Nutrition, Videos

Research: The Healthiest Grain for Vegans | 14 Grains, Ranked

In today’s video, I’m answering a question that quite a few of you have asked: what’s the healthiest grain? There is of course no single straightforward answer to that, but I used my scientific expertise from getting my PhD and publishing studies to create a metric that scores grains in terms of how much they help fill in vegans’ micronutrient categories that tend to be lowest (especially wfpb vegans). See the details in the video!

Here’s a link to the video page, or you can watch it below:

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Links mentioned in the video:

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Nutrient table

GrainMy scoreIronMagnesiumSeleniumZincFiberProtein
Grits / Polenta389717569
Millet439203111113
White rice4610621919
Brown rice565201714710
Bulgur5813253172716
Sorghum70113214131014
Buckwheat768419181515
Barley7781539152212
Quinoa8114359231216
Oats88122428241315
Amaranth10523441820916
Farro138112680211917
Kamut153122588281719
Table: the percent daily value provided by each grain in each category in 200 calories (for average height 5’6″ woman), and my score for each grain. Note that it’s all relative, so it doesn’t matter how tall you are or how much you eat, or anything like that! For the nutrients, the winner in each category is bolded.
Recipes

Apple Pie Amaranth Porridge Recipe (Vegan)


Move over oats: there’s a new porridge grain in town.

I learned last year that my stomach can’t handle oats, and I never thought I’d find something I like as much for fall and winter breakfasts as oats. But I’ve kept experimenting, and discovered amaranth!

Amaranth has a delicious nutty taste, a really nice texture, and is so versatile. And, as a big bonus, it’s more nutritious than oats: calorie for calorie, compared to oats, amaranth has twice the iron, magnesium, and B vitamins–not to mention more protein and potassium.

This apple pie amaranth porridge holds up really well in the fridge, so I’ve started making 3 days’ worth of porridge at a time. It’s my current favorite Fall breakfast!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry amaranth
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves (optional)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar (more to taste; you can also use maple syrup or dates)
  • 2 apples, diced
  • Topping ideas: pecans, walnuts, nut butter, non-dairy milk, dates, fresh apples

Directions

  1. Add the amaranth to a pot over high heat to toast it. Stir constantly. Once it starts popping (you’ll notice little white puffs), reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 2-3 more minutes or until about half of it has become a darker brown (or popped), then remove from heat. (If it starts smelling like popcorn, remove from heat right away!) It’s better to under-toast than to over-toast.
  2. Add 3 cups of water to the pot with the amaranth, bring it to a boil, then simmer. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. I find I have to keep the stove at medium-low heat to keep it at a lightly bubbling simmer.
  3. Add the diced apples, spices, and sugar. Keep simmering, occasionally, until the apples are tender and amaranth has absorbed all the water, and/or it has your desired consistency. If the amaranth absorbs the water before the apples are tender, add non-dairy milk or more water as needed to finish cooking the apples.
  4. Serve, add your toppings, and enjoy!

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