Technically, buckwheat isn’t a grain but a distant relative of rhubarb; the groats are simply the hulled kernels. They are often sold toasted (in which case they are called kasha, a staple in Eastern European cooking) but in this case I am using plain buckwheat groats. It is a gluten-free grain, making it a perfect choice for those who have celiac disease or any kind of gluten sensitivity.
If a grain can be adorable, buckwheat is: the kernels look like petite pyramids:
You almost hate to cook it, but you must, because the results are delicious. You can use buckwheat in almost any recipe you already have and love that calls for whole grains–think whole grain salads, like tabbouleh, pilafs, soups, stews, stir-fries. It can be ground into a versatile fuss- and gluten-free flour, too, perfect for whole grain cakes like my One-Bowl Banana Buckwheat Cake.
To make a basic batch, simply use one part whole groats to two parts boiling water or broth, adding a pinch of fine sea salt to taste. First, stir the buckwheat groats in a lightly oiled pot over medium-high heat until they are dark and toasty, then add the simmering water or broth and salt. bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for about 20-25 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Easy.
But if you need to narrow the possibilities, start with cereal, specifically warm Fruit & Cinnamon Buckwheat Cereal. If you are already partial to porridge, you will fall–hard–for this new option. The grains maintain have a deep, earthy flavor that favors warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger; the taste is mellow morning bliss once the grains have simmered in milk. It’s one of my new favorite post-workout breakfasts, especially on the days when I come close to chewing the steering wheel on the drive home.
The only drawback to buckwheat-for-breakfast in porridge form is the time: about 30 minutes. But here’s the solution: unlike porridge made from rolled oats, buckwheat porridge can be made ahead–shove a batch to the back of the stove to simmer while you make dinner the night or weekend before, cool, and store in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave for a minute in the morning and you have a handy breakfast. For breakfast on the go, portion the cooked porridge into lidded jars and heat up at the office. Try not to gloat (too much) as you eat. Enjoy!
- 1 cup buckwheat groats, rinsed
- 2-1/2 cups nondairy or dairy milk of choice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 large tart-sweet apple, peeled and grated
- ¼ cup raisins or dried cranberries
- Optional: extra fruit (e.g., sliced bananas, diced apples) maple syrup and extra milk
- In a large saucepan combine the buckwheat, milk, cinnamon, and salt.
- ring to a boil.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 20 minutes or until soft and tender and almost all of the liquid is absorbed.
- Stir in grated apple and raisins and cook, stirring once or twice, for 5 minutes longer.
- Serve, with extra fruit (e.g, diced apples or sliced bananas), maple syrup and/or extra milk, if desired.
- If Making Ahead: Cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Reheat in a saucepan or the microwave, adding 1 tablespoon of water for each serving.