Buckwheat is a fruit seed that is harvested from a flowering plant related to rhubarb. It is often confused with being a grain because of the grain-like way it is cooked and used. Buckwheat is also called a pseudocereal “super-seed”. Why pseudo? Well, the definition of cereal grain is that it grows on grasses. Buckwheat does not grow on grasses, it grows on flowering plant.
But, besides its complicated classification, why is buckwheat worth talking about? First, it is delicious! But, also, despite what the name says, it does not contain wheat, and it is gluten-free. With more and more people diagnosed as celiac or gluten-intolerant, buckwheat has become a popular staple in many people's diets.
Buckwheat is considered a superfood because of its amazing nutritional properties. Indeed, it is a good source of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fibers. It also contains vitamins, like folate, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. Its nutritional profile is responsible for many health benefits, including better cardiovascular health, improved digestion, and weight management (1).
Buckwheat comes in many forms. For example, buckwheat groats are the hulled seed of the plant, and buckwheat flour is made by grounding the seed hulls. Read ahead to learn more about the different forms and how you can cook buckwheat!
1. Use Buckwheat Flour to Make Your Favorite Baked Goods
Baking with buckwheat is a little bit like a form of art. You have to do it carefully, or you might end up with a cake of a suspicious color and hard as a rock. However, do not let that scare you! There are many well-designed recipes online that you can follow for a guaranteed result. And if you want to try it on your own, more power to you! You will see, once you master baking with buckwheat, you will never go back.
There are two types of buckwheat flour: the first one is made from hulled buckwheat and has a light color. The second one is made from unhulled buckwheat and is much darker.
(Picture - Buckwheat Banana Bread made with Eat To Live Buckwheat Banana Bread Mix)
Let's go over a few things you should know before using buckwheat flour in your cake recipe. First, if you transform a regular recipe into a gluten-free one, you should not replace all the wheat flour with buckwheat flour. The result will be ugly and not very tasty.
As a general rule, it is fine to replace 25% of the wheat flour with buckwheat flour. The good news is that you will still enjoy the health benefits of buckwheat, even if you consume it in smaller amounts.
100% gluten-free cakes are usually not made only with buckwheat flour. Most include other types of flour, like quinoa, rice or almond flour.
If you want to make buckwheat pancakes or waffles, it is usually okay to use 100% buckwheat flour.
2. Spruce Up Your Salads with Sprout Buckwheat
Did you know that you can sprout buckwheat? If you have never done it before, do not worry, it is not difficult.
Sprouting buckwheat will change its flavor profile slightly. The germination process will break down the structure of the seed, which changes the way it tastes. It makes it a little less bitter, which you might appreciate if you find the flavor of buckwheat too strong.
The first thing you need to get your hands on to sprout buckwheat is raw groats. If you are unsure whether or not the groats are raw, look at the color. Raw groats have a greenish color, and toasted groats are brown. Eat to Live offer Organic Australian Raw Buckwheat Groats.
To sprout the buckwheat, you need to let them soak for 6 hours in a big bowl of water. Make sure the water to seed ratio is 2:1. Once soaked, drain them well and leave in a bowl covered with clean towel. It takes about 20 to 24 hours for the buckwheat to sprout. Do not forget to rinse everything once or twice a day to avoid bacterial growth.
Once you have your beautiful buckwheat sprouts, you can add them to your favorite salad for a boost of nutrition. They keep great in the fridge for a week.
3. Make Delicious Buckwheat Porridge
Buckwheat porridge is a traditional Eastern European dish, but people in every country enjoy it today. It is full of fibers and complex carbohydrates, making it the perfect breakfast. The carbohydrates will give you the energy you need to start the day.
Because buckwheat is a complex and not a simple carbohydrate, it does not cause a peak in blood sugars or an energy crash later in the day (2). Moreover, the fibers will keep you full for longer, which is great if you have to wait a long time until your next meal.
You can make buckwheat porridge yourself, either by using raw or steamed buckwheat groats. You might see some porridge recipes listing "kasha" under the ingredient list, which is just a pretty name for steamed buckwheat groats.
(Picture - cooked kasha - steamed buckwheat groats)
To make kasha porridge, you need to boil 2 cups of water for 1 cup of steamed buckwheat groats. First, bring your water to a boil, then add the buckwheat and cover. You let this mixture simmer for about 10 minutes. Once it is done, let it sit for another 10 minutes (3). If you prefer creamy porridge, you can also replace some of the water with milk.
Once your kasha porridge is ready, you can top it with a tablespoon of yogurt/sour cream or a teaspoon of butter/olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt flakes. You can also use it as a side dish as a great rice alternative.
If you have a sweet tooth, drizzle it with some maple syrup, honey, or agave syrup and top with berries and fruit.
You can also use raw groats to make warm porridge, but you need to boil 3 cups of water for 1 cup of raw buckwheat groats and cook it about twice as long. You should know that some people find hot porridge better when prepared with kasha.
