Despite its name, buckwheat doesn’t contain wheat. It’s a gluten-free seed shaped like plump, round, micro-pyramids. These little guys contain eight essential amino acids, including tryptophan, which helps elevate mood and mental clarity (happyhappy), so keep it stocked in your pantry for recipes like warm cereal and creamy risotto. You should always soak buckwheat before preparing for optimal nutrient assimilation, but know that some health food stores carry already sprouted buckwheat, so give that a try if you are pressed for time. But YU probably know I recommend that you try sprouting it at home because it’s easy and fun to do. Toasting buckwheat before you prepare also lends a really nice flavor to recipes so let’s try it out…
Makes: 4 servings
Pot with lid
Glass bowl for soaking
Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why.
1 cup hulled buckwheat groats (will yield about 2-2 1/2 cups cooked)
2 cups pure water
Pinch sea salt or
Small piece of kombu
Let’s get started.
Soak your buckwheat overnight in a bowl of pure water—you want the water to be about 2-3″ above the buckwheat.
Soaked buckwheat becomes what is known as “mucilaginous”—an appetizing term for “egg-white-like” or “gooey.” This is normal and common with other seeds you may know of like flax and chia. This “gelatin shield” is the seeds way of storing water for sprouting and growth. It makes these foods beneficial for our digestive tracts (lubricating/hydrating), and in the case of flax and chia, this coating makes a great egg replacer for dairy-free baking.
If you’d like to, you can sprout (here’s how) your soaked (and rinsed) buckwheat for a day or two. This boosts the nutrients and you can eat it raw in salads or cereals. You can also dehydrate sprouted buckwheat (this is what the health food stores do) and keep it on-hand as a salad booster or grind it into flour for pancakes. Of course, you’ll need a dehydrator for these preparations.
After sprouting, you can cook your buckwheat, but know that the heat will diminish some of the nutritional properties— sprouting first will ultimately optimize assimilation/digestion so I recommend it if you can.
Now let’s cook. If after all of my nudges (and links showing you how to soak and/or sprout buckwheat), you still haven’t soaked or sprouted your buckwheat, but you are ready to get to cookin’ it, you can toast it first. The heat helps to break down some of the enzyme inhibitors, and the toasting lends a nice flavor to cooked buckwheat. So, put a tiny bit of unrefined coconut oil in the bottom of your pot and toast the unsoaked buckwheat over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes before you add the water (see the next steps below).
If you soaked/sprouted (bravo), place well-rinsed buckwheat (or toasted), 2 cups pure water and a pinch of salt or kombu (doesn’t alter flavor, so you can use it for sweet recipes—it just adds essential trace minerals).
Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover, reduce heat and continue on a slow rolling boil for 10-15 minutes until all water is absorbed.
It will take less time for soaked buckwheat to cook, and more for unsoaked. Keep an eye on it, you don’t want to go off to check emails and come back to burned buckwheat (which I do all too often). A little bit of burned buckwheat on the bottom of a pot ruins the whole batch. Check in every few minutes, after the 10-minute mark. Quick peeks though, so you don’t release all that good cookin’ steam.
When all water is absorbed, turn off stove, remove from heat and allow buckwheat to sit with the lid on for about 5 minutes.
Remove lid and fluff with a fork.
Store in the fridge in an airtight glass container until you are ready to use. I usually make some and keep it on hand to use when I want to throw a recipe together like the ones below. Once refrigerated, buckwheat can sometimes clump together, just break it up with a fork, either cool or warmed over the stove.
Keeping pre-cooked basics like buckwheat, quinoa and legumes in the fridge makes your week that much easier—success is all about planning ahead.
Try these gluten-free buckwheat recipes:
Toasted Sesame & Orange Buckwheat Pancake Snackers
Dehydrate sprouted buckwheat and grind up in the food processor to make your own flower (here’s how)
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