Chocolate Amaranth Pudding

I’m constantly on the lookout for creative and delicious ways to add healthy grains to our meals… enter the “food blogger” world and you’ll find SO many foodies and so much inspiration to create and share- well, FOOD!  While scouring some blogs, I came across this one, which is a great inspiration for creating really decadent desserts from a plethora of recipe resources ( she loves chocolate- I love chocolate!).  Who knew amaranth could be made in to a dessert?  And what is amaranth all about?  Well, listen to these stats (source):
The protein is of an unusually high quality, it’s one of the few grains that is considered a complete protein ( meaning it contains each of the 9 amino acids)
A ¼ cup of amaranth grain supplies 60% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of iron.
Amaranth grain is particularly high in lysine, an amino acid that most grains lack.
Amaranth grain is free of gluten, easier to digest, which is important for people with gluten allergies.
AND it has even been known to lower cholesterol…
Now, I’m not going to lie, this recipe takes time and has some steps.  Using dark chocolate, actual chocolate, in this homemade cooked pudding really makes the difference in flavor.  It has that pure sweet chocolate, in a creamy pudding that just happens make you feel the need to chew it and savor it longer in your mouth because of the amaranth… now as Jason said, it’s texture was a bit like quinoa in chocolate pudding.  The taste is phenomenal, but texture phobes beware, it’s like a mini version or tapioca, which we happened to really love!  This makes 8 servings at about 200 calories, and is pretty filling for a dessert.
Chocolate Amaranth Pudding
Serves 8
 3 cups fat free milk
1 cup amaranth
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon chile powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup 60% dark Ghirardelli chocolate chips
Chopped walnuts, for garnish
Whisk together first 5 ingredients and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook 25-30 minutes, uncovered and stirring frequently, until the amaranth is tender. Be careful not to let the milk boil over.
Whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and eggs. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the hot amaranth mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs. Slowly whisk egg mixture into amaranth mixture in the pan. Cook 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Gradually add the chocolate, stirring until it melts.
Fill a large bowl with ice water. Carefully set the pan into the ice bath and let the pudding cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (pudding will continue to thicken as it chills). Serve garnished with chopped walnuts for added crunch.
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