Are you trying to avoid excess carbohydrates but miss the hearty satisfaction? Or perhaps you are gluten-intolerant? Then I highly recommend that you give the following two grains a try, if you have not already: quinoa and buckwheat. Quinoa has exponentially gained in popularity in the past few years, since this “ancient grain” and its nutritional properties have been re-discovered by modern-day foodies. Buckwheat has popular in the cuisines of many cultures (Russia, Japan, etc.) for centuries, but is definitely not a pantry staple in the U.S.A. (yet), which is unfortunate because it is as beneficial as it is delicious.
Quinoa and buckwheat are both gluten-free, and high in protein content compared to most other grains, (which have high gluten and high carb content). That is because they are not actually grains. They are seeds!!
Quinoa boasts lots of fiber, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron and it is a complete protein. Cooked, it is a bit chewy and seed-like in texture. Comparable to couscous, perhaps. And just like couscous, it can be served hot as a side, or chilled in a salad. Quinoa usually needs to be rinsed and drained prior to cooking.
Buckwheat offers loads of iron, antioxidants, and essential amino-acids (also high protein content). At the same time, it feels more starchy and substantial than quinoa. I can’t quite think of anything to compare it to, because it doesn’t look, taste or smell like anything else out there. It is however, very tasty, very filling, and is a great complement for any kind of “saucy” or meaty dishes. Buckwheat is typically served hot. You can also find various gluten-free pasta options made with buckwheat flour.
Buckwheat’s nutty flavor is really enhanced by toasting in a dry pan, prior to cooking (some places will sell it pre-toasted, usually international food stores).
On the photo above, I simply sautéed sliced shiitake mushrooms with thinly sliced red onion, in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (if you are not using coconut oil to cook with you should start NOW), a little bit of salt and pepper, and spooned the slightly sweet, coconutty mushroom medley over quinoa cooked in vegetable stock. I also often eat mushrooms and onions over buckwheat (in fact, that’s a more Russian-esque way). This recipe is not only gluten-free and high in protein, it is also vegan and every single ingredient is loaded with healthy properties.