Fuel Your Marathon (Or Your Day): Amaranth Pancakes

By: Ana Sofia Pelaez

The New York City Marathon may be 26.2 miles, but runners rack up many, many more during training. Carbo-loading, the guilt-free consumption of rice, pasta and bread in the days leading up to it, can seem like a reward for months of dedication and hard work. Done properly, you’ll have enough stored energy to see you through to the finish line. Overindulge, though, and you’ll get to race day feeling like someone’s handed you a sack of potatoes and asked you to run it through the five boroughs.

One way to avoid the heaviness is by adding nutrient-rich foods to your diet without increasing your overall intake. Amaranth, packed with amino acids, fiber, iron, calcium and magnesium, is a good start. Ground into a flour, it’s easily worked into a variety of gluten-free foods. Combined with white whole-wheat flour and blended with honey to balance out amaranth’s grassy notes, it makes textured but light whole-grain pancakes. First cultivated in Central America, amaranth typically top lists of South American "super foods" alongside quinoa. With pre-Columbian roots stretching back 5,000+ years, it knows something about going long.

Amaranth Pancakes

Makes 12 4-inch pancakes
1/2 cup amaranth flour
3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup low-fat buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 egg, well beaten
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 tablespoons honey
Butter or oil, for greasing

Sift together the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

Separately, whisk together the buttermilk, milk, egg and melted butter. Pour into the flour mixture and stir to combine, do not overmix. Allow batter to rest for 10 minutes.

Heat a pan or cast-iron skillet over medium until hot. Brush lightly with butter or oil. Spoon the batter (about 1/4 cup) onto the skillet. Cook until bubbles appear along the surface, about 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side, 1-2 additional minutes. The pancakes should be neither too dark nor too pale. Adjust the heat as needed so that they brown evenly. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm with honey or syrup and topped with fruit with additional nutritional benefit like blueberries, blackberries or pomegranates.

Ana Sofia Pelaez will be running her 2nd New York City marathon this Sunday. Last year, she fueled her run with Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash.

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