Buckwheat is probably one of the healthiest, most versatile grains. However, buckwheat is not actually related to wheat at all. Below we’ve got the low down on this gluten free grain and some buckwheat recipes for you so you can start incorporating this whole food into your diet.
Heard of buckwheat, but not sure what to do with it? Here we have the low down on this must have gluten free grain and buckwheat recipes so you’ll actually know what to do with it!
Buckwheat is not actually a grain
Though typically buckwheat is considered a grain, it’s actually a seed – and completely gluten-free and unrelated to wheat. Buckwheat should be a pantry essential for those with coeliac disease or those who have gone gluten free for personal health reasons.
So it’s a popular substitute for wheat for those who are gluten-intolerant. Nutritionally, buckwheat surpasses rice, wheat and corn on almost every level of nutrient density, especially when it comes to protein. Buckwheat is a pretty good source of plant protein, 1 cup will give you about 23 grams.
Buckwheat contains higher levels of zinc, copper, and manganese than other cereal grains, and the bioavailability of zinc, copper, and potassium from buckwheat is also quite high.
So if you’re not able to eat oats, but love porridge or overnight oats, you can easily achieve the same delicious result with buckwheat.
How to cook buckwheat
Pre-soak before using. Reason why is because buckwheat, like other grains, cereals and seeds, contains phytic acids that can affect the absorption of some nutrients. Soaking breaks down phytic acid, making the grain more digestible.
To pre-soak, add buckwheat to a bowl with 3-4 times the amount of water. Soak buckwheat groats overnight in the fridge. The groats will get ultra sticky, so you’ll need to rinse them under running water once they’re done soaking.
So while buckwheat isn’t a grain, you can cook it like one. If you have pre-soaked, this is going to really cut down on your cooking time. If you’re not pre-soaking, just rinse the groats prior to cooking.
You could always toast buckwheat in a dry pan to bring out more of its nutty flavour, then you’ve got kasha. Or you can buy it toasted.
You won’t need much cooking time to perfectly cook buckwheat. Seriously. If you’ve soaked buckwheat, you just need a half to one cup of water. Bring to the boil and it’ll cook in about 5 minutes. Otherwise, you’ll need two cups of water per cup of raw or un-soaked buckwheat, which will take about 15 to 20 minutes to cook.
Buckwheat makes a great base for a cold or warm salad, like this buckwheat salad with sundried tomato dressing.
Buckwheat is high in soluble fibre
Buckwheat is a good source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre. 100 grams of buckwheat will provide you with about 10 grams of fibre. Fibre helps detox and eliminate waste by speeding up bowel movements through the gut. Fibre also binds toxins and helps remove them from the body.
Potentially, buckwheat is a source of resistant starch, a type of starch that escapes digestion in the small intestine. Resistant starch is often referred to as the third type of dietary fibre because it possesses some of the benefits of insoluble fiber and some of the benefits of soluble fiber. While most of the starch in buckwheat is readily digestible, the small portion that is resistant (about 4-7%) can be highly advantageous to overall colon health.
It has prebiotic potential
Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth and/or activity of beneficial gut bacteria in our digestive systems.
In 2003, a study out of Madrid, Spain looked at buckwheat’s high nutrient levels to determine whether it could behave as a prebiotic and be considered a healthy food.
Not only did the buckwheat-fed group emerge with a lower bodyweight when compared to the control, some of the best types of helpful bacteria were also found, along with a decrease in some types of pathogenic bacteria.
Because prebiotics act in your intestines, they have a profound effect on the pathogens and bad bacteria in your body that can cause disease. Prebiotics can be used to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s Disease. Get more prebiotics in your life by using buckwheat as a base grain in your nourish bowls, like this one below.
Want more buckwheat recipes?
Check out our mains and salads for more buckwheat recipes and other grain based meals where you can easily sub in buckwheat. Made something? We’d love to see. Tag us @ceresorganics on Facebook and Instagram.