Buckwheat is kinda amazing.
To avoid confusion, let me just clarify right now that buckwheat is not actually related to wheat. Despite it’s common name and grain-like use, it is in fact a gluten-free pseudoseed (meaning it’s neither grain, nor grass, nor cereal). Other pseudoseeds include quinoa, amaranth, and chia.
Anyway, since this gluten-free crop is used very similarly to wheat, it functions nicely as an alternative for those with gluten intolerances or coeliac disease.
It can be eaten raw (soaked or sprouted) as well as cooked (on it’s own or as buckwheat bread or pasta). It truly has a million and forty-five uses and is popular all over the world.
Here are some uses you may be familiar with, plus some you may not:
- buckwheat (soba) noodles – popular in Asian cultures
- farina – porridge made from groats
- buckwheat pancakes – called blinis in Russia, galettes in France, ployes in Acadia, and boûketes in Belgium
- savory crêpes – common in Brittany
- hrechanyky – the Ukrainian word for yeast rolls made from buckwheat
- beer – it produces a malt similar to barley (for a gluten-free brew)
- honey – dark, strong flavor
- buckwheat starch – commonly used to make jelly in Korea
- kasha – the term Russian and Polish immigrants used for buckwheat when making knishes and blintzes (kasha is often used synonymously with groats now in the US)
And that’s just a small sampling!
Buckwheat is similar to a sunflower seed in the way it has an inner seed surrounded by an outer hull. Above are the groats, which are the inner seed. They are hard and greenish tan and you can find them in many bulk bin aisles. Bob’s Red Mill also sells them packaged.
The inside (endosperm) is white and after soaking or cooking, it gets soft and starchy. It is the part most commonly made into flour and used in noodles, pasta, etc.
Having minimal experience with raw groats, I decided to try my hand at soaking them. I washed them thoroughly and then left them in water overnight.
The next day I drained and rinsed them (again) and then left them to hang out in the fridge, trying to decide what to do with them.
After a few days of work, I finally had a free morning to experiment. And so my vegan buckwheat pudding breakfast was born.
The dish is almost entirely raw since the groats were not cooked (in fact the only non-raw ingredient is the almond milk).
Here are the groats after 3 days of soaking. For the record, they don’t require such a long amount of time to soak at all, but I didn’t have the time or energy creativity to give a new recipe a whirl on a work morning.
Like I said before, I only stored them in the liquid for the first day. After that I left them drained, but I made sure to rinse them well each day because they get that gummy slippery slime that you don’t want. Prior to using them for this recipe, I washed them in warm water several times. Then I assembled the rest of the ingredients.
- 1/2 cup raw, soaked buckwheat groats
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup raw walnuts
- 3 medjool dates
- 2 tbsp shredded coconut
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- stevia (to taste)
If you soak the nuts and dates beforehand they will be softer which can be helpful for blending. However, it’s not necessary (I didn’t and it was no problem for my bullet).
To blend it, I added everything listed above, except half the groats. Since they had been soaking for quite a while, I figured they would be soft, but I wasn’t exactly sure how soft (ie blendable) they would be. It turns out I could have added the whole amount because in under a minute it was all pureed together.
In any event, I added the remaining portion of the groats and again blended away. And in no time at all I had this…
The texture was like porridge, but with a sweet yet hearty flavor. It wasn’t totally silky smooth, but it wasn’t at all like the whole rolled oats that I’m used to.
It was semi-confusing for my taste buds because it was only a bit above room temperature. So it’s not really pudding (pudding should be cold cold right?). But it’s also not farina (because that’s hot and cooked like a breakfast porridge).
The only reason the groats weren’t cold was because I rinsed them in warm water. So I don’t know what to call the dish. How about yummy? Because that’s what it was. And the combo of nuts, pseudoseeds, and dried fruit provided the perfect mix of macronutrients (fats, protein, carbs) to keep me satisfied.
Mmmmm. This may become a regular because it is so tasty. Have you ever tried buckwheat?