It’s the New Year, and for most, that means a resolve to take better care of one’s health. For us, that resolve manifests in a passion to share new foods. Our pledge is to keep the culinary world simmering with exciting flavors and innovative combinations, which in this case, does not at all exclude “better for you” foods. If you’re already a veteran of shirataki and amaranth, the recipes are still worth a try! New Year. New Foods! Always something cooking …

Amaranth - A Grain of Truth

Fun to say, amaranth comes from the Greek word “amarantos” meaning unwithering or never-fading. Native to Peru, it is prevalent in Mexico, and today, a vital food source in areas of Africa, India, and Nepal — far from withering!

With a nutty flavor, it retains a certain crunch after cooked. More importantly, it is a complete protein, meaning it contains lysine, an amino acid missing or minimal in many grains. If you’re a vegetarian, that’s a real bonus. Amaranth also contains more than three times the average amount of calcium for a grain and is high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.  It’s also the only grain that contains Vitamin C, and is naturally gluten-free. 


Finally, amaranth is super easy to cook. Just boil water, add your amaranth and stir occasionally for 15-20 minutes, then drain and rinse. Use it as a base, like rice, for stews, chili, etc., or add bouillon to the water when you cook and stir in sautéed veggies for a complete meal. We also like to mix it with quinoa to add a little nutty bite.

Shirataki Noodles

Shirataki noodles are thin, translucent, gelatinous Japanese noodles made from the konjac yam, which contains glucomannan, a water-soluble dietary fiber. The word "shirataki" means "white waterfall," which references their appearance. Shirataki are low in digestible carbohydrates and calories, and have little flavor, but make a hearty addition to stir-fries and are an excellent pasta substitution for those paying attention to carbs or sugars. In the recipe below, Chef Crystal uses them in a traditional Japanese Sukiyaki dish.

Chia Seeds 

Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavor and can be eaten whole as or ground. They are an integral ingredient in Mexican and Central American cuisines and pair well with both sweet and savory foods, adding more crunch and texture than flavor.

When combined with liquid, chia seeds swell and form a gel. This makes them a good substitute for eggs in baking. Just mix one-part chia seeds to six parts water. About one tablespoon of this mixture equals one large egg. You can also use it like pectin in jam.

A 2-tablespoon (1-ounce) serving of chia seeds contains 138 calories and 9 grams of fat, along with 10g of fiber, 5g of protein and 18 percent of the daily value for calcium. It’s also packed with alpha-linolenic acid Omega-3s!

Amaranth Granola

Compliments of Chef Crystal Baldwin

Serves: 8

Prep Time: 20 min.

Cook Time: 30 min.

Total Time: 50 min.

Make your own amaranth granola with this crunchy, sweet, better-for-you recipe from our own Chef Crystal!

  • 1 cups Amaranth
  • 1 ¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 5 Tbsp. honey
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup Market District Almond Butter
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a bowl, mix all ingredients thoroughly.

Spread mixture evenly on a lightly sprayed, parchment-lined sheet tray.

Bake until golden brown, approximately 30 min.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Break into clusters and store in an air tight container.


Compliments of Chef Crystal Baldwin

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 min.

Cook Time: 20 min.

Total Time: 35 min.

This sukiyaki stir-fry is one of our favorites. Made with shirataki noodles, it combines everything we love about Japanese cooking in one pan!

  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • ½ lb. ribeye or sirloin beef, thinly sliced
  • 1 package shirataki noodles, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 ½ Tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup Japanese dark soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Japanese Mirin
  • ¼ tsp. schichimi togarashi (Japanese 7 spice)
  • 4 cups. Nappa cabbage, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 5 red onions, cut into 2-in pieces
  • ½ lb. extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • 9 shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 oz. fresh spinach (approximately 2 cups)

Heat a wok or large pan over high heat. Add oil.

Add beef, stirring constantly until browned and almost cooked through.

Stir in sugar, soy sauce, Mirin and schichimi togarashi

Add the rest of the ingredients and cook approximately 10-15 minutes.

Market District's Homemade Style Berry & Thyme Chia Jam

Compliments of Chef Janice Kirich

Makes: 1pt.

Prep Time:  5 min.

Cook Time:   20 min.

Total Time: 25 min.

Thicken your jam and get all the benefits of chia seeds with this exceptional berry and thyme chia jam. Bring on the toast!

  • ½ lb. raspberries, cleaned
  • ½ lb. blackberries, cleaned
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, place berries, honey, lemon juice and thyme.

As berries are breaking down; smash with masher or fork to desired consistency.

Bring to a boil and continue until a sauce forms (approximately 5 minutes).

Taste for sweetness; add more honey, if desired.

Stir in chia seeds; cook one more minute. Mix well and remove from heat.

Let jam sit thicken as it cools.

If you desire a thicker consistency, add 1 teaspoon of seeds; wait 10 minutes before adding second teaspoon to allow thickening.

This jam can be refrigerated for up to two weeks and frozen for two months.  Chia seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and high in fiber; they absorb 10 times their size in water.