Amaranth greens were a staple in pre-Hispanic Mexico until the Spanish friars declared amaranth a forbidden crop because the seeds were used by the indigenous people to form replicas of their gods. Thankfully, nutritious amaranth is now cultivated for its seeds, used in candy and cereal. The leaves are also widely used, especially in southern Puebla and Oaxaca, as a vegetable dish or an ingredient in soups and stews. Spinach may be substituted if amaranth leaves are unavailable.
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium large white onion, peeled and cut into thin crescents
- 3 poblano chiles, roasted, seeded, peeled and torn into strips (rajas)
- 3 pounds quintoniles or spinach leaves, lightly seamed and squeezed dry
- ½ cup queso fresco or ricotta cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter, add the onion and sauté until nearly soft. Add the chile strips and continue cooking for 5 more minutes.
Add the quintoniles or spinach and cook until heated through. Add the cheese, salt and pepper to taste. This is excellent served as a side dish with roast pork. Serves 6.