Barry shuffled out to the kitchen in his bathrobe and peered into the just-opened pressure cooker. “What’s that?” he asked.

“It’s amaranth,” I replied, stirring a little salt into the light brown porridge. “I thought I’d try it with eggs this morning.”

I had been shopping at Whole Foods recently, and I bought some new-to-me grains, hoping to add them to my repertoire. From the descriptions, amaranth sounded like a good substitute for grits, which we used to have regularly for breakfast. We’d cook them up in a small pot, throw a runny fried egg on top, top it with cheese, and call it “gritsneggs” or “griggs.”

Unfortunately, grits are still heavily processed, although they are better than sugary cereal or quick packets of flavored oatmeal. I still had some in the cupboard, but we’d stopped eating them lately.

Amaranth is the perfect replacement. It cooks almost as quickly as grits, and nutritionally, it rocks. It has even more protein than quinoa, and way more than wheat or corn. At 28 grams per cup, it has almost six times the amount of protein as brown rice.

Cooking amaranth in the pressure cooker
1-1/2 C water or stock (for breakfast porridge, you can use a mixture of water and apple juice)
1 C amaranth
Salt to taste
Bring water to a boil and stir in amaranth. Pressure-cook for 4 minutes. Remove from burner and let pressure drop naturally until you can open the pot.

To cook amaranth without a pressure cooker, most recipes call for 1 C grain to 2-1/2 C liquid, simmered for 15-20 minutes.