Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Buckwheat Groats: Tips and Tricks

In this humble college girl's opinion, gluten is one of the skilled ninjas in the culinary world. Wheat can hide in soy sauce, soups, seasonings and even in grains. Yet, the seed with the offender in its very name - buckwheat - is actually gluten free. No wonder a celiac diagnosis triggers one doozy of a dietary transition!

The typical gluten free experience...
I first learned of buckwheat from my college cafeteria (during freshman year when I was still on the meal plan). They often added some buckwheat - which boasts a nutty flavor and a slightly chewy, crunchy texture once cooked - to my salads and I fell in love right away. 

Besides its flavor, buckwheat is also known for being a nutrition rock star. Buckwheat's relatively high amount of protein causes buckwheat to keep cholesterol and blood sugar levels low. It is also provides a good dose of magneisum and copper, as well as fiber-like benefits. (Aka, some happy belly food). 

Hiding in the green bag!
My favorite part about buckwheat, though? It's versatility! To prove it, here are a few ideas on how you could sneak (and celebrate) some buckwheat into every meal of the day! 

First off, breakfast. Anyone who has even peaked at my Instagram knows the best of days start off with a smoothie bowl covered in toppings. The most important of which is, obviously, lots of homemade granola. When I discovered I couldn't tolerate oats of any kind (gluten free certified included), I knew I needed a tasty and filling replacement for a granola base. Buckwheat groats to the rescue


Can you see why this is a favorite?
After baking in the oven, buckwheat becomes delightfully light and crunchy. AKA, the perfect counterpart to granola's usual gooey chocolate chips and chewy dried fruit. Considering the protein already found in nuts/seeds, buckwheat also helps transform granola from a simple snack into a protein powerhouse. 

When brunch or lunch comes along, buckwheat often shows up again. This time, in the form of fluffy, thick berry pancakes! After tinkering around with several pancake recipes, mixing coconut and buckwheat flour turned out to be the magic equation. The first is sweet and moist; the latter, nutty and more dry. Together? A dense, naturally sweet pancake high in fiber and protein. Plus just a little bit of heavenly flavor, I might add. 

I <3 Pancakes!
Although buckwheat flour can be purchased, I prefer to grind the groats myself in a blender (I've used my Nutribullet and Vitamix successfully) or a coffee grinder. A fresher flour mix + one less charge to my credit card or bag of flour in the cupboard = one happy celiac!

For dinner, I rarely eat buckwheat cooked on the stove top. But the seeds still land on my plate at least once a week in the form of a pizza crust! 

My version of pizza heaven!
Combined with tapioca flour and a few other simple ingredients, my favorite pizza crust recipe is easy, allergen friendly and while it doesn't taste like gluten-filled Papa John's, it does taste delicious. Especially when loaded with a coconut milk white sauce or seed-stuffed pesto, and lots of veggies

At times, gluten can seem too tricky to fully beat. Don't eat that, don't let yours touch that and certainly don't kiss a person who just ate that! In the case of buckwheat, though, the surprise involves more food instead of less. 

And I don't know about you, but that's this college celiac's kind of (edible) surprise party!  



Have you ever tried buckwheat? What's your favorite way to eat it? Comment below! 

2 comments:

  1. I use light buckwheat flour for Brittany style crepes (Galette De Bretagne)-- the big ones which are usually folded over some sort of filling. Possible fillings: walnuts in a blue cheese sauce (is there a milk-free blue cheese?), ham and asparagus in a cheese sauce, or anything else that suits your fancy and avoids the things you can't eat safely. This is a fairly regular item on our menu.

    I've also tried them in what is supposedly a traditional approach, where you mix the buckwheat with egg and sort of fry the mixture until the egg is no longer soft and the kernels are separate, then add broth and cook until buckwheat is done. It was okay, but not something to repeat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds delicious! From your comments, it sounds like you eat very well - for gluten free or otherwise! :P

      Delete