Amaranth, an ancient crop, is making a comeback with farmers in its native Mexico. Unlike most grains (it’s actually a pseudocereal), nutty, slightly peppery amaranth is an excellent source of the amino acid lysine, making it a complete protein. Naturally gluten free, amaranth is also rich in fiber, calcium, iron, and magnesium. When cooked, the whole grain softens on the inside while retaining crunch on the outside. It’s sold as flour, too.

Cook. Because it’s quite absorbent, use a lot of water—5 or 6 cups—to cook 1 cup amaranth grain. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 20–25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour off any excess liquid; then combine cooked amaranth with sautéed vegetables, or serve as porridge with coconut milk, toasted nuts, and chopped fruit.

Pop. Heat a large pot over high heat; add 2–3 tablespoons amaranth, reduce heat to medium, and stir until most of the grains have popped. (It burns easily, so pop larger amounts in batches.) Eat it straight, or mix with chopped fresh dates, form into balls, and roll in shredded coconut.

Bake. Substitute about 25 percent amaranth flour in your favorite gluten-free baking mix to add a nutritional kick to cookies and muffins.