(Picture - cooked raw buckwheat)
Raw buckwheat porridge made with rolled buckwheat flakes is a good alternative if you prefer eating a cold breakfast. It takes minimal effort to make, and it is perfect on the go since it requires very minimal preparation in the morning. All you have to do is soak 1 cup of rolled buckwheat in 2 cups of milk of your choice in a bowl overnight, in the fridge. In the morning, you can add your favorite toppings. For example, you could add fruits, chia seeds, almonds, and coconut sugar!
4. Enjoy Some Homemade Granola
Granola is an all-time favorite! It is easy to make, and there are many ways to eat it for snack or breakfast.
For example, you can eat granola the same way as cereal. Put some granola in a bowl and add some milk. You can also toss in berries, like raspberries or cut-up strawberries. Granola is also delicious on top of a smoothie bowl. Smoothies are usually high in sugars, and granolas can make them a more balanced meal by adding healthy fats and proteins.
Granola is also great on top of yogurt with some fruits. You can make a beautiful yogurt parfait if you are feeling extra fancy! Another tasty suggestion is to add it to your ice cream for a decadent dessert (but nobody would judge you if you had it for breakfast).
Buckwheat puffs are often used in granola recipes, but did you know that our Eat To Live buckwheat cakes can take your granola to another level? Our favorite recipe only takes 10 minutes, and we are pretty sure you will want to make a second batch as soon as you finish eating the first one!
In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup of almond flakes, 1/2 cup of coconut flakes, ¼ pumpkin seeds and 1/3 cup of cranberries. Crumble four buckwheat cakes and add them with one teaspoon of cinnamon. Finally, pour 40 g of honey and 20 g of melted coconut into the dry ingredients, and mix everything. Bake at 100 degrees Celsius for eight minutes. Mix the granola at the halfway mark to make sure it bakes evenly. And there you have it: the perfect granola recipe!
5. Channel Your Inner Italian with Buckwheat Pasta
Nothing is more delicious than homemade pasta. However, if you have to stick to a gluten-free diet, fresh pasta might be a rare luxury. Very few grocery stores carry it, and most restaurants do not make it.
So why not take it upon yourself and make some delicious buckwheat pasta at home! Regular pasta is made only with flour and eggs, and the recipe is pretty much the same for buckwheat pasta. There are a few recipes online that you can try. Some have additional ingredients to make up for the lack of gluten in the flour, which usually gives pasta their distinctive texture.
If you do not feel like cooking too much, you can always order Buckwheat and Brown Rice Noodles or Buckwheat Sweet Potato Noodles from Eat To Live store.
You can make a traditional Bolognese to go with buckwheat pasta or noodles. Another great way to eat your buckwheat pasta is by adding pesto, chicken, olives, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese.
6. Blend Your Buckwheat
If you want to get extra creative, blend some buckwheat puffs or even our buckwheat cakes. It is the perfect way to add buckwheat to your favorite recipes and up their nutritional value.
The first thing you can do with the blended mixture is to use it like breadcrumbs. It is a great gluten-free alternative to traditional panko, and you can make meatballs, chicken cutlets, and even fish sticks with it!
Bliss balls are another way to use the blended mixture. They make a great snack for your kids' lunches. They do not need to be kept cold, and they are well-balanced with healthy fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. They will provide your little ones with all the energy they need to get through long school days!
7. Try Our Wonderful Buckwheat Cakes
Individuals who eat gluten-free are always looking for the next best bread alternative. Not all gluten-free breads are made equal, and some are much tastier than others. Buckwheat bread in particular can be difficult to make at home, and if you decide to tackle the task, it will take you a long time. It is definitely is not practical to do it every week.
If you have been looking for a bread alternative, look no further! Our Eat to Live buckwheat cakes are gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan, paleo-friendly, and made with organic buckwheat. They are also low in sodium and calories. They are a much easier alternative to bread, and they do not compromise on taste. You will not miss the bread, we promise!
We have a wide range of buckwheat cakes for you to choose from. For example, you can get them with hemp seeds, plant omegas, or even with no added salt. We gave you a few recipe ideas in this article, but there are other ways to eat them. For example, you can use them as toast. Spread your favorite peanut butter on top and add some blueberries for extra antioxidants. You can also use them to make your favorite sandwich!
And there you have it: how to cook with buckwheat. Hopefully, this article gave you the inspiration you needed to make buckwheat a new kitchen staple in your home. The options are almost limitless: cakes, pancakes, muffins, bliss balls, pasta, granolas, porridges...
Buckwheat has a lot of nutritional value, and it is definitely worth learning how to cook with it. For example, it is a great source of carbohydrates if you are celiac and cannot eat gluten. It is also high in fibers and antioxidants. Remember, you do not have to add a lot of buckwheat to your meals to enjoy the benefits. A small amount will go a long way!