I bet you heard of quinoa, brown rice, and faro (thanks to ever present media). What about buckwheat? Many of you might say “of course, buckwheat pancakes, muffins, soba noodles, and even honey”. But what about eating buckwheat on its own, as in Buckwheat Granola, for example?
Before we go any further, let’s get one thing straight. Buckwheat is not a grain. It is a seed. While ‘wheat’ is part of its name, it bears no relation to any member of the wheat household. It is, actually a member of rhubarb family. As such, it is a true gluten-free food.
Small pyramid-shaped kernels of buckwheat pack not only a unique flavor but a nutritiously-rich punch as well, being a good source of minerals such as magnesium, copper, and zinc. How about B vitamins including folate? Check. Having buckwheat for breakfast, or any other meal for that matter, will make you feel full thanks to its high soluble fiber content. Your gut flora will be forever thankful to you for eating buckwheat. However, all the nasty viruses, harmful bacteria, and yeasts will avoid you like a plague. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
While its nutrition composition is quite impressive, what about the taste? When used in baked goods, true flavor of buckwheat is overshadowed by other ingredients. But when enjoyed on its own, the robust, nutty, and somewhat smoky taste of buckwheat shines unhindered. By itself, buckwheat would feel a little dry to your palate. So, traditionally, it would be served with sauces or a dollop of sour cream.
One of my favorite ways to eat it is in Toasted Buckwheat Granola for breakfast. Here, buckwheat combines eloquently with other ingredients, yet it does not overpower this breakfast meal with its pronounced flavor. Mixing it with yogurt (or kefir) and a bit of honey makes all the difference here in taste. Crunch of cashews and chia seed, and chewiness of dried fruits – sweet & tart goji berries in addition to tropical mango – will warrant for an interesting culinary experience.
And the fact that it is best prepared the night before makes it an even more appealing choice for busy mornings. Is there a better way to start your day?
- toasting buckwheat before cooking it intensifies its flavor. I prefer to buy un-toasted organic buckwheat (it is beige in color, not dark brown) and then toast it myself. But pre-toasted buckwheat will work too. Just re-toast it for 1-2 minutes using any of the methods described below
- there are two ways you can toast buckwheat.
- preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC). Place buckwheat onto a dry baking sheet. Bake for 7-10 minutes or till browned.
- heat a large skillet over a medium heat. Add buckwheat, decrease the heat to low-medium and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring constantly till browned.
- 1 cup toasted buckwheat (see Heads Up)
- 2 cups water
- pinch of salt
- 4 cups plain kefir or yogurt, plus extra for serving
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup, plus extra for serving
- 4 teaspoons hemp seed (optional)
- ½ cup diced dried mango
- ½ cup goji berries
- ½ cup chopped cashews
- 1 tablespoon of chia seed
- Place toasted buckwheat on a cutting board and lightly crush with the rolling pin.
- Put crushed buckwheat into a medium saucepan. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer stirring frequently till water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and add a pinch of salt. Let the buckwheat cool to room temperature.
- Divide diced dried mango and goji berries among four breakfast bowls.
- Add kefir (or yogurt) and maple syrup to buckwheat and mix well. Divide evenly between 4 bowls. Stir kasha in each bowl briefly to incorporate dried fruit. Refrigerate overnight.
- Before serving top each bowl with chopped cashews and chia seed. Serve with more of kefir (or yogurt) and honey (or maple syrup) on the side.