Quinoa, Couscous and buckwheat are just three of the best amaranth substitutes. Keep reading to know all five!
As someone who finds joy in trying out new stuff in the kitchen, having substitutes for one ingredient or the other is a must.
And, since I’m a guru in the field of ingredient alternatives, I often get asked what the best substitutes for amaranth are. So in this post, I’ll be sharing all the greatest amaranth substitutes that are commonly available.
Whether you have a dietary restriction, can’t find it at your local store or just want to try something new, I’ve got just the thing for you!
What is Amaranth?
Before I go over potential substitutes, how about a quick rundown of this amazing ingredient?
Amaranth is a unique seed that’s often classified as a pseudo – cereal. It’s got the physical properties of grain and is used like one, but it technically isn’t since it belongs to an entirely different plant family.
When it comes to value, the nutritional profile of amaranth shows us it’s a good source of protein, packed with essential amino acids, fiber, and all sorts of minerals. I love its nutty flavor and how well it pairs with all sorts of sweet and savory dishes.
Another important thing to note about the amaranth “grain” is that it’s a good source of dietary fiber and gluten-free, making it one of the best options for those with gluten sensitivities.
Amaranth substitute options
The best substitutes for amaranth should be alternatives with similar features, tastes as well as nutrient profiles and that’s exactly what I based my selection on.
Have a look and what I found:
Amaranth and quinoa have a couple of things in common that make them great substitutes for one another.
First off, quinoa is also a nutritious seed and gluten-free with a texture that’s actually quite similar to amaranth. It’s a great source of fiber and its ground form makes for an amazing gluten-free flour.
When cooked, quinoa takes on a fluffy but chewy texture, very similar to amaranth’s being that it’s soft and sticky.
Flavour wise, it leaves a nutty taste in your mouth, just like how amaranth does but just a bit milder. Use quinoa as a substitute in both sweet and savoury dishes.
I personally think it works really well as an amaranth substitute in tikkis and even a nice bowl of porridge topped with some toasted nuts and apricots!
Speaking of apricots, if you’d like to make porridge like that but you’re not a fan, have a look at these delicious apricot substitutes instead.
Not into a grain-like substitute? Then how about you go for the real deal.
Millet’s an actual grain and has got this super tiny and round appearance like it’s an itsy bitsy bead. This cereal crop is amongst one of the world’s most produced ancient grains and is mild in flavour, almost slightly sweet like corn which makes it stand out from other cereal grains.
Cooked millet takes on a very chewy texture that’s also super light, making it an amazing amaranth substitute.
Instead of amaranth flour for my pancakes or fritters, I like to use millet flour, adding a whole new dimension to my breakfast (or dinner – check out what to serve with amaranth pancakes for dinner!)
And using millet for a salad with some roasted veggies instead of amaranth would do wonders. It’s such a versatile grain and also amongst one of my favorite buckwheat substitutes.
If you really want to upgrade your recipe with a flavourful amaranth substitute, buckwheat is your best bet.
It has a complex, somewhat bitter and earthy taste in contrast to millet’s mild flavor. Nutritionally, it packs a punch with it’s high protein content and the range of health benefits buckwheat provides.
Cooked, it maintains a firm texture but becomes soft enough to enjoy, making it an amazing substitute for amaranth.
Buckwheat flour is a gluten-free flour that would also work really well as an amaranth flour substitute in all kinds of pastries and baked treats. It’s a nice seed flour and if you’d like more of its kind, check out these great substitutes for buckwheat flour.
Unlike the rest of these substitutes, couscous is a food product. It’s a kind of pasta made from semolina flour tossed in a way it formed these tiny granules. Couscous turns fluffy and chewy when it’s cooked, making it a great amaranth substitute in cooked dishes.
The gluten-free versions of couscous are made from rice, corn flour or another gluten-free seed flour.
Couscous might not exactly have the exact same nutritional profile as amaranth, but I love how well it works as a substitute in salads and side dishes, so I thought it was worthy of a mention.
For instance, I like to grab a bowl of amaranth salad with mint every now and then but if i don’t have any amaranth, a minty couscous salad would still do. I love how refreshing it still tastes and the nice touch the herb has and, while we’re on that note, have a look at some of the best replacements for mint you could ever find.
Amaranth substitutes FAQs
Quinoa is by far one of the best substitutes for amaranth out there. I think quinoa works great as an amaranth substitute in cooked dishes like as the base for buddha bowls and quinoa flour in baked ones that require amaranth flour.
Quinoa and amaranth might look alike, but they aren’t the same. Both are ancient grains but quinoa seeds are larger and slightly denser than amaranth seeds. They also cook for short amounts of time but taste slightly different from one another with quinoa’s being milder.
Amaranth and millet share a few similarities but they still differ in a few aspects. They both have antioxidant properties and can be used interchangeably in some recipes, but they do differ in nutritional content, taste, and form.
Well, amaranth is actually neither a grain nor millet. The best way to describe amaranth is a seed with grain-like properties.
BOTTOM LINE: While there can be no perfect substitute for amaranth, there are several options that can work, depending on your needs and the recipe. Quinoa, millet, buckwheat and couscous are all amazing options for an amaranth substitute that can enhance your dish.
So, the very next time you find yourself needing an alternative to amaranth, don’t sweat it. Try any of these amazing ingredients above.
If you liked these alternatives, you should definitely go check out my site for more. I have tons of ideas, from asparagus substitutes to replacements for arugula and all sorts of ingredients so click the links and take a look!