{Some time ago I proposed the idea of discussing a particular grain each week. I started out with brown rice, which is a wonderful place to start. But unfortunately, I didn't go any further. I'll spare the details of my crazy life, but things got busy. However, I'm back with another installment of A Grain a Week. Hopefully further installments will be less few and far between!}

So, you may ask, why the interest in grains anyway? Well, as Americans, we tend to focus all our grain sights on the almighty wheat. And while there is nothing necessarily wrong with wheat, diversity is always better. Other grains may offer other nutrients. Also, important for vegans and vegetarians, (as well as everyone else) many types of whole grains can supply protein, calcium and minerals. The grain that I'll be focusing on this week is Buckwheat, which ironically isn't a grain at all!

Buckwheat is actually the seed of a fruit. It comes from a fruit that is similar to rhubarb.

It is great for folks who are gluten intolerant. So although it has the word "wheat" in it's name, there's really no relation. Buckwheat appears as little triangle shaped seeds, and must be hulled in order to be eaten. You can roast it, or buy it roasted - which is also known as Kasha (kasha can also refer to a blend of a few different grains - it's a porridge enjoyed in Russia). You may have had buckwheat in pancakes, I've always loved their flavor, especially with blueberries and pure maple syrup!!

Buckwheat also has great nutritional value. It's very high in manganese, magnesium, copper, selenium, iron as well as calcium. It is also a complete protein. And of course it's very high in fiber - which is important for so much of our body's health - and is sorely lacking in the typical American diet.

So, over the next few days I will be cooking up some buckwheat! This evening I plan to try this yummy sounding recipe, since I actually have all the ingredients on hand.

Buckwheat Salad with Mushrooms and Parsley oil

There is also this tasty looking salad as well

Greek Kasha salad

And of course, this Saturday I will have to whip up a batch of buckwheat pancakes!
This will be an interesting experiment for three reasons:
1. I'm pretty horrible at making pancakes at home.
2. Skater Girl is a pancake connoisseur, and she will be hard to please.
3. I prefer vegan recipes that are not fussy (by fussy I mean ground flaxseed or 5 different types of flour) and so far every recipe I've looked at for vegan buckwheat pancakes is very fussy. The one linked above looks promising.

Stay tuned!

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