Red Amaranth can grow tall but requires little maintenance. However, it is recommended to check the roots on a monthly basis. Trim any roots that are brown or extend past the yPod. Red Amaranth likes good air circulation, so make sure to give it breathing room and harvest frequently. Its young leaves can be eaten raw while the older, more mature leaves can be cooked similar to spinach. The plant will produce lovely flowers that contain grain. These grains are ready to harvest once the flowers have turned brown.
While originally a native to Central and South America, Red Amaranth is most often seen in Central Asian cuisine where it can be referred to as “Chinese Spinach”.
Amaranth leaves have been hailed as the (more tender) superfood successor to kale.
Red Amaranth in particular is a powerhouse of antioxidants-rich with flavonoids, betalains, carotenoids, and vitamin C. It is a remarkable source of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese, as well as vitamins K (very high, over 400% RDI), A, B6, niacin (B3) riboflavin (B2) and folate (B9).
For perspective, amaranth leaves contain more protein, iron, and calcium than spinach. The protein derived from both the leaves and the grain contain all of the essential amino acids, and are especially rich in lysine compared to other greens or grains.
Amaranth leaves and stems are typically eaten raw or cooked, similar to spinach. They have a rich, earthy, and grassy taste. Red Amaranth’s flowers produce a grain which is also edible and has a delicate nutty flavor.
1 pound red amaranth, leaves removed from the stem
6 garlic cloves, minced or smashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt to taste
Remove the amaranth leaves from the stem. The amaranth leaves will be used for this dish.
Mince or smash the garlic cloves.
In a large skillet, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and allow it to heat for about a minute.
Now, add in the garlic and cook them until they become aromatic and start to turn golden brown.
Add in the amaranth leaves, and stir to make sure the leaves cook evenly. The amaranth leaves will begin to wilt and shrink.
Add in the crushed red pepper and salt to taste.
Once the amaranth leaves have become wilted and tender, place them on a plate and serve warm with rice.