I’m super excited about ancient grains: these are the foods that humans have been eating for centuries, and these superfoods are making quite a comeback. There are lots of reasons for this resurgence: more interest in alternative grains (that is, alternatives to wheat and corn) due to the gluten-free eating trend, general interest in more allergy-friendly foods, and just more fascination in a diet based on a larger variety of foods.
I’ve written a lot about these grains over the years – check out the list at the end of the article to learn the how’s and why’s of teff, einkorn, kamut, spelt, and amaranth and more. But today I’m sharing some information about a great (gluten-free) grain called buckwheat.
What is Buckwheat?
Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat and is thus totally safe for those who are intolerant or allergic to gluten.
Like many other ancient grains, buckwheat is botanically a seed, related to some more common foods like sorrel and rhubarb. Buckwheat seeds, called groats, can be found in various forms.
Whole (unhullled) buckwheat is not very common and takes a bit of time to prepare (either grinding into flour or sprouting); the hulls are most often removed and used for pillows!
Hulled buckwheat can be cooked like rice and used in pilafs, porridge, and stuffing.
Kasha is buckwheat that has been toasted and has a nutty, mild
flavor. Buckwheat flour is also available and can be used alone or in combination with other grains for gluten-free baking. Check out the list below for lots of great recipes for whole buckwheat groats, buckwheat flour, and even a recipe for sprouted buckwheat treats!
One of the things that sets buckwheat apart from other grains or seeds it its distinctive earthy, seedy flavor and range of buckwheat recipes. Soba is a type of noodle made with buckwheat flour that is traditional in Japan, often served in miso broth or other rich sauces. Buckwheat is also commonly found in Central Asian foods, such as
blinis, buckwheat crepes from Eastern Europe, or Kasha Varnishkes, a Slavic dish that includes herbs and pasta. Buckwheat is truly an international star– it’s found in foods from Europe, Russia, Nepal, China and India.
And why add buckwheat into your diet? This awesome little seed contains high levels of phosphorus, zinc, copper, selenium and manganese than other cereal grains or pseudo-grains. Buckwheat is also very high in fiber, which helps us with a healthy digestion. Buckwheat measures very low on the glycemic scale, thus making it a good choice for those watching their blood sugar.
7 Buckwheat Recipes to Add to your Life
Recipes for buckwheat abound: here are some of my favorite recipes for buckwheat and buckwheat flour.
From my site, Vibrant Wellness Journal, an easy Homemade Buckwheat Cereal recipe. Similar to granola, but with the distinctive earthy taste of buckwheat groats. I eat this almost everyday! And here’s a high-protein homemade granola made with buckwheat and leftover almond pulp from homemade almond milk.
These Sprouted Buckwheat Bites from Nicole at A Dash of Compassion look truly amazing! Easy, raw, natural treats!
From Green Kitchen Stories, a buckwheat recipe featuring buckwheat flour from one of my favorite vegetarian cooking blogs, a wholesome biscuit recipe featuring oat flour, buckwheat flour, and fresh grated apples. The dough is a bit tricky to work with, so be sure to measure carefully and be patient! Look how lovely these biscuits are:
Even the New York Times sings the praises of buckwheat. Check out this post for links for buckwheat pancakes, recipes with soba noodles (often made with wheat and buckwheat) and more.
Vegetarian Times has a great recipes I’ve used many times for Banana Buckwheat Pancakes. They also feature whole buckwheat groats in a black bean soup, which looks really delicious and cozy for cool weather.
And finally, from Babble, a beautiful buckwheat breakfast porridge as a change from oatmeal! Perfect for cool weather breakfasts and the months move closer to winter.
How to use Freekeh via Care2
How to cook Kaniwa via Care2
Learn to cook with Einkorn via EatDrinkBetter
New Ways to Cook with Spelt via Care2
How to Cook with Teff, the ancient grain of Ethiopia via Care2
Making Perfect Brown Rice without a Rice Cooker via EatDrinkBetter
Learn more about Amaranth from Green UPgrader
A version of this article was originally published on Green UPgrader