Buckwheat Kasha Recipe with Sautéed Mushrooms, Onions, and Peas, drizzled with truffle oil for a touch of decadence. This naturally gluten-free side dish is ready in 20 minutes, and it is super healthy thanks to the nutrients in the buckwheat groats.
- What is buckwheat?
- What does buckwheat taste like?
- What is kasha?
- How do you eat buckwheat kasha?
- Where do you buy buckwheat?
- How do you cook buckwheat kasha?
- How to make buckwheat not mushy
- What makes this the best darn kasha recipe you'll ever eat??
- More Buckwheat Recipes
- Buckwheat Kasha with Mushrooms and Onions - 20 Minute Side Dish
What is buckwheat?
Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat at all and is not actually a grain. Buckwheat is actually a seed (just like quinoa). However it looks, feels, and tastes like a grain, which makes it an excellent choice for those who can't eat wheat or gluten.
Buckwheat groats are the individual little pieces of buckwheat.
Because buckwheat is a seed, it is extremely healthy. It is packed with nutrients.
Buckwheat is a very popular ingredient in Russian and Eastern European cooking because it is so nutritious, readily available, and pretty inexpensive.
What does buckwheat taste like?
Buckwheat has such a nice, earthy taste and a great texture. I find buckwheat to be tastier than both quinoa and rice. It is soft but it still has a bite, and it's not as "gritty" as quinoa.
What is kasha?
In the Russian language, the word "kasha" means any kind of grains or grain-like ingredients cooked in water or milk. Cooked buckwheat? Kasha. Rice porridge? Kasha. Oatmeal? Kasha. Cream of wheat? Kasha. You get the idea.
In the US though, "kasha" specifically refers to kasha made from buckwheat groats.
Related recipe: Buckwheat Tea
How do you eat buckwheat kasha?
Buckwheat kasha is typically served as a side dish in Ukraine. It is usually served with the "second course" of dinner alongside some meat. Of course, buckwheat kasha can also be eaten for breakfast if you cook it in milk and add a little sugar to it (see my buckwheat breakfast bowls)
You can also make the traditional Jewish dish called Varnishkes with cooked buckwheat. It is just bow tie pasta with buckwheat, but somehow it tastes so good.
Where do you buy buckwheat?
Buckwheat is pretty easy to find in the US, however I recommend using a Russian brand of buckwheat to prevent mushiness (more on that below!). Here are your options for where to buy buckwheat:
- Eastern European store. Any Polish or Russian grocery store will have buckwheat, and you will find the best prices there. Don't be afraid to pick up a package that doesn't have any English writing on it - you can always find directions for how to cook it online!
- Whole Foods typically has it in their bulk bins. Please note, I always found the Whole Foods kasha to get a little mushy when it cooks.
- Large grocery chains all over the US. Most large grocery chains have buckwheat. Bob's Red Mill is a popular brand that is in most stores, but I also find that one to be a little mushy
- Order online on Amazon. Here are two brands of buckwheat that I have tried and are not mushy: Uvelka Buckwheat and Russkoe Pole Buckwheat
For this recipe, make sure you get whole groats instead of crushed/ground buckwheat. You want the groats to look like tiny pyramids instead of being all broken up.
How do you cook buckwheat kasha?
The most traditional way is to cook kasha in water with a bit of salt. It only takes about 10 minutes to cook. And while it does taste good like that, I do find it a little boring after a while. It's like eating white rice. It's good but after a while you want to switch things up and make yellow rice, or rice with peas in it, or fried rice.
So this is where my spruced up kasha recipe comes in! I like to cook buckwheat in a flavorful vegetable stock (or chicken stock, if you don't need to keep it vegetarian). This means that the buckwheat groats absorb all the delicious flavor of the veggie stock while they cook and it makes for a much better tasting kasha.
Side note: kasha can actually be prepared by soaking it in water overnight - it doesn't need to be cooked. But since I want to serve this kasha recipe warm, I choose to cook the buckwheat groats in vegetable stock.
How to make buckwheat not mushy
Sometimes, buckwheat ends up being too mushy when it is cooked. I really prefer buckwheat that holds its shape and stays as individual little pieces. The only way I can make buckwheat that is not mushy is by using a Russian brand of buckwheat. Bob's Red Mill and all other US brands of buckwheat end up mushy. Here are two Russian brands that I've used where the buckwheat does not end up mushy: Russkoe Pole Buckwheat and Uvelka Buckwheat.
The other important step to making sure buckwheat is not mushy is not overcooking it. It cooks fast and as soon as it is fully cooked, it should be removed from heat and any extra liquid needs to be drained, otherwise it will get absorbed by the buckwheat and will fall apart.
In my experience, toasting the buckwheat does not prevent it from getting mushy. It gives it a nice toasted flavor, but doesn't help with the mushiness. So please, go ahead and give Russian buckwheat a try and see if it makes a difference!
What makes this the best darn kasha recipe you'll ever eat??
Well, I already mentioned above that I cook the buckwheat in a flavorful vegetable stock to give it extra flavor. Here is a good tutorial about how to make easy vegetable stock from scraps of veggies.
For this recipe I also saute some mushrooms and onions to add to the buckwheat kasha, and add some peas to the dish for a pop of color, flavor, texture, and nutrients.
But wait, it gets BETTER.
When everything is cook and mixed together, I add a generous drizzle of truffle-infused olive oil. The truffle oil gives it that extra ''OH MY GOSH WHAT IS IN HERE THAT IS SO GOOD" flavor.
I love adding truffle oil to recipes that contain mushrooms, it really enhances all the flavors in the recipe and makes it absolutely irresistible. Yes, I know it's just a side dish that we're talking about here, but trust me, truffle oil makes it so good.
You can find truffle-infused olive oil in most grocery stores in the oil or gourmet foods aisle, or you can buy it on Amazon here. This set of truffle oils is really nice and gives you a sampling of 3 different kinds of truffle-infused olive oils.
This buckwheat side dish is very healthy - low in fat but high in protein, fiber, potassium, selenium, and other nutrients. And of course, it's gluten free, since buckwheat is not related to wheat (as I mentioned above).
You can serve this buckwheat kasha with grilled chicken or steak, or just pile a bunch on your plate and have a large portion as your dinner.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave me a comment below and let me know! And don't forget to leave a rating in the recipe card and share this recipe on Facebook and Pinterest. 🙂
Buckwheat Kasha with Mushrooms and Onions - 20 Minute Side Dish
- 1 cup uncooked buckwheat
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth for cooking the buckwheat (or use water)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion , thinly sliced
- 10 oz baby bella mushrooms , cleaned and sliced or quartered
- 1 cup frozen or fresh peas (no need to thaw if using frozen)
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon truffle-infused olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Combine uncooked buckwheat and vegetable broth (or water) in a medium pot. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, if the broth is sodium-free. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the buckwheat is tender. Drain off extra liquid if there is still liquid remaining. While the buckwheat is cooking, prepare the rest of the dish.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the sliced onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften and turn golden brown. Add the mushrooms, and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms start to sweat in the skillet.
- When the mushrooms start releasing juices, add the frozen (or fresh) peas, and sauté for 3 minutes until they are heated through. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Add the cooked buckwheat and the chopped parsley to the skillet, and mix well over medium heat to combine all the flavors. Turn off from heat, and drizzle with truffle oil. Taste it to see if you need to add more salt. Serve warm.