Feeling a bit seedy

AMARANTH, CRANBERRY and MINT SALAD with MACADAMIAS and HALOUMI
This isn’t a planned-overs recipe, but I wanted to share it anyway as I loved it, and the husband gave it a big thumbs up too.
I’ve been trotting out the cranberry, ginger, mint and macadamia combo for years, but have always served it with couscous. Recently I replaced the couscous with amaranth seeds and it was fantastic!
I know – amaranth is the groovy ancient seed du jour, especially in blogland; but it lives up to the hype. It’s similar to quinoa, but not as bitter; and it’s so pretty, like miniature pearls. It’s also FULL of protein and fibre. Served with haloumi, it makes a lovely light dinner; and the leftovers are fab for lunch the next day.

My original intention was to create cookies from a reserved portion of the cooked amaranth and cranberries. I’ll admit it – I was extremely excited as I thought they’d be amazing. I even enlisted my lovely 11-year old gluten-intolerant niece as my kitchen assistant and taste-tester. OMG, those cookies were disgusting! Awful texture, chewy and unpleasant. I did have a nice time cooking and chatting with my niece though.
So, I didn’t want to waste the salad recipe. Do give it a try – it’s honestly scrumptious.
Footnote: Thank you Redbook for featuring this salad in your ’11 Supergrain Spring Salads’ roundup!

Amaranth, cranberry and orange saladAmaranth, cranberry and mint salad with macadamias and haloumi

Ingredients (serves 3–4):
1 heaped cup (250gm/½ lb) whole-grain amaranth (not flakes)

½ cup (75gm/2½ oz) craisins (sweetened dried cranberries)
½ cup shredded mint leaves, plus extra to serve
½ red (Spanish/purple) onion, finely sliced
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
½ cup (80g/3 oz) macadamia nuts, chopped and toasted
120g (4 oz) haloumi (Greek frying cheese), cut into 1cm (½ in) slices
1 tablespoon olive oil for frying cheese
Lemon wedges, to serve
DRESSING:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon finely-grated fresh ginger (or more – to taste)

Bring 3 cups of water to the boil in a medium pot. Add the amaranth and craisins and simmer for 10 minutes, covered. Drain in a fine mesh sieve. Spread amaranth and craisins out on a tray and set aside for ten minutes to dry. Transfer to a large bowl.
Place dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine. Add to the amaranth and craisins, along with the mint and onion. Toss lightly. Season.
Rinse haloumi with water and pat dry with kitchen paper. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and lightly fry the haloumi until golden brown, about 2–3 minutes each side.
Serve the amaranth salad, scattered with toasted macadamia nuts and extra mint.
Lay the haloumi slices on top or serve separately on a platter.

  • This salad is a ripper to take to work for lunch. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  • Amaranth is a tiny, gluten-free South American seed similar to quinoa. I cook mine for half the time noted on the packet as I like it with a bit of bite and nuttiness. It becomes quite porridge-like the longer you cook it. It is available from health food stores and markets.
  • Haloumi is a non-meltable cheese from Greece, made for pan-frying. It is salty and delicious. My boys love it, and refer to it as ‘squeaky cheese’. It is best eaten immediately as it rubberises upon standing. It is available from large supermarkets, specialty cheese stores and delicatessens.

36 thoughts on “Feeling a bit seedy

  1. Pingback: Edible Plants A to Z: Amaranth | The Scout Project

  2. Ooooh! That looks Sooooo SO yummy Saskia!! I’m going to make some, I have fresh mint growing in my garden and it’s the ultimate excuse! Beautiful styling too lovely lady ;)

    thea.
    (spoonful)
    x

    • Thanks Cass. It’s not often that you hear of a manly spoon collector. Cheers to Tyler! I love ‘em too. It came with a fork and salt n’ pepper shakers – I do love a good matching set.

  3. It looks very scrumptious, indeed, Saskia! We all have things that don’t go well in the kitchen: failures & errors but we have more successes too! :) A grand & very tasty combined recipe, I say!

  4. Few years ago I allowed my aramanth to go to seeds and collected quite a bit of seeds, wish I had this recipe then. May allow the plants to go to seeds again this year, on the other hand to get a whole cup of seeds, not sure, may be better to get some from the healthfood store.

