Buckwheat is one of my favourite grains. It isn’t actually a grain at all but a seed that is related to rhubarb (I don’t hold this against it), and it is gluten–free, despite its confusing name. So complicated and exotic for such a happy, doughy, laid back…..ingredient. It is not very dense, you can actually eat it raw (like in my fave dry cereal here), or scatter it on top of anything that needs a bit of chomp, like this delicious coconut yoghurt.
When it is cooked it reminds me of short grain rice or barley. Really comforting and ‘fat’ which may have something to do with the fact that it has the longest transit time in the gut of all of the ‘grains’. For this reason, it helps you feel satisfied and is also a great blood sugar stabilizer, which is crucial in fighting and preventing cancer.
If you are under the weather and all you feel like in the whole world is a bowl of noodles with butter, buckwheat might be the answer. You don’t have to add the spices or aromatics that I did in this recipe (turmeric would obviously be amazing, but not if it throws you off this idea altogether) just cook the buckwheat leave plain or add a little bit of extra virgin olive oil at the end. It is high in protein, won’t absorb into your bloodstream quickly to feed the cancer cells, and is a nourishing whole food unlike the noodles that you wish you weren’t craving.
Once soaked buckwheat releases a slimy coating much like when you cut into okra. Don’t be deterred by this, I know it’s weird, you can rinse it away easily and then what’s left after cooking will help give it that sticky rice feel.
For this recipe, the buckwheat gets extra flavour and a nutrition boost from turmeric (a well documented anti-inflammatory), and leeks and garlic (Allium family superstars). Cooked this way it would also taste amazing underneath any curry or Asian-style stew.
I have been craving eggplant like a maniac this week, which means of course I had to include it in this recipe. It is paired with some local patty pans (UFO-shaped zucchini) and some more heirloom tomatoes in case you didn’t get enough last week. I roasted everything really simply with a hint of cinnamon and za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend made up of various dried herbs, sumac and sesame seeds.
I add the tomatoes fresh at the end instead of roasted because it is tomato season and they taste way too good to mess with right now. If you’re making this recipe off-season (it would taste pretty good any time of year) roast the tomatoes, definitely. It will add sweetness, intensify their flavour and raise the antioxidant (lycopene) count. And sub the pattys for winter squash.
You can substitute in any vegetables that look good at your Farmers Market in place of what I have used in this recipe (cauliflower, winter squash, carrots, kohlrabi, green beans etc). Same with the buckwheat, if you have leftover quinoa or maybe cooked mung beans that needs using up, use them in place of the buckwheat, with the garlic and leeks, it’s a flexible recipes. Serve as it is or add a scoop of hummus, or savory coconut yoghurt.
- 2 Patty Pan Squash (or 1 zucchini), cut into wedges
- 2 c Eggplant, cut into pieces
- 1 Bell Pepper (red, yellow or orange), cut into pieces
- 1 c Onion, large diced
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 1 tsp Za'atar
- ¼ tsp Cinnamon
- 2 tsp fresh Turmeric (1 tsp if using dried)
- 1 Large Tomato, cut into pieces
- 1 c Fresh Herbs (Parsleyy, Mint, and/or Cilantro)
- Half of a Lemon
- 1 c Buckwheat Groats, Soaked 6-8, drained and rinsed very well to remove the 'goo'
- 1 c Water
- 1 tsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- 1 c Leeks, diced
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 2 tsp fresh Turmeric (1 tsp if using dried)
- 2-3 Tbsp Sesame Seeds (or chopped almonds, Brazil nuts or hemp hearts)
- Several Grinds of Black Pepper (to enhance turmeric absorption)
- Sea(weed) Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 325*F
- Toss everything except the herbs, tomatoes and lemon and spread out without overlapping on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes (the eggplant may take longer, just leave it in there with the onions until it's done)
- Serve warm or room temperature on a bed of buckwheat with fresh tomato, fresh herbs and a good squeeze of lemon.
- Drain and rinse the buckwheat very well to remove most of the signature buckwheat 'slime'.
- Transfer it to a pot and add the water.
- Bring to a simmer, lower the heat down to very low and put the lid on top.
- Leave for at least ten minutes and then turn the heat right off.
- (Or use leftover buckwheat or other grains and move to the next step)
- Meanwhile, in a frying pan, sautée the leeks, garlic and spices in the coconut oil and a large splash of water until the leeks are soft and translucent.
- Season with salt and pepper and keep on medium heat until all of the water has evaporated.
- Add the cooked buckwheat and carefully stir together.
- Stir in the sesame seeds (or other nuts).
- Serve topped with the roasted veg, fresh tomatoes, fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon.