If you are in search of a new and different grain look no further.
Buckwheat is a relatively unknown food for many, but one you’ll be glad you tried.
With an unusual triangular shape, it is not actually a grain but can mimic one.
In order for it to be eaten it requires having the outer hull removed kind of like rice.
This process exposes the inner seed known as the buckwheat groats.
What is Buckwheat?
Buckwheat is superfood and comes from a plant that is grown for the grain like seeds it produces.
Despite its name, is not at all related to wheat even though it can be used to create a flour.
It is full of nutrition, versatile in its uses, and good for people who want a gluten free diet.
It can be eaten in place of wheat, barley, oats, or rye.
Is Buckwheat Gluten Free?
Yes! Buckwheat is absolutely gluten free, and a very good option for those who suffer from celiacs disease.
It also contains many of the nutrients provided by grains that have gluten, making buckwheat a perfect substitution for gluten free meals.
For example soba noodles from Japan are a great way to have a noodle that is completely gluten free.
Buckwheat can be good for heart health, reducing LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol, at the same time as lessening inflammation.
Containing rutin, which helps stabilize blood pressure, the benefits to the heart are clear.
Since buckwheat is low on the glycemic index, meaning it is digested, metabolized, and absorbed more slowly than other foods.
It protects against spikes in blood glucose, and insulin – meaning you will have a more consistent flow of energy.
Buckwheat has a ton of fiber which is very good for gut health.
The antioxidants in buckwheat have been shown to protect against cancer by protecting cells from free radical damage.
And just for good measure, we can’t forget the vitamin B6, zinc, folate, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, and magnesium that this food provides.
How to Cook Buckwheat
The following is how to prepare buckwheat, as well as to cooking it.
First you want to make sure that you rinse and drain the buckwheat well by placing in a sieve and run under water.
Another good tip is to soak for an hour or so before cooking, this will help it be easier to digest.
Buckwheat is cooked similarly to rice in water and allowing the water to cook off until done.
Place a cup of buckwheat into a pot and at 1¾ to 2 cups water, preferably cold water.
Add a pinch of salt to ½ teaspoon of salt depending on the taste you prefer.
Place on high heat until you have boiling water, at which point turn down to a medium heat to simmer.
Cover pot until water is absorbed and buckwheat fully cooked.
Remove from heat. Cooking times are usually about 20 to 22 minutes.
When done you can add a tablespoon of olive oil, or butter, and add any additional salt and pepper.
The buckwheat can be eaten in this form as part of your main dish, side dish, or even as part of a stir fry.
Buckwheat Salad Recipe
- Place raw buckwheat in a medium pot. Add ½ tsp salt and the water.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down heat to a simmer, cover pot.
- Cook until water is absorbed, and buckwheat is done.
- Remove from heat and cool.
- Dice tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet pepper, and lettuce. Chop onions.
- Place all vegetables in a salad bowl.
- Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and remaining salt.
- Stir in buckwheat until well mixed.
Nutrition Per Serving
What Does Buckwheat Taste Like?
Buckwheat can have a bit of a strong flavour and why many people end up toasting buckwheat.
Once toasted it is known as buckwheat kasha.
Nutty, earthy flavor, once cooked can be included successfully in a morning cereal with maple syrup.
Buckwheat flour used in breads, and pancakes also passes along the characteristic nutty flavor for a different option.
Where to Buy Buckwheat
You can buy buckwheat in most grocery stores.
Most likely you’ll find it in the speciality foods section.
My favorite brand is Anthony’s Organic Buckwheat Groats.
And this 5lb bag lasts a while!