Popped Amaranth Energy Bites
TOTAL TIME: 45 mins
MAKES: 2 dozen
“If you thought corn was the only grain that pops, then you are in for a treat. Amaranth, Quinoa, Millet and Sorghum do, too! And they can be added to a multitude of dishes from breakfast yogurts, muffins and breads to salads, soups and snacks. Ready to have some poppin’ fun in your kitchen, let’s do this”
· 1 cup organic rolled oats
· 1 ¼ cup popped amaranth ( about 7 tbsp. amaranth grain)
· 1 ¼ cup organic smooth peanut butter ( or any nut butter, I chose peanut butter for the slightly higher protein content and the salty taste that it adds to the bites)
· ½ cup organic maple syrup ( or honey, if not vegan)
· ½ cup organic dried coconut flakes
· ¼ cup sunflower seeds ( you can also add chia, flax, etc.)
· ¼ cup hemp hearts
· ½ cup vegan chocolate protein powder (optional)
· ¼ cup carob chips
· ½ cup cashew pieces ( or any other nuts you have on hand)
· 10-12 medjool dates ( soak in warm water for 5-10 mins)
· 1 tsp. vanilla essence
· ¼ tsp. coarse sea salt
· ¼ tsp. cinnamon powder
- Heat a large heavy Dutch oven skillet over high heat for at least 5 mins.
- Spoon ½ tablespoon amaranth into the pan and check to see that the seeds are immediately popping. If they don’t, and they instead sit in the pan and burn, the pan isn’t hot enough and you’ll need to start over again. I usually have to sacrifice this initially amount as it actually primes the dish for the process.
- If the seeds do pop, cover the pan or else they start flying everywhere and lift the dish off just above the burner and shake it back and forth until you hear the seeds stop popping.
- Immediately pour popped amaranth into a bowl; repeat procedure with the remaining amaranth, 1 tablespoon at a time. It’s definitely a win some lose some scenario, but is the fun part to watch them pop, so be prepared to not have a 100% conversion and have to sacrifice some amaranth grains to being burnt.
- Once the required amount of amaranth has been popped; in a separate mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and mix well to combine.
- Form them into round balls about the shape of a tennis ball and place them on a parchment lined tray. (If required add small amounts of peanut butter or maple syrup to get the mixture to hold together).
- Refrigerate for an hour and then store away in an airtight container.
- Keeps fresh up to a week in the fridge, in an airtight container.
These serve as an excellent pre- or post-workout protein rich snack. They are great at that 4-6 pm witching hour when your hungry and feel that post - afternoon energy slump.
Popped Amaranth: Popping is a simultaneous starch gelatinization and expansion process, during which the grains are exposed to high temperatures for short time. During this process, super-heated vapor produced inside the grains by instantaneous heating, cooks the grain and expands the endosperm suddenly, breaking out the outer skin. Popping tends to increase the flavonoid content of amaranth. Flavonoids are a group of plant metabolites thought to provide health benefits through cell signaling pathways and antioxidant effects.
Carob Chips: Carob is considered a low-calorie, low-fat and low-caffeine alternative to chocolate. It is a tropical pod that contains a sweet, edible pulp and inedible seeds which are dried and the pulp is then roasted and ground into a powder that resembles cocoa powder. The cocoa-like flavor of carob chips comes from the roasting process, so the final product is distinctly nutty, toasted or earthy. It also provides about thrice the amount of calcium than cocoa.