Buckwheat, a versatile food full of health, with which you can literally do magic in the kitchen

It can be found in supermarkets and health food stores.

It can be used in porridges, soups, meat dishes, risotto and desserts.

Buckwheat was an important part of the kitchen for many centuries, then almost disappeared.

However, the desire for a healthy lifestyle revived interest in this unique crop.

Do you also mistake it for cereal?

Does it really help with varicose veins?

You will find all this and more in our article.

What is buckwheat

Buckwheat is currently one of the most popular foods. A significant part of this is due to the amount of health-promoting substances it contains. Due to its universal use, it is often considered a cereal. Botanically, however, it belongs to a different group.

For this reason, buckwheat, but also amaranth and quinoa, are referred to as pseudocereals. One of their advantages compared to classic cereals is that they are gluten-free. The slightly nutty taste of buckwheat goes well with both sweet and savory dishes.

Types of buckwheat

We can buy buckwheat in two forms, shelled and unshelled. Hulled buckwheat is then available in two variants, dark and light, surprisingly, it is always the seeds of one and the same buckwheat plant, or phygopyrum esculentum. In addition to common buckwheat, tartar buckwheat is also cultivated to a limited extent, mainly as a honey-bearing plant.

  • Buckwheat in the husk – this is the basic form of buckwheat seeds after they have been harvested. The seeds are covered with a hard inedible skin, so they are not intended for eating, but for growing or sprouting.

  • Shelled buckwheat – these are seeds without the hard skin, which are intended for consumption. Depending on the peeling process, a dark or light variant is subsequently created. It is the starting raw material for the production of many other buckwheat products, such as flour, semolina or flakes.
    • Light buckwheat – peeling takes place mechanically while cold, the skin of the seed is gradually abraded.
    • Buckwheat dark – peeling takes place while hot, the seed is steamed and the skin subsequently bursts. Heat will cause the surface of the seed to change color.
The difference between light and dark buckwheat.
source: almondbuttermachine.com

Light versus dark buckwheat

The different peeling technology slightly affects the taste and nutrient content. In terms of nutrient content, it is better to give preference to light buckwheat, which is peeled more gently. Dark buckwheat loses a certain amount of vitamins and enzymes due to heat. In terms of taste and aroma, dark buckwheat is more intense, again due to the effect of heat. Store both types of buckwheat in a dry and dark place.

Why include buckwheat in the menu

Buckwheat is very rich in various nutrients. It contains a large amount of protein, soluble and insoluble fiber and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Its preparation is very simple, and including buckwheat in your diet is more than worthwhile. Among the minerals, it stands out mainly for its content of zinc, copper, selenium and manganese. As for vitamins, it is rich in the whole range of vitamins of the B group, and it is quite exceptional in its content of vitamin P, or rutin.

Nutritional values in buckwheat

It is interesting to compare buckwheat with other pseudocereals such as amaranth and quinoa.

Peeled light buckwheat
100 g
100 g
100 g
Energy 343 calories 371 kcal 368 calories
Carbohydrates 71.5 g 65.2 g 64.2 g
Proteins 13.2 g 13.6 g 14.1 g
Fats 2.1 g 7.02 g 6.07 g
Fiber 10 g 6.7 g 7 g

The peeling process causes slight changes in nutritional values.

Paddy buckwheat
100 g
Peeled light buckwheat 100 g Peeled dark buckwheat 100 g
Energy 333 calories 343 calories 346 calories
Carbohydrates 62.2 g 71.5 g 75 g
Proteins 13.3 g 13.2 g 11.7 g
Fats 2.22 g 2.1 g 2.71 g
Fiber 2.2 g 10 g 10.3 g

Vitamins and minerals

Peeled light buckwheat 100 g Amaranth
100 g
100 g
Vitamin B1 0.101 mg 0.116 mg 0.36 mg
Vitamin B2 0.425 mg 0.2 mg 0.318 mg
Vitamin B3 7.02 mg 0.923 mg 1.52 mg
Vitamin B5 1.23 mg 1.46 mg 0.772 mg
Vitamin B6 0.21 mg 0.591 mg 0.487 mg
Potassium 460 mg 508 mg 563 mg
Phosphorus 347 mg 557 mg 457 mg
Magnesium 231 mg 248 mg 197 mg
Manganese 1.3 mg 3.33 mg 2.03 mg
Copper 1.1 mg 0.525 mg 0.59 mg
Zinc 2.4 mg 2.81 mg 3.1 mg
Iron 2.2 mg 7.61 mg 4.57 mg

Peeled light buckwheat
100 g
Hulled dark buckwheat
100 g
Vitamin B1 0.101 mg 0.224 mg
Vitamin B2 0.425 mg 0.271 mg
Vitamin B3 7.02 mg 5.14 mg
Vitamin B5 1.23 mg 1.23 mg
Vitamin B6 0.21 mg 0.353 mg
Potassium 460 mg 320 mg
Phosphorus 347 mg 319 mg
Magnesium 231 mg 221 mg
Manganese 1.3 mg 1.62 mg
Copper 1.1 mg 0.624 mg
Zinc 2.4 mg 2.42 mg
Iron 2.2 mg 2.24 mg

Buckwheat and gluten

The advantage of all pseudo-cereals is that they are naturally gluten-free. For this reason, they are often consumed by celiacs and people who, for various reasons, try to limit gluten in their diet. Last but not least, buckwheat also has a low glycemic index, does not increase blood sugar levels, and is therefore suitable for