I am 41 years old and how I didn’t know this is beyond me. When I think of buckwheat, I think of pancakes and pancakes are usually made with flour, right? I thought buckwheat was some kind of whole grain flour, but that’s not the case at all!
Buckwheat is not a wheat at all, instead it is related to, of all things-rhubarb, sorrels and other weeds and flowers. It is not a grain and not a wheat, it’s a seed! I was so happy to hear that I might actual be able to eat something that feels bad for me, ie pancakes or crepes, but isn’t!
The uses for buckwheat are endless, from using the groats to make porridge or kasha varnishkas (Russian), to making noodles, in particular soba noodles (Japanese), to making crepes or pancakes, which is done all over the world.
The health benefits of buckwheat are vast. It’s high in antioxidants and has been proven to lower cholesterol. It is high in vitamins such as manganese and magnesium and since it is a whole “grain”, it is naturally high in fiber.
Buckwheat is used the world over, so give it a try and make it your new food discovery by trying a variety of dishes, such as this easy recipe for Soba Noodles with Dipping Sauce:
- 1 pound buckwheat (soba) noodles or whole wheat spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil (eyeball it)
- 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
- (4 generous handfuls)
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 4 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
- 2/3 cup tamari (dark soy sauce)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- A few dashes hot pepper sauce
- One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shiitakes and stir-fry until softened, 2 to 3 minutes; season with salt. Remove from the heat and stir in the scallions and sesame seeds. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine 2/3 cup warm water and the tamari, honey and hot sauce. Divide the sauce among 4 dipping bowls and add the ginger and garlic slices.
Toss the noodles with the shiitake mixture. To serve, pile one-quarter of the noodles on each of 4 large plates and place the dipping bowls alongside.
If it’s breakfast you’re after or even a breakfast/brunch idea, try Rach’s savory Grilled Ham and Cheese Waffles
- 2 cups buckwheat pancake and waffle mix
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2-2 cups reduced fat milk or 2% milk, divided
- 1 tablespoon dried herbes de Provence or 3 tablespoons fresh herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme), finely chopped
- 1/3 pound Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 3/4-1 cup)
- 1/4 pound mild deli ham, sliced and chopped
- Salt and white pepper
- 1 scant tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Warm honey, for drizzling or 4 eggs, up or over
Combine the waffle mix with the melted butter, eggs, 1 1/2 cups milk and the herbs. Once well-combined, stir in the cheese and ham and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the mustard and a little more milk, until just pourable. Cook in the waffle iron until crisp, then top with warm honey or an egg up or over.
Rosemary Maggiore is our Last Minute Lady. A single mom of two kids plus a full time job (she runs this website!) keep her busy and usually pushing things to the last minute. Somehow she manages to keep her cool and her sanity while she enjoys good food, wine, friends and most importantly, family.
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