I’m excited to partner with Bob’s Red Mill this month. They are another company built on integrity that I am honored to support and share about.
Over the past couple of years, buckwheat has become a favorite nourishing food in my home – both for myself and the kids. It was introduced to me by my friend Sadagat from Azerbaijan. She came to visit my home one afternoon and brought over a big bag of these roasted, kernel type grains. I had never seen them before. She told me that in her country they eat a lot of kasha. She quickly cooked it down on the stovetop, very similar to cooking other grains, and served it with a roasted beet salad and plain yogurt dolloped on top.
It was a delight to see every child at the table devour their kasha with gusto! For me, I immediately fell in love with this “pseudo” grain.
Kasha, as I found out, is the name given for roasted buckwheat kernels.
It’s not a grain but a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel. As long as it hasn’t been cross contaminated with wheat, they can be enjoyed by all of those on a gluten-free diet.
What I especially loved learning about kasha is just how nutrient dense these little kernels are. They are filled with magnesium, fiber, copper, phosphorous, manganese, and protein. The protein in buckwheat is a high quality protein, containing all eight essential amino acids, including lysine. Diets that contain buckwheat promote cardiovascular health, control of blood sugar, and a lower risk of diabetes. It’s a fantastic “grain” and one that I eat regularly for its health benefits and its flavors.
One of the first mistakes I made when purchasing my own buckwheat groats was not knowing that they sell them roasted and un-roasted.
The kernels to the left are un-roasted buckwheat groats. As you can tell they’re paler in color with a slight shade of green. The kernels to the right are roasted buckwheat groats and much darker in color. Once roasted they are then called kasha.
They both taste great and can be purchased from Bob’s Red Mill; however, they definitely taste better cooked in different manners. The un-roasted kernels taste great made into a creamy breakfast porridge where you would expect more delicate flavors that pair well with a sweetener and spices. The roasted buckwheat or kasha tastes much better in savory foods where its nutty flavor can shine through.
In my home, we definitely use more kasha than un-roasted buckwheat groats.
If you are a subscriber to my menu plan service you should be familiar with the meals that I make using kasha. I like to substitute it for rice in dishes, add it to stews cooking in the slow cooker, or even toss it into salads where its nutty flavors can compliment the meal.
Buckwheat groats cook up quite simply. It’s 1 cup of buckwheat to 2 cups of water. Once the water comes to a boil, all you need to do is add the buckwheat and allow it to simmer, uncovered, for about 12-15 minutes. You’ll know it’s done once the buckwheat starts to break open and soften. It fluffs up quite nicely when allowed to rest for 10 minutes or so. Simple.
A Roasted Buckwheat Salad with Dark Leafy Greens and Cranberries
One salad that I’m particularly fond of is a roasted buckwheat salad with dark leafy greens and cranberries. I make if often throughout the year and it always goes over really well especially for those that aren’t familiar with buckwheat. It gives the salad a nice nutty flavor and is complimented quite nicely by the sweetness in the cranberries and dark leafy greens.
This is a simple salad to make that highlights the flavors of roasted buckwheat.
- 1/2 cup kasha, roasted buckwheat
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 large handfuls dark leafy greens such as swiss chard, kale, or spinach
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 3 tbls extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbls red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp large granule salt
- In a medium sized heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add the buckwheat, 1 tsp of salt, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer the buckwheat, uncovered, for 12-15 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated and the buckwheat has softened and cooked through.
- In a large salad bowl, toss together the cooked buckwheat, dark leafy greens, cranberries, olive oil, vinegar, and salt.
A Bob’s Red Mill Giveaway!
I’m so excited to share that Bob’s Red Mill is going to give away to a My Humble Kitchen reader one, $50 gift certificate PLUS a bag of whole grain buckwheat groats and a bag of kasha, both organic and certified gluten-free! It’s simple to enter. Just follow the instructions on the rafflecopter below!