A decade ago, if you had asked me to name a whole grain other than wheat I would’ve been totally stumped. Now, the world of gluten-free eating has opened me up to a wide variety of grains, including millet, sorghum, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, teff and wild rice (If you’d like the scoop on gluten-free grains and how to cook them, grab this free downloadable guide here).
Buckwheat is an under-appreciated gluten-free grain. We become infatuated with the trendy grains like quinoa or black rice and forget about good ‘ol buckwheat. It’s like the middle child of the grain world.
Some of us, my fellow Jews in particular, dislike buckwheat because we are familiar with eating kasha at holiday dinners. Kasha is roasted buckwheat and while it’s lovely, the flavour of raw buckwheat is much milder and preferable, in my opinion.
Buckwheat has a lot going for it in the nutrition department, too. It’s rich in fibre, which is wonderful for the digestive tract, cardiovascular support and balancing blood sugar. It’s also high in magnesium, and important mineral that helps us relax and is a co-factor in many enzymatic reactions in our bodies. And, it’s a good source of lignans – those plant-based compounds that protect against hormonal cancers.
I’m no polenta aficionado, but I think buckwheat is a great sub for cornmeal. This buckwheat polenta is thick, creamy, nutty and very filling. It has a ‘cream of wheat’ vibe, but with the addition of vegetables it becomes a meal you can have at any time of the day (though you know how partial I am to savory breakfasts!).
In this recipe, you can easily swap any veggies you have in the fridge for asparagus and tomatoes. I chose these simply because they called my name at the farmer’s market. Herbs would be amazing, too.
And if you’re looking for other buckwheat inspiration, you might wanna try:
- Buckwheat Risotto
- Buckwheat + Mushroom Flatbread
- Chocolate Chip Buckwheat Pancakes
- Gluten-Free + Vegan Buckwheat Matzo Balls
- ¼ cup buckwheat, ground into a meal in a spice grinder or blender
- 1 ¼ cups water
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 4 asparagus spears
- 6-8 cherry tomatoes
- 1 stalk green onion, finely chopped (optional)
- Sprinkle of sesame seeds (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Toss the asparagus spears in the olive oil and spread them onto a baking sheet or in a casserole dish. Roast for 15-20 minutes, giving the pan a shake about halfway through. Add the tomatoes to the pan and let them cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the oven.
- While the veggies are cooking, make the polenta. Bring the water and salt to a boil, then add the buckwheat meal. Turn the heat to low and whisk the mixture to ensure there are no lumps. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until thick and creamy.
- Top the buckwheat polenta with the veggies, green onions and sesame seeds, if you’re using them. Season with additional salt if needed.