It’s cold in New York City. I sit at the computer, writing away at articles for my job, gobbling hot tea constantly. And as I puttered around the kitchen this morning, I realized my normal breakfast of eggs and veggies wasn’t gonna cut it. I need something warm, filling and slightly sweet.
This gluten-free grain is often overlooked when compared with its massively produced cousin, Oatmeal, but it’s now readily available in health food stores large and small. It’s not actually a grain, but a seed somewhat related to rhubarb. It cooks very similarly to oatmeal, though, is as deliciously versatile and is wonderfully filling on mornings when there’s a lot of day to face. It’s completely gluten-free and a very healthy-happy food.
- Completely gluten-free as it’s a seed, so it’s digestible for those with celiac and gluten sensitivities
- Contains a very high level of magnesium, which relaxes blood vessels and therefore contributes to healthy blood flow and is good for the heart
- Lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol (that’s a good thing…)
- Helps lower and regulate blood-sugar levels by containing chiro-inositol. Researchers are not sure why this does what it does quite yet, but in humans and animals alike, whole grains containing this compound lowered blood-sugar levels by 12-19% when compared with those given a placebo (check it out at WHFoods)
- Generally high in antioxidants, so is generally an on-your-side superfood
Let’s Cook It!
Some cook buckwheat as an alternative to rice. I prefer it as a porridge, all gooey and slightly sweet. Below is my recipe for a coconut-buckwheat cereal. Alternatives would be to cook with water or an animal milk, then add any variety of vanilla extract, cinnamon, dried or fresh fruits, carob powder, fresh nutmeg, chai… the list goes on. I prefer coconut milk on some mornings because it makes the porridge thicker and naturally sweet and creamy. I pressure cook my morning grains normally, as it adds to the digestion ease and also makes the grains that much more moist and fluffy. Toasting them for a few minutes on dry heat before adding the liquid increases their digestibility. Directions for pressure-cooking and stove top cooking are below.
- 1 cup of buckwheat
- 2 cups of liquid – I used a can of light coconut milk and then topped off the rest with water
- 1 tsp maple syrup (per serving)
- dried cranberries, golden raisins or blueberries (preferably sugar and nitrate-free)
- raw or toasted nuts (I used pecans, but hazelnuts or almonds would also be delightful)
- Pressure Cook Grains: Add grains and liquid into a pressure cooker, bring up to full heat (you’ll know because it’ll be sizzling away, making lots of noise and releasing some steam), cook for 12 minutes, then turn off the heat and let pressure release naturally.
- Stove-top Cooking Grains: Toast the grains in a dry pot on medium heat, stirring continually, until they become nutty and fragrant. Add the liquid, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook about 15-20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.
- Serve with 1 tsp of maple syrup per serving, and a small handful of raw nuts and dried fruit.
Note: Adding a non-animal protein such as nut-butter or eggs is a great way to make this breakfast a perfect protein and aid digestion. I actually rarely do such heavy grains first thing in the morning as I can’t digest nuts well in the early day, but as a sweet-treat and with some extra digestive boosting supplements, it’s a great way to face the rain.
How to make this a dessert? Simmer about 2 1/2 cups coconut milk on the stove, adding 4 tablespoons maple syrup, 2+ teaspoons each of vanilla extract and cinnamon and, if you want to live dangerously, a little dark rum. Add grains and cook on low until thick and sweet. Whip a whole egg and add in just before the grains are fully cooked, stirring thoroughly. Taste and add seasonings to your preference. Remove to a wide pan and refrigerate until cold. Sprinkle with cinnamon, raisins and (if desired) a little more agave.