Buckwheat, Gluten Free Superfood
Don’t judge buckwheat (fagopyrum esculentum) by its wheaty sounding name. Never obvious, Mother Nature likes to have fun when it comes to identifying her creations. So even though buckwheat looks and tastes like a grain, it’s actually an edible seed. And it comes from a lovely plant with heart-shaped leaves and teensy white blooms. Classified as a pseudocereal—-like quinoa and amaranth—-buckwheat is an ancient food, tracing back thousands of years to southwest China and the Himalayan region. And yes, it’s gluten-free.
A wholesome and satisfying food, France, Italy, and eastern european cultures, relied on buckwheat as a dietary staple for centuries. With a full-bodied earthy flavor, it’s easy to like from the first spoonful. Incredibly versatile, it can be crafted into a potpourri of main and side dishes, even desserts. When it comes to recognizing this special seed’s value and far-reaching potential, Americans are a little behind on the buckwheat bandwagon.
Just how healthy is buckwheat? Weighing in at substantial 23 grams of protein a cup, it contains an abundance of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and calcium. It’s also said to improve heart health, lower blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and may contain anti-cancer properties. Additionally, if you have a garden, you may want to read about the many perks of growing buckwheat, from Attainable Sustainable.
As a super-food, this nutritious seed is more versatile than most. It’s crafted into flour, cereal, noodles, groats (split and whole); buckwheat is available in so many incarnations, its recipe potential is vast and continuously evolving.
Here are a few simple buckwheat recipes to get you started.
Yields 3 servings
1/2 Cup Buckwheat Groats
1 1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Sliced Portobello Mushrooms
4 Small White Onions, Finely Chopped
1/4 Cup Dry Brown Lentils (or cooked)
Olive Oil to Fry
Dash Sea Salt
Dash White Pepper
If using dry lentils, cook for approximately 20 -30 minutes until medium soft, drain and set aside. Before cooking buckwheat, lightly toast in a skillet with a small amount of oil. Then, combine buckwheat and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Then cover pot and shut off flame. Let sit for approx 5-7 minutes, until water is absorbed. In a frying pan, sauté onions and mushrooms in oil until golden brown. In a separate bowl, combine drained lentils and buckwheat, then mix in the pan with onions and mushrooms until evenly distributed. Add a dash of sea salt, pepper, and optional garlic powder to taste. Enjoy as a savory breakfast, main or side dish.
Sweet Buckwheat Crepes
Yields 6 Crepes (approximately 3 servings for breakfast, or 6 dessert)
1/2 Cup Buckwheat Flour
1 Egg or Vegan Egg Substitute
1/2 Cup Cow’s or Almond/Coconut/Soy Unsweetened Milk
¼ Tsp Vanilla Extract
Grapeseed Oil, as Needed
Dash of Sea Salt
Water, if Needed
1 Cup Sliced Strawberries
1 Large Sliced Banana, or 2 Small Bananas
Almond Butter, as Desired
Optional: Coconut Cream, as Desired
Beat egg, vanilla, and milk, in a bowl until blended. Slowly add flour, mixing until smooth and creamy. Make sure to stir out any lumps. The consistency should resemble a light smoothie. If the batter is too thick, add water as needed, or else more milk. Lightly coat surface of pan with batter… They will cook very quickly. Once tiny bubbles appear, flip. Fill crepes with a layer of almond butter, topped with strawberries and bananas. Optional: add dollop of coconut cream. Serve for breakfast or dessert.
*As an alternative filling: try adding cooked apples, pears, and cinnamon.
Yields - 3 -4 servings
1/2 Cup Split Buckwheat Groats
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/8 Cup Dry Currents
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond or Coconut milk
1 Cup Water
Combine buckwheat, currents, water and cinnamon, in a saucepan. Stir, and bring to a boil. Then shut off flame, cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes. When buckwheat has reached desired creaminess, transfer to a bowl and pour cool milk on top. Enjoy for breakfast. If you’d like extra sweetness, add honey or stevia.
Buckwheat and Yoga
Buckwheat’s wellness benefits extend beyond your plate and onto your pillow… For over 600 years, its hulls have served Yogis and meditators as a beloved pillow filling. Unmatched by cotton or fiberfill, buckwheat possess a truly rare gift... the ability to adapt to different temperatures with ease: warm in winter, cool in summer. Instead of a small pillow to tuck under your sits bones, try our Crystal Cove Yoga Bolster. It’s filled to the brim with buckwheat, and ample enough to support your entire body with dreamy body-hugging comfort.