Amaranth, the wonder plant. It is one of the oldest cultural plants. It has been cultivated as a grain for over 8000 years. Amaranth was a staple food of the Aztecs in the 1400's. The grain is highly nutritional and most commonly ground into a flour that is gluten free. You can also find it as a grain similar to quinoa. But I want to write about the beautiful green leaves on this plant. The leaves and stems are very high in protein, taste incredible, and are easy to cook.
Amaranth is cultivated all around the world but I usually find them in the Asian stands at the Farmer's Market. I have seen them in Asian grocery stores as well. Sometimes called Chinese spinach, these greens are similar to spinach but way more flavorful. You cook and use them the same way you would spinach, cooking just a little longer than you would spinach. I like all greens but these are my favorite. The young leaves are the best, and they will start showing up in Farmer's Markets in spring or early summer.
In Greece amaranth is a popular dish know as Vlita. The leaves are boiled and then served with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. I like to saute them in olive oil and then a squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper. Pure and delicious.
If you have never tried these and see them at a market, grab a bunch and give them a try.