Buck Up! Try Buckwheat for Breakfast

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/12/2012 2:00 PM   :  19 comments   :  11,298 Views

Just like the boy of the same name would say, buckwheat is o-tay!  I recently became a big fan of the triangular grain that is growing in popularity.  Buckwheat is actually not part of the wheat family, which means it is gluten free.   It also provides eight amino acids, plus plenty of fiber and protein.
 
To learn more about this unfamiliar, trendy grain, I phoned my agriculture expert. He is actually on my speed dial under "Daddy."
 
Turns out, my dad has been growing buckwheat for years, which was a surprise for me. I know the farm and its fields well, and he has never mentioned buckwheat! Part of the reason I had never heard of the harvest was that my family does not harvest the crop.  My Dad grows it as a source of food for the deer and doves that call our farm home as well.  Buckwheat, as my Dad explained, is a short crop that does not require pesticides or fertilizers.  Because it is a short crop, meaning that the plant matures in about 30 days, farmers can come in after its harvest or consumption from animals and then plant a second crop during the same season. The short season makes it perfect for climates with shorter growing seasons like the upper Midwest of the United States.   

Most of the Buckwheat that is grown in the United States actually gets exported to China to be milled into buckwheat flour used for soba noodles. (While I don't have any soba noodle recipes on SparkRecipes--yet!--you could use them in my chicken or pork stir-fries.)
 
Stop by your local health food store or bulk section and pick up some buckwheat kernels (sometimes called kasha) or buckwheat flour.  You can purchase kernels plain or roasted.  Take the kernels and transform them into a high-fiber and protein-rich breakfast cereal by just adding some simple and flavorful ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.  Check out my recipe for Roasted Buckwheat Breakfast, which can be eaten cold (my favorite way!) or hot, which is perfect for a cold morning. Stepfanie created a raw granola using buckwheat, too. Store the kernels in a cool, dry place away from light, and use them within six months.
 
Some like buckwheat hot, and some like it cold. I love it cold with skim milk and blueberries.  Try it either way, but be ready for different tastes and textures.  The cold variety will crunch and pop in your mouth and you will taste a roasted nut with a hint of cinnamon and date sweetness.  Cooked and served hot, the texture is smooth like porridge, the fruit softens, and the cinnamon takes on a louder note.  (No need for additional sugar because the dried dates are so sweet.)
 
Try incorporating buckwheat flour into your baked goods for a boost of nutrition and nutty flavor.  Just remember: Buckwheat does not contain gluten, which is what helps wheat flour "stick,"  so you can't swap all the wheat flour for buckwheat in a recipe. My rule is: Substitute up to 1/3 of the wheat flours for buckwheat flour.  The shelf life is about the same as whole wheat flour.  If you are not planning to use the flour within 2 months, store it in the freezer.
 
Beyond breakfast and baked goods, add roasted buckwheat kernels to salads or sprinkle over fruit at lunch, or simmer them in soups or stews at dinner time. Due to its high levels of protein and fiber you will find that it sticks to your belly! You'll be full for hours and hours.
 
Nutrition info for 1/2 cup:
Calories 291.6
Total Fat 2.9 g
Sodium 0.9 mg 
Potassium 391.0 mg  
Total Carbohydrates 60.8 g      
Dietary Fiber 8.5 g      
Protein 11.3 g
Vitamin B-6 8.9 %
Vitamin E 4.4 %  
Calcium 1.5 %  
Copper 46.8 % 
Folate 6.4 %  
Iron 10.4 %  
Magnesium 49.1 %  
Niacin 29.8 %  
Riboflavin 21.3 %  
Zinc 13.6 %
 
 
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Comments

  • 19
    I was thinking of giving buckwheat a try until I saw how many carbs are in a half-cup. - 4/23/2012   4:50:56 PM
  • 18
    Also buckwheat is not a grain, it's a pseudocereal and more closely related to rhubarb than wheat or grass. - 4/23/2012   10:00:42 AM
  • 17
    I've made 100% buckwheat flour pancakes without any problems holding together; other baked goods, yes the lack of gluten's stickiness would be a problem. The problem I find is that they move from golden to burned too easily. - 4/23/2012   9:57:28 AM
  • 16
    Seems to be an amazing little grain..I've heard of it before..would love to try..Have to
    see if its available at the health food store..here on my island! - 4/22/2012   8:14:48 PM
  • LAKENVELDER57
    15
    I make kasha about once a month and really like buckwheat pancakes but never just had buckwheat or breakfast as a cereal. It sounds wonderful. - 4/21/2012   9:27:54 PM
  • DWHARLOW
    14
    Thanks, I am gonna try something besides the buckwheat pancakes. I have a buckwheat pillow! - 4/21/2012   8:24:23 PM
  • 13
    after reading this and checking out the granola recipe. I took a friends recipe and added in a cup of the buckwheat groats and it is SO GOOD! I may play with the reipce some more to add more buckwheat and cut back on the honey. My oldest SUPER PICKY eater even tried it yesterday and liked it. BONUS. - 3/23/2012   10:20:42 AM
  • 12
    Thanks, I'm going to have to try it now! - 3/14/2012   1:19:50 AM
  • FOODCOACH1
    11
    Is the nutrient info for 1/2 cup dry or cooked? - 3/13/2012   10:32:47 AM
  • GREENWELLIES
    10
    It is always good to discover new ingredients to try. Thanks for this. - 3/13/2012   10:20:18 AM
  • 123ELAINE456
    9
    Will have to try it again. We had it as pancakes a few times when I was going up and I did'nt care for Buckwheat then. Maybe I will like it now.We shell see. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Week. - 3/13/2012   6:23:16 AM
  • 8
    I have never seen it in Canada where I live but I used to like to buy buckwheat honey so obviously its grown somewhere as I am certain the bees are pollinating it . - 3/12/2012   10:11:57 PM
  • LEILAODE
    7
    I love all of the great information. Gives me something new to try. - 3/12/2012   9:34:45 PM
  • 6
    Interesting... I don't think I have ever had buckwheat plain but I have had plenty of soba noodles growing up. I had no idea that's what soba was made out of. I just thought they were delicious. I don't know if I would like the buckwheat breakfast recipe, especially not hot as I don't like the porridge texture (except for congee and oatmeal). However, I would be totally willing to trade out my regular pasta or noodles for some soba. - 3/12/2012   9:31:51 PM
  • JULIA1154
    5
    I grew up eating buckwheat but it had somehow dropped off my radar the past few years. Thanks for bringing it to mind again. - 3/12/2012   8:06:56 PM
  • 4
    I grew up eating kasha, part of our Eastern European Jewish heritage. I make kasha about once a month, usually for dinner (with onions and mushrooms, and often bowtie noodles - for kasha and varnishkas). But I like it with raisins and cold milk for breakfast, too! - 3/12/2012   7:45:18 PM
  • FASTPHIL
    3
    Little Rascals and buckwheat. We have blueberry pancakes 3-4 times a month for breakfast. My granchildren (my Little Rascals) love them. It was actually my wife who got me started but my children and grandchildren love them also. Lot of new information here. - 3/12/2012   3:11:02 PM
  • JEANNETTE59
    2
    Great Information, love the Magnesium content. - 3/12/2012   2:25:27 PM
  • PADAMS65
    1
    Wow, this was very informative. I really enjoyed this blog. Thanks for all the info. Good to know that it's gluten free. - 3/12/2012   2:22:13 PM

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