Buckwheat is an amazing food that I have just discovered within the last two years. It is super versatile and adds a slightly nutty taste to dishes. Although it’s called buckWHEAT is is not at all related to wheat. Buckwheat is actually the seed of a flowering fruit that is related to rhubarb and sorrel. It’s therefore absolutely gluten–free and safe to eat for people with celiac disease.
Raw buckwheat groats are my favorites; they have a light color and are edible without cooking them. You should always soak raw buckwheat before preparing for optimal nutrient assimilation. Some health food stores carry already sprouted buckwheat, so give that a try if you are pressed for time. Toasted buckwheat has a darker appearance and it’s flavor might be too strong for some people- it has an intense taste like darkly toasted bread or beer (In fact, buckwheat has been used to create gluten-free beers).
Dehulled, unroasted buckwheat seed, or groat, can be milled into grits and used as a creamy breakfast porridge. You can buy it ready made or blend groats into flour in a blender. When groats are roasted, they are called kasha. In addition, kasha and groats can be baked, steamed or boiled and used as an alternative to potatoes and rice.
Buckwheat is energizing and nutritious and available throughout the year. It is very hardy, which makes it resistant to damage and therefore relatively inexpensive and easy to grow.
Buckwheat is high in protein& fiber, high in fatigue-fighting iron, bone-healthy calcium, immune system-boosting manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, and many other nutrients. Buckwheat is also a good source of a powerful flavonoid, rutin, which has been shown to protect against blood clots. It also contains the important omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. Similar to whole grains, it is a great source of heart-healthy fiber, which helps keep you full longer. It also provides hunger-satisfying protein without any of the cholesterol or saturated fat that animal protein contains. Plus, it offers eight essential amino acids, making this complete protein a smart nutritional choice for vegetarians.
You can use buckwheat in savory and sweet recipes. Mix, for example, cold cooked buckwheat groats with herbs, chopped vegetables, nuts and drizzle with your favorite vinaigrette. You can simply add raw, soaked groats to soups.
Soaking buckwheat takes only 15 minutes. Soak the groats in cold water, then rinse them well and drain them. Done. Simple. Fast.
Here are a few other ideas how you can use buckwheat:
soaked raw buckwheat groats with cashew strawberry cream
I had plain coconut yogurt in the fridge and pureed it with some almond milk, cashews, vanilla powder, bit of manuka honey and strawberries in the blender until creamy. I stored it overnight in the fridge, topped it in the morning with buckwheat groats, that I had soaked the night before and dried on a paper towel overnight (which you don’t have to do, soaking alone is fine). the kids added puffed rice, wheat germ and drizzled some more honey on it. I was fine with my less sweat version.
Use Bob’s Red Mill creamy breakfast porridge and top with fresh banana slices, chopped nuts, chia seeds and maple syrup.
buckwheat polenta pancakes
These pancakes are known as buckwheat blinis in Russia and galettes in France. Mine are simply called pancakes :). I spiced up the recipe with some polenta, which tasted delicious.
soba noodles with creamy avocado sauce
This is one of our all time favorite sauces for noodles. It tastes super fresh and is made within 5 minutes. Soba noodles are thin, brown to grey, Japanese noodles made of wheat and buckwheat flour. Soba noodles can be served with various toppings, hot in a soup broth or chilled, and served with a dipping sauce, scallions and wasabi. They can also be used in stir fries and salads.
Basil leaves contain health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene, and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
sugar-free buckwheat cranberry bars
These bars are very simple to make, as all my recipes. They are a combination of nut butter, buckwheat groats, seeds, puffed grains and dried fruits. Very tasty, slightly chewy and crunchy and a perfect snack to take along or send to school.
Hope you are having fun trying out my new buckwheat recipes.