Buckwheat with Mushrooms & Carrots ♥ Recipe

A warm nutty flavor from whole-grain buckwheat groats cooked with carrots and mushrooms
Today's recipe: A whole-grain side dish or vegan main dish made with buckwheat groats, fresh mushrooms and chopped carrots. High-protein. Low carb. Weight Watchers 2 points.

Curiosity guides many of my recipe choices but so do health, budget and taste. It's karma when all four collide! This fall I set off to explore whole grains, knowing that I, along with too many of us, know far too little about such an important group of foods. To narrow the field, I decided to stick with the healthiest whole grains -- barley, brown rice, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, spelt and whole wheat. I recognized all of these whole grains -- but since my vegetarian days two states and two decades ago, haven't cooked five of them, barley, buckwheat, millet, rye and spelt. Would karma prevail?

First up: buckwheat, which is actually a grass not a a grain like other cereal plants such as wheat and oats and rice. There are two good ways to experiment with buckwheat.

Buckwheat Flour Buckwheat flour is a nutty-tasting flour and because it's gluten-free, a favorite among those who live with celiac disease. It's the favored flour for blini, the tiny Russian pancakes and in buckwheat crepes in northern France. For anyone new to buckwheat, this is a good place to start. You won't likely find buckwheat flour alongside the all-purpose flour, however. At least in my groceries, it's in a special section with other less common flours, or in the bulk aisle, or in the 'natural foods' aisle. (Ever wonder what a grocery store is doing with all that 'unnatural food' they sell? Yeah, me too.)

Buckwheat Groats Here, the hulls are removed, leaving the 'groats'. Buckwheat groats can be purchased raw or roasted. Again, check the bulk aisle, or a special section with products from Bob's Red Mills.

Kasha (or Kashi) These are names that buckwheat groats have acquired in the U.S., a confusion, however, since outside the U.S., the term kasha or kashi refers to a hot porridge made from any grain, wheat, oats, millet and others. So really, the term 'buckwheat kasha' is more accurate than just 'kasha'.

TASTING BUCKWHEAT GROATS My research led me to believe that buckwheat has a 'strong and distinctive flavor' -- which I took as code for "it might be an acquired taste" which implies, of course, we should be prepared to not like it. It's described as 'bold' and 'toasty' and 'earthy'. But -- my goodness, sure buckwheat groats taste a little nutty and earthy, but those are good things. I certainly didn't find anything to object to, not anything even particularly strong or distinctive. This is good stuff!

BUCKWHEAT with MUSHROOMS & CARROTS

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 4 cups
Recipe adapted from Nami-Nami

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup (6 ounces) buckwheat groats, rinsed under running water
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, quartered lengthwise, then cut into small pieces crosswis
Salt & pepper to taste
2 cups boiling water

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, caps broken into pieces and stems roughly chopped

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil til shimmery on MEDIUM HIGH. Add the buckwheat and stir to coat with fat, let cook for a minute or two. Add the onion and carrots as they are prepped, stir to coat with fat, let cook until onions begin to turn gold. Stir in salt and pepper. Stir in boiling water. Cover, reduce heat to MEDIUM and let simmer about 15 minutes until the buckwheat is soft and the liquid fully absorbed.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil til shimmery. Add the mushrooms and stir to coat with fat. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are cooked and the liquid they express has evaporated.

To serve, stir the cooked mushrooms into the cooked buckwheat. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold or at room temperature.





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11 comments:

Must be the season -- I've just written a post on kasha for next week. It was a huge part of our family diet when I was growing up. Back then, I just thought it tasted good. Now I know how good it is for us, too.

buckwheat groats are new to me, this looks so healthy and delicious!

Food of my childhood, a favorite I don't make often enough because my husband does find it strong, earthy, etc and gets upset. Mix in noodles (bowties preferred)and it's hot off Mom's stove.

I love these hearty salad meals. Plus this is chock full of nutritious ingredients, which is always a good thing.

I love kasha, yes all porridge tends to be called kasha, but buckwheat groats tend to be Kasha in my family.

Unfortunately, by husband and kids don't care for it, so I make it rarely.

One little correction - traditional grains like wheat rye and corn ARE grasses; it's buckwheat that is not a grass, but a broad leafed plant. When I was a kid, my Ukrainian grandmother used to plant buckwheat just for the leaves, which can be cooked like spinach.

sounds tasty! i've incorporated quinoa in our diet regularly, but haven't done buckwheat groats. eager to try this out! ever cooked with teff? i ate teff used to make flat bread in DC and loved it. haven't tried to find it, but would like to play around with it.

I just nominated your blog for a "fabulous blog" award on my blog. Check it out if you want to participate!
:)
Thanks for all your great posts!

Hey Alanna...nice post...I'm all about whole grains on my new diabetic diet so it was great to be reminded of buckwheat...will pick some up tomorrow and make this soon...of course, I always love anything from Pille...
Hope you had a good Thanksgiving and that Santa treats you well...

best, Stephen

Nice dish! Looks so good and healthy! I liked it!

Hi, Liz from MealMakeoverMoms.com here. I have to admit that I've never cooked with buckwheat before though I plan to cook with more grains in 2009! My mom made an awesome beef & barley soup when we were growing up. Your post reminds me that I need to get that recipe from her. Looking forward to spending more time on your blog now that I found it!

Alanna, where have I been? I had totally forgotten that you made this dish, only rediscovered you when looking for buckwheat recipes to pin to one of my Pinterest boards :)

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna