Warning: Go straight to this recipe for EASY Oatmeal Breakfast Bars, if you’re not feeling too ambitious!
But before I simplified the recipe, I came up with the one below. It was a good vehicle for the amaranth I had purchased, after hearing how high in complete protein it was. (I didn’t know at the time of purchase, that cooking a real palatable amaranth dish could be challenging… Sigh!)
My husband had only been looking out for me, hoping to save me some time in preparing his breakfast. (Yes, we’re a pretty old-school household- I do the cooking, he fixes the car. Etc. It works!)
I admit, I was starting to feel like Leave It to Beaver’s mom. So I decided to make a big batch of my own version of Breakfast Bars; then we would have at least a few days a week where breakfast could be extra fast and easy.
Working with amaranth, an ancient seed/grain, was not especially simple though. After my first attempt, one friend thought it had a weird, green aftertaste. It needed work. So, for the following recipe, I soaked the amaranth for a day, then roasted it, then cooked it, before even adding it to a recipe. Doing a taste test, we decided it was still quite good if I skipped the roasting process, which saved some time.
But grains become more digestible when soaked, and soaking the amaranth helps it to cook through, too, while still retaining a nice texture. It doesn’t take any “work” really, just some planning ahead. Ideally, it gets cooked enough to not seem too hard, but not cooked so much that it’s just a gooey blob. A plus about amaranth: Bonus protein (usable, complete protein).
If you prefer steel-cut oats, that variation is listed below the recipe. This recipe can be easily doubled; this makes about 4-6 servings (which last up to a week, refrigerated, if you don’t eat them first!).
- 1/2 c. amaranth
- 1 c. boiling water
- 2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats (*or 1 c. steel-cut oats; see note at bottom of page)
- 2 TBS. chia seeds
- 1/4 c. water
- 1/2 c. raisins or dates, diced (about 10 dates)
- 1/3 c. coconut palm sugar
- 1/4 c. coconut oil
- 1/4 c. macadamias (or other favorite nut)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- optional: 1 tsp. cinnamon or other spices
1. Soak amaranth for one day. The following day, rinse, drain, and let sit one more day if there’s time; otherwise, one day’s soaking will do. Use: > 1/2 c. amaranth
2. Also soak the oatmeal, to get rid of extra phytates that can interfere with digestion. Use: > 2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
3. After a day (or two) of soaking, rinsing, and draining the amaranth, roast the grain. Spread the amaranth on a cookie sheet and roast in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes. **See note at bottom of page if you’d prefer to pop your amaranth, rather than roast it. It will be crunchier, if you prefer that.
4. Cook amaranth in small pot for 10 minutes or so. To the 1/2 c. soaked, roasted amaranth, add: > 1 c. boiling water
5. While amaranth simmers, prepare other ingredients. Add chia seeds and water to a mixing bowl, letting the chia seeds absorb the liquid, stirring some if necessary. Use: > 2 TBS. chia seeds > 1/4 c. water
6. Rinse soaked oats, then let drain while adding the following to the chia seeds in the bowl: > 1/3 c. coconut palm sugar > 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted > 1/4 c. macadamias (or other favorite nut) > 1 tsp. vanilla > 1/2 tsp. salt > optional: cinnamon or other spices
7. Stir until the mixture is blended, then stir in: > The drained oats > The cooked amaranth (or the popped amaranth, if preferred).
8. Add mixture to an oiled 9″x9″ square pan.
9. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
10. If a slightly browned top is desired, broil the pan of bars for a few minutes, until golden.
11. Turn oven off, let finish baking with oven off for 25 more minutes. Serve warm or cold.
* To replace rolled oats with steel-cut oats, use half as much (1 c.). Process the steel-cut oats some, so they’ll cook better. Soak for a day, drain, and rinse.
**To pop amaranth, get an iron pan quite hot, adding a few tablespoons of soaked, drained amaranth at a time, to the pan. Stir constantly, pushing the popped grains to the edge of the pan as more amaranth is added. Continue until all amaranth has been added. Not all of it will pop–that’s OK. Set aside when done. Add to the other ingredients when mixing them all together.