Photo: Levi Brown

3 of 4
Sold as seeds, flour, and puffed cereal—all with a nutty, toasted flavor

Origin: Central America

Why It's Healthy:
One cup of cooked amaranth has nearly as much calcium as a cup of low-fat cottage cheese, an impressive 5.2 grams of fiber (many cold cereals have about 1 gram per serving), and more protein than a hard-boiled egg. Unlike most other grains, it contains lysine, an amino acid that the body needs for growth and tissue repair. Amaranth is also gluten-free.

Whip It Up:
Bring 3 cups water or broth and 1 cup seeds to a boil; cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cooked amaranth has an oatmeal-like consistency. Enjoy as a hot cereal, or use it to stuff mushrooms or tomatoes. When baking, replace up to ¼ of the white flour with amaranth flour.

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