Roasted Sweet Potato Banana Amaranth Pudding Porridge
May 14, 2012 2 Comments
Amaranth? What the heck is that? My quick answer to that question is that amaranth is to the Aztecs as quinoa is to the Incans. For many years it was the staple grain in the Aztec diet and, like quinoa did for the Incans, powered their civilization.
I remember when i first started cooking quinoa over ten years ago and, seeing as I had never eaten it before, or even heard of it, I had no idea what to expect in terms of flavor. At the time I remember that it wasn’t a runaway hit with me. It wasn’t that it was unsavory… I just didn’t LOVE it immediately. I didn’t LOVE it the way I do now. I suppose this is often the case with new flavors where they can take some getting accustomed to; an adjustment period. I may feel the same about amaranth. It too has a strong, distinct flavor when eaten alone so pairing it with the intense flavor of roasted sweet potatoes and bananas was a great first introduction for me (I’ve only eaten it in cornbread before). In fact, I loved this dish so much that poor Alex didn’t even get a chance to try it. Oops!
You can see how tiny amaranth is compared to other grains and, even when fully cooked, the tiny little pearls are still quite small. In the bottom right of the photo below you can see the little amaranth pearls mixed in with the roasted potato puree. The amaranth beads in this dish vaguely remind me of the pearls in tapioca pudding. They have a similar texture but, as someone who doesn’t like tapioca pudding that much, they are a lot tastier (and much smaller).
Like quinoa, amaranth also has a very high nutritional profile. It’s a very good source of protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and iron. And when eaten with the sweet potatoes and bananas in this dish that are loaded with vitamin B6, potassium, and vitamins A and K you have yourself a nutrient-packed power breakfast (or dessert, because you could totally eat this for dessert.)
Sorry to blather on about nutrition again, but I just can’t help myself as I’ve spent years studying how our bodies respond to food—our fuel. I find it so fascinating how food can be medicine when you eat certain things and stop eating others. But enough about that; here’s how to make this glorious, tastes-like-pumpkin-pie dish!
After peeling and chopping your sweet potato, put it in a bowl and drizzle extra virgin olive oil over it, add salt, and toss to coat each piece evenly.
(Somewhat bashfully, I will admit that because I was taking a photo while pouring the oil, I ended up adding waaaay more oil than I had intended. I probably used a 1/4 cup or more! Ooops!)
Place the chunks on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and place in a 400 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes. Then take them out, toss them with a spoon, and put them in for another 15 minutes. Do this once more (45 minutes in total) until they’re cooked through and look like the photos below.
While you’re roasting your sweet potato, you can also roast your banana. However, instead of taking 45 minutes, the bananas only take 30 minutes to fully roast.
Take them out at the 15 minute mark and turn each slice over. The photo above on the right is what they looked like right when I took them out of the oven after 15 minutes of roasting.
Here, on the left, shows the bananas after I flipped them over, before putting them back in the oven, and the right shows them after the full 30 minutes.
Now place your roasted sweet potatoes and banana in a food processor, add the spices, and start to puree.
Add non-dairy milk to the mixture until the consistency is thick and creamy like the photo on the right. Also, I have to note that at this point I sampled a lot. This puree tasted like I was eating pumpkin pie filling. It was so flippin’ good! So don’t feel guilty if you can’t keep your spoon out of it either—it’s been known to happen.
While your potatoes and bananas are roasting in the oven, measure your amaranth and place it in a large saucepan with the water. Cover it with a lid and bring to a boil. Then turn down the heat so that it maintains a low boil for 20-25 minutes or until all water has been absorbed. Towards the end of cooking stir it a few times to prevent sticking or burning on the bottom of the pan.
Add the sweet potato banana puree to the amaranth and mix it until well incorporated. Serve in a bowl and feel free to add toasted coconut, maple syrup (it’s actually so sweet that you might find this completely unnecessary), or non-dairy milk if you like.
Roasted Sweet Potato Banana Amaranth Pudding Porridge
- 1 medium-small sweet potato, chopped into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or enough to coat all the sweet potatoes)
- salt (to taste)
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1 cup dried amaranth
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (pre-grated is fine if that’s what you have on hand)
- your choice of non-dairy milk, such as almond, rice, soy, flax, coconut, etc. (as needed)
- splash of vanilla extract (optional)
- maple syrup (optional)
- toasted coconut (optional)
Roast: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place your sweet potato chunks in a bowl and add olive oil and salt. Toss until evenly coated. Spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Slice your banana into small pieces and place them in a single layer on another parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Place both sheets in the oven. Roast for 15 minutes, turn them over, and place in the oven for another 15 minutes. At this point the bananas will be done, but the sweet potatoes need to go back in the oven for another final 15 minutes of cooking. In the end the bananas will have roasted for 30 minutes while the potatoes will have cooked for 45.
Cook Amaranth: While the potatoes and bananas are roasting, measure the amaranth and place it in a large saucepan with the 3 cups of water. Cover with a lid and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once it has come to a boil, turn down the heat so that it maintains a constant simmer for 20-25 minutes or until all water has been absorbed. I suggest checking on it after 20 minutes and stirring it to make sure that the amaranth does not burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.
Puree: When the sweet potatoes and bananas are done roasting, place them in a food processor (I was able to do this in my mini food processor), add all of the spices, and puree. Add your non-dairy beverage of choice a little bit at a time until you reach the consistency of a thick pudding.
Combine: Add the potato/banana pudding to the amaranth and mix until they’re thoroughly combined. Feel free to add any of the optional toppings you desire.