Skin-Nourishing Supper: Amaranth Polenta with Mushrooms, Basil & Greens

It's time to upgrade your complex carbs with a beauty nutrition-packed pantry staple: amaranth. Amaranth is a must-have in your repertoire, especially if you're vegan or vegetarian, as it's a great source of protein (8g in a serving) and beauty minerals including calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. The sticky, porridge-like texture of amaranth makes it a great breakfast grain (try the recipe for Coconut-Date Amaranth on p. 322 of Eat Pretty Every Day) or polenta base (as I've used it in this recipe), and also makes it excellent for your digestion. Even though we think of it as a gluten-free grain, it's technically a seed, one whose texture is really going to add something new to your usual meals— wait until you try it! 

Every single ingredient in this easy dish is loaded with skin benefits, and you can sub in new varieties of greens as they come into season and mushrooms as they become available. Enjoy!

Amaranth Polenta with Mushrooms, Basil & Greens

NOTE: If you prefer to serve a firmer square of polenta under your veggies (as opposed to a soft, porridge-y version), it's best to make the amaranth well ahead of time and let it chill completely. Try making it the night before serving, or the morning-of, so it has plenty of time to cool and solidify, and all you have to do is cook up the veggies to go on top. 

This veggie-packed meal is brimming with protein, one of the essential building blocks for your skin, hair, and nails that also helps keep your blood sugar stable (further supporting gorgeous skin!). It's also a great source of key beauty minerals like iron and calcium, and lots of antioxidants from basil and greens. Try subbing in whatever greens or veggies you have on hand.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

3 cups broth or water (if using water, be sure to salt it, or add 2 tbsp liquid/coconut aminos for flavor)

1 cup dry amaranth

2 tsp coconut oil, organic butter, or ghee

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

6 cups chopped assorted mushrooms (I recommend including some shiitakes for flavor)

1 pint (about 2 cups) organic grape or cherry tomatoes, halved 

4 tsp chopped basil, plus more for garnish

3 large handfuls of roughly chopped organic greens (I used baby kale)

DIRECTIONS

Bring broth/water to a boil in a large saucepan, and add amaranth. Cover, lower heat, and simmer about 25 minutes, until water has absorbed and amaranth is sticky, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, melt oil/butter/ghee in a sauté pan. Add onions and cook until they begin to soften. Add mushrooms, garlic, and a pinch of unrefined salt, and cook until mushrooms soften and release their water. (Depending on the variety of mushrooms that you use, you can pour off some of the water if it begins to collect). Add tomatoes, basil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. When tomatoes have softened, add chopped greens and cook until just wilted.

Fill each plate with a serving of polenta, and top with the veggie sauté and additional fresh basil.