What is buckwheat? Keep reading to find out! We’re covering everything from what it is, whether it’s good for you, how to cook it, how to use it, and more! One read through, and you’ll be swapping out all your grains for buckwheat recipes that are every bit as tasty, full of nutrients, and always gluten free!
Part 2 of our Gluten Free Grains Month, this blog is part of our Buckwheat series in which we teach you what it is, how to use it, and more to spread knowledge about gluten free grains and help make it easier to follow a gluten free diet without missing out on delicious meals the whole family can enjoy!
What’s Better than Buckwheat?
Okay, y’all, it’s time to address the elephant in the room, and that’s the fact that many of us have been ignoring buckwheat. Over here at the Cotter Crunch team, we think it’s time we gave it the credit it deserves! So, we’re giving you a full week of buckwheat-related posts to help this grain shine. After all, not only is it gluten free, but it’s also extremely nutrient-rich, high in fiber, and contains a solid amount of protein with 13.3 grams per serving.
Plus, it’s so easy to use! If you haven’t given it a try, we highly recommend you do. You won’t regret it, promise! That’s because buckwheat is extremely versatile and can be included in recipes to replace rice, couscous, potatoes, pasta, and more. Eat it as cereal, mix toasted buckwheat groats into a salad for a little extra crunch, turn it into noodles…honestly, the options are endless, and oh so tasty!
So, before we ramble on any further (we’re passionate about this grain, okay?), let’s cover the primary question of, “What is buckwheat.”
What Is Buckwheat, Anyway?
If you missed our gluten free grains post, be sure to go back and take a look! We went into detail about all 7 of our top gluten free grain options. However, in the meantime, we’ll just give you the basics.
Is It a Carb or a Protein?
With 71.5 grams of carbs, 13.25 grams of protein, and 3.4 grams of fat per 100 grams, buckwheat is considered a carb. However, with 10 grams of fiber, it contains a high amount of resistant starches which are not completely absorbed by the body and offer additional health benefits.
What Does It Taste Like?
Most commonly, cooked buckwheat is described as having a nutty flavor similar to that of wheat or rye.
What are Buckwheat Groats?
If you noticed I referred to buckwheat as buckwheat groats, you might’ve been a little confused. Are they two different things? Not quite! You see, buckwheat groats are simply the hulled seeds of the buckwheat plant that we use for cooking.
Nutrition Myth: Despite its name, buckwheat does not contain and has no relation to wheat!
Buckwheat Health Benefits…Is it Good for You?
As mentioned, buckwheat is a good source of whole grain carbs and fiber. However, it’s also loaded with vitamins and minerals including magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium. As a result, it can help prevent heart disease, assist with weight loss or weight management, improve digestion, help manage diabetes, boost your immune system, and more! (Source)
How to Cook Buckwheat (+ Video)
We know learning how to cook buckwheat can be intimidating but promise it’s super easy! All you have to do is boil the grains in a pot on a stovetop. Or, cook them in an Instant Pot or slow cooker. Okay, so there are clearly several methods, but the same principles apply to each. Pick your favorite way to cook, and get all the details below!
Note: Sea salt helps improve the flavor of your buckwheat groats and can help speed up the time it takes the water to boil.
Water Ratio: 1:1.5 – This means that for every 1 cup of buckwheat groats you’ll need 1.5 cups of water.
- Place your water in a saucepan over high heat, and bring it to a boil.
- Add your buckwheat groats and a small pinch of sea salt.
- Bring the water and buckwheat to a boil again, and cover the pan with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the buckwheat is tender.
Cooking Tip: Check your buckwheat for doneness after 8 minutes of cooking.
- Once the buckwheat is cooked to your liking, drain off any excess water.
Instant Pot Option
Water Ratio: 1:1.75 – This means that for every 1 cup of buckwheat groats you’ll need 1.75 cups of water.
- Place both the water and the buckwheat groats in the Instant Pot.
- Close the lid, and set it to cook manually on High pressure for 5 minutes.
- Then, allow for 10-15 minutes of natural release before using the quick-release setting to finish releasing the remaining pressure.
- Drain off any excess water.
Slow Cooker Option
Water Ratio: 1:2 – This means that for every 1 cup of buckwheat groats you’ll need 2 cups of water.
- Place both the buckwheat groats and the water in the slow cooker.
- Cover with a lid, and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours (or until the buckwheat is soft and tender).
- Drain off any excess water.
Pro-Tip: For a warm, cereal-like porridge option, substitute the water in each cooking method for your favorite non-dairy milk of choice!
Storage & Reheating Tips
Unlike other grains, uncooked buckwheat is best kept in the fridge for 2-3 months or freezer for up to 6 months. This helps prevent any moisture from seeping in and prevents bugs.
Cooked: Store prepared buckwheat in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to Reheat
The easiest way to reheat cooked buckwheat is to warm it in the microwave in intervals of 30 seconds until the desired temperature is reached. However, you can also add it to a skillet with butter, oil, or non-stick spray. For the best results, cover the skillet with a lid.
Before we start, let’s first make it clear that mushy buckwheat is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, many people prefer it this way! However, if you like slightly firmer buckwheat groats, be sure to pay close attention to the water rations being used as well as the cooking time. The more water used and longer the buckwheat cooks, the mushier it will be.
Kasha is simply buckwheat groats that have been roasted and is super easy to make on your own!
Buckwheat Recipes You’ll Love
Depending on how you’re using buckwheat, it can be served hot or cold, sweet or savory. One of the reasons why we love it so much is because of how versatile it can be! If you’re not sure how to get started including it in your diet, we’ve got you covered with a few tried and tested gluten free recipes perfect for everyone.
That’s it, y’all! Do you include buckwheat in your diet? If not, you might want to give it a try! If you have any additional questions, please let us know in the comments below!