Orange-Scented Amaranth Porridge With Apricots And Pine Nuts

Maria Speck is the award-winning author of the new SIMPLY ANCIENT GRAINS and ANCIENT GRAINS FOR MODERN MEALS (both by Ten Speed Press). Simply Ancient Grains was selected as a top cookbook for 2015 by the Washington Post, theHuffington Post, and Sweet Paul, as well as on NPR’s Here & Now. Maria’s first cookbook, Ancient Grains for Modern Meals won multiple accolades, among them the IACP’s Julia Child award. Cooking Light magazine included it among the 100 best cookbooks of the past 25 years.

Raised in Greece and Germany, Maria has a lifelong passion for whole grains. She is a veteran journalist and food writer, and has contributed to Gourmet, Eating Well, Saveur, and Gastronomica, among many other publications.

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Orange-Scented Amaranth Porridge
With Apricots And Pine Nuts

This simple porridge is an enticing introduction to tiny golden amaranth.
It makes for a comforting, creamy breakfast with a gentle crunchiness. The Two-Step Method not only speeds up cooking time on busy mornings but also prevents the grains from  becoming overly sticky, a common problem when cooking amaranth. And don’t forget to take a look at the minuscule seeds when you add the water—it’s beautiful how they sink to the bottom, in blossomlike clusters, with a layer floating on top.

This is a light breakfast I enjoy year-round. In the summer months, I allow a dollop of cool Greek yogurt to melt on top.




  • 1 cup amaranth grains
  • 3 tablespoons chopped dates (about 4)
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick (about
  • 1/2 inches)
  • 2 cups boiling water


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons chopped soft dried apricots (see Fine Points)
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey, or more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon finely  grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts, for garnish




step one
Start the amaranth the night before: Add  the amaranth, dates, and  cinnamon stick to a heavy 3- or 4-quart saucepan. Pour the boiling water over it, cover,  and  allow to sit at room temperature overnight (or chill, covered, for up to 2 days).

step two
The next morning, finish the porridge: Add  the milk, apricots, and  salt to the saucepan, cover,  and  bring to a boil. Uncover, stir well with a wooden spoon once, decrease the heat to maintain a lively bubble, and  cook until the mixture starts to thicken, about 8 minutes. Stir thoroughly, scraping the bottom, and continue cooking at a simmer, stirring often, until the amaranth is creamy, about 2 more minutes. The grains will swell and become translucent but maintain a little crunchiness.

Remove from  the heat, discard the cinnamon stick, and  stir in the honey and  orange zest. Taste and  adjust sweetness with a bit more honey. If you have  time, cover and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Spoon into bowls and serve warm, garnished with pine nuts.

fine points
Adding dates in step 1 naturally sweetens the porridge, so you might not need much honey in the end. Avoid Blenheim apricots, as their sourness can lead to curdling.

If you have time in the morning: Bring the amaranth with 2 cups water and 1 cup milk to a boil and cook, covered, at a low simmer, 20 to 25 minutes, until creamy—add the dates and cinnamon stick from the start and the remaining ingredients in the last
few minutes when you stir nonstop. Add a bit more milk if you like.

The award-winning author of Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, Maria Speck makes cooking with ancient grains faster, more intuitive, and easier than ever before in this collection of recipes, most of which are gluten-free.

From black rice to red quinoa to golden Kamut berries, ancient grains are showing up on restaurant menus and store shelves in abundance. Yet in home kitchens, many fear that whole grains are too difficult and time-consuming to prepare. In Simply Ancient Grains, Maria makes cooking with these fascinating and nourishing staples easy and accessible with sumptuous recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Her family-friendly dishes are Mediterranean-inspired and delicious, such as Spicy Honey and Habanero Shrimp with Cherry Couscous; Farro Salad with Roasted Eggplant, Caramelized Onion, and Pine Nuts; and Red Rice Shakshuka with Feta Cheese. Maria’s tips and simplified approach take whole grain cooking to the next level by amplifying the flavor and enduring beauty of these nutritious grains.