Amaranth Hemp Protein Poppers

Inspired by Brendan Brazier’s use of popped amaranth grain in some of his Thrive recipes, I created this bite-sized protein popper which is great for kids and people on-the-go. Popped amaranth (here‘s how) is similar in smell and taste to popcorn, yet micro-adorable in size. It pairs deliciously with buttery nuts and sweet banana. You can store poppers in an airtight glass container in your refrigerator, freezer or you can dehydrate them and keep them in your pantry. Amaranth Hemp Protein Poppers are a great snack to keep with you in your kitchen, office, handbag or car so when hunger hits, you have a healthy option ready for you.

Friendly note: if you are at all adverse to a mess, this may not be a good recipe for you. I find this recipe great for the spirit, in that I always am smiling and laughing when I’m popping amaranth—it’s fun, but inevitably, a few grains will make a run for it and dive beyond the perimeter of the skillet. I sometimes use a plate to deflect the escape attempts (or a pan lid) and it keeps the brave little buggers in, while keeping the fun at a maximum. I have also heard that you can use a wok, air popper or sauce pan to pop amaranth, but I haven’t tried those yet.

Makes: approx: 28-30 poppers  |  Preparation Time: 1hrOptional Dehydration Time: 6-8hrs

Food Processor
Dehydrator (optional)
Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why.
Preferably all nuts have been previously soaked and dehydrated. This recipe will work with soaked, non-dehydrated nuts, but know that the texture will be less crunchy. You can always use raw unsoaked nuts too, but the enzyme inhibitors will still be on the nuts if they are not soaked and they make digestion and assimilation difficult.

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw pecans
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 organic banana
2 tbsp grade B maple syrup (optional for extra sweetness. Can substitute raw yacon syrup or raw honey to taste.)
2 soaked Medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup organic hemp seeds
1/2 cup amaranth

Try these optional add-ins
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cardamom
Pinch cayenne pepper

Let’s Get Started:
Place sunflower seeds, pecans, almonds and salt in the food processor and pulse until chopped (below right). Don’t over process, you want to maintain chunks of nuts. Place nut mix in a large bowl and set aside.


Let’s have some fun now. I think popping amaranth grain is one of the cutest kitchen activities one can participate in. Place your best skillet on high heat and when a drop of water disappears immediately when dropped in, your skillet is ready. Pop amaranth by placing 1 tablespoon of grain in at a time, stirring constantly for about 15 seconds until seeds pop. After they pop, transfer to a bowl and add the next tablespoon of amaranth to the skillet until you get 1 cup of popped amaranth.

Now, I have read that a skillet lightly greased in coconut oil also works well, but my experience has been that an un-greased skillet on high heat yields great results. So I think it depends on the pan and the range you are cooking with. Don’t be discouraged if the grains don’t pop right away, just adjust the temperature until you find the combination that works in your kitchen.


Once all your amaranth is popped, place in a shallow bowl and set aside. Now let’s create a sweet banana date paste to bind our poppers. In the blender, place banana, dates and maple syrup and mix until smooth.


Pour paste into the large bowl with the nuts and mix well. Fold in your hemp seeds.


Using a small spoon, scoop your banana nut and hemp mixture into your popped amaranth. Coat your dollop with popped amaranth, roll in your hand until you have a fully coated ball.


Continue until you have used all of your mixture and popped amaranth.


Store poppers in an airtight glass container in your refrigerator, freezer or you can dehydrate them and keep them in your pantry. If you would like to extend the shelf life of this snack, then dehydrate your poppers for about 6-8 hrs.


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  1. This. Is. BRILLIANT! Seriously, I think these poppers are a really unique and yummy-sounding snack. Some time ago I saw popped amaranth on a travel show, but I had completely forgotten about it until now. Great photos and step-by-step instructions. Thanks so much! My kids would love these. 🙂

  2. TOOOO Cute! I just popped amaranth for the first time, and you are absolutely correct. Messy, but adorable. I used a big spatter screen and it kept most of the little dudes in the pan. It worked pretty well 🙂 I’m still waiting for the final popper product to finish dehydrating, but so far, so good!

  3. Katy

    Why can’t I pop the amaranth? The popped pieces furn while waiting for the others to pop. What am I doing wrong?

    • Katy~
      It could be your pan and it could be timing. Are you using a skillet? I usually use a skillet and heat it up super hot— almost the highest heat. Sometimes, my first spoonful of amaranth will burn instead of pop and I then know that I have to wait til the pan gets even hotter. They should pop almost as soon as you put them in the pan. Make sure to shake the pan back and forth over the burner as they pop. My new trick for keeping them in the pan is holding and shaking the skillet with the right and holding a saucepan lid over top of them.

  4. Anthony

    I made these with walnuts instead of pecans and dollop of peanutbutter instead if hemp. They are very good!

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