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!
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).
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!
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.
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!
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!