Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Buckwheat

Contrary to what its name might suggest, buckwheat doesn’t contain any wheat at all – it’s actually a gluten-free plant that’s related to rhubarb. Buckwheat is normally cooked like a grain, but compared to actual grains like rice and corn, it has a lower glycemic index and higher protein content. It’s also high in fiber and a good source of several B vitamins. Buckwheat is a staple of several different ethnic cuisines; you may have already eaten it in the form of kasha (roasted buckwheat groats that are common in Eastern European cooking) or soba (buckwheat noodles that show up in a variety of popular Asian dishes). One of the recipes below spotlights buckwheat in noodle form, while the other makes use of buckwheat flour, which can usually be found at your local grocery store, near the other gluten-free flours.

Grapefruit-Soba Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce


Spicy Peanut Sauce
¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter (natural is preferred)
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tsp. chili oil (substitute 1 tsp red pepper flakes if you don’t have chili oil)
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)

Soba Noodle Salad
1 small red bell pepper, sliced (1 cup)
5 radishes, thinly sliced (⅔ cup)
5 green onions, sliced (⅓ cup)
6 ounces snow peas
8 ounces 100% buckwheat soba noodles
2 teaspoons canola oil
8 ounces seasoned tofu, cut into small cubes
3 grapefruit, cut into segments

1. To make Spicy Peanut Sauce:  Purée vinegar, peanut butter, soy sauce, agave nectar, sesame oil, chili oil, and garlic in blender or food processor until smooth.
2. To make Soba Noodle Salad: Toss together bell pepper, radishes, and green onions in large bowl.
3. Bring large pot of water to a boil, add snow peas, and cook 2 minutes.
4. Transfer snow peas to bowl of ice water with slotted spoon; drain, and add to vegetables. Return water to a boil.
5. Cook soba noodles in same pot of boiling water according to package directions; drain, and rinse under cold water. Drain again, and set aside.
6. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu, and cook 1 minute per side, or until lightly browned.
7. Toss tofu, grapefruit segments, and soba noodles with vegetables.
8. Divide among 6 bowls and drizzle with Spicy Peanut Sauce.

Recipe from Vegetarian Times

Buckwheat Crepes with Sweet Onion Filling


5 tablespoons vegetable oil-based spread
⅔ cup buckwheat flour
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
1¾ cups 1% milk
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Onion filling
1 tablespoon butter
2 red or yellow onions, sliced
2 sprigs thyme
Pepper, to taste

1. Melt the vegetable oil spread in an 8-inch nonstick skillet.
2. Combine the melted spread, both flours, the milk, eggs, and salt in a blender and process until smooth (set the skillet aside).
3. Let the batter rest at room temperature at least 1 hour or overnight. Stir in the parsley, if desired.
4. Heat the skillet over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles in it. Lightly coat the skillet with non-stick cooking spray, then add a scant ⅓ cup batter and quickly swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.
5. Cook until the crepe sets and browns around the edges, about 2 minutes.
6. Carefully lift with a rubber spatula, flip over and cook about 30 more seconds. Transfer to a plate.
7. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more cooking spray as needed and stacking the finished crepes. (You can make the crepes a day ahead. Just wrap in plastic and refrigerate, then reheat before assembling.)
7. Make the crepe filling: Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add 2 sliced onions and 2 thyme sprigs. Season with pepper and cook until the onions are lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Serve with crepes.

Recipe adapted from Food Network


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