Cultivated by the Aztecs 8,000 years ago and still a native crop in Peru, the ancient history of amaranth can be traced to Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula. Today, it’s grown in Africa, India, China, Russia, throughout South America, and emerging once again in North America.

Somewhat of an unknown quantity to many, amaranth is tall – often six feet – with broad green leaves, bright red or gold flowers, and around 60 different species. The flowers are made up of miniscule, grain-like buds, one reason why this plant often falls into the “grain” category. But amaranth isn’t technically a grain like oats, wheat, or rice. It’s sometimes referred to as a “pseudo-cereal” because its nutritional profile is very similar.