finely chop the Amaranth leaves. Keep aside.
- Finely chop onion and pound/chop the ginger and garlic. Keep aside.
- Heat oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add in asafetida and mustard seeds.
- Let the seeds crackle. Now add chopped onion, ginger, garlic, and chili.
- Mix well and let it cook till the mix turns golden brown.
- Now add turmeric powder and salt. Mix for few seconds.
- Add in chopped amaranth leaves and coconut. mix well and cover. Let it cook on low heat till the leaves start to wilt down. (about 5-7 mins)
- Now add peeled and cut potato. Mix well and cover. Let it cook for 2-3 mins till the masala coats well onto the potato. Close the heat.
- Serve with Chapati or steamed rice. Enjoy!
Making Ragi Dosa (Finger Millet Flour Pancake) Batter
- Take ragi flour and joar flour in a mixing bowl.
- Add in rest of the dry ingredients and spices. Mix well.
- Now add curd and water. Mix well to make a runny and consistent batter.
- Cover it up and keep aside. Let the mix sit for 15-20 mins.
Making the Dosa
- Heat a pan on medium flame. Spread some ghee on the pan.
- Before pouring the batter on the pan, make sure that you mix it very well. This is to avoid the inconsistent mix that results from the flour settling on the bottom of the pan.
- On the medium hot pan, pour the batter from outside to inside. Then you can gently spread the batter with the ladle.
- Let the base cook and become crisp. Sprinkle some ghee on top. Sprinkle a few drops of ghee on the sides of the dosa as well.
- When the base is golden and crisp, turn over and cook the other side (for few seconds). You may or may not need to cook the other side, depending on the thickness of your batter.
- Serve the Dosa with the pumpkin veggie. Enjoy!
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Limits on Consumption
Amaranth leaves contain moderate levels of oxalates. For that reason, if you are suffering from kidney stones, the you should limit amaranth greens in your weekly meals to once.
Also, one should limit the consumption to once a week in cases of blood thinning disorders.
This is because, excess consumption of Amaranth may make the health problem and pain worse.
Always make sure that you are taking Amaranth greens in properly cooked form and not raw form. Cooking also reduces the amount of oxalate in the leaves.