    • Lucky you Norma, with your own amaranth plant – such pretty flowers! I think it’s always exciting to produce your own food, no matter what the quantity is. I have a cherry tomato plant that has never taken off. It has ONE perfect, juicy little tomato on it though, ready for plucking. I’m going to enjoy it for brekkie this morning (unless the possums have stolen it overnight)…

  5. I’m not at all familiar with amaranth, so, this post is heaven-sent. Not only did I learn something new today, I received 2 great recipes, the salad and its orange-ginger dressing. All I need now is to find amaranth and I’ll be doing all right. Thanks for sharing.

  6. i must get cool and try amaranth! this salad is perfect because we have a macadamia nut tree that is always LOADED. now to get my hands on some amaranth.. that’s wallpaper? it’s a super sweet pattern <3

    • OMG Kim. I have nut envy. Macadamias are my absolute favourite. Not only do you have a macadamia tree, but a LOADED macadamia tree? Can’t even imagine having one in my backyard – I would most definitely gorge myself and it wouldn’t be a pretty sight.

  7. lately I have not been in the mood for cooking, but your dishes are so creative and look so yummy, that I feel inspired to try out this salad. Thanks, Sas.

  8. That picture is just gorgeous and enough of an enticement in itself to try this dish! Cooking with your niece must have been loads of fun; hopefully you had a good laugh over the awful cookies!

  9. Just when I’ve started to get into quinoa, along comes another fabulous seed…*sigh* !!
    I’ve never even heard of this amaranth thing, just goes to show how far behind the times I am…another *sigh*. But, once I have used all my quinoa, I might have to give it a try! In the meantime, anything served with haloumi is a winner in my book, so I have saved this recipe to try with my quinoa at some stage!
    Like what michaelspurr was saying, in my quinoa research, I read a lot about how the traditional farmers of quinoa etc can no longer afford to buy it themselves, which is really sad. It’s so hard to find the right balance between anything these days. But, my aim is to keep trying, so I’ll just have to be more mindful to read my labels and research before I buy.
    Love your photos xx

    • Agree – anything served with haloumi is a winner in my book too Ali. The quinoa situation sounds pretty dire, doesn’t it. Michael’s comment made me feel very first-world with my poncy, garnished salad…
      Agree, label-reading and research is a worthy time-investment. The coffee situation is horrific too. Thankfully there are plenty of smaller ethical companies around so we can say a big fat NO to the multi-Nationals.

  10. the salad looks incredibly fresh, colorful and delicious Saskia, and the short story of you and your cute niece making cookies really put a big smile on my face, sometimes mess and disgusting result can bring laughter to the kitchen ^^ btw I’m always a fan of your photos, they are just…stunning !!!

  11. Hey Sas… Is amaranth as evil as quinoa? ( omg apple products auto correct it). I ask because I recently learned that the local people, in Bolivia, who ate quinoa before it became a wonder grain ( I imagine they probably think it a little boring but only ‘cos they have never had a turn of your special salad) can no longer afford to buy it …

        • Wow Brandi, I had to google that – have never heard of teff. I won’t be buying it though – too scared after your cookie incident! I think that was the problem with my cookies too – I added amaranth flour which has such a strong flavour that it completely took over and killed the cranberries and orange.

  12. I’d love to get my hands on your vintage wallpaper swatch book (you don’t hear that every day, do you?). Your photos are always fantastic Saskia, and this one is no exception. Your headlines always make me smile too…

    I’m embarrased to say that I’ve never made anything with amaranth and that I don’t know too much about it. Your photo and recipe make me anxious to try it though. Too bad about the cookies, but good on ya for giving such a creative recipe a try.

    • Hah – I just about tripped over in my rush to get my hands on that swatch book! I have lots of evil ideas for ways I might put some of the pages to use (thinking greeting cards – there are some amazing kid’s patterns). Amaranth is ace – you must try it. So many more nutrients than couscous or rice. If you google it you’ll find some amazing stats – high calcium, high protein and 8 x more iron than wheat! I’m hooked on it, at least for now…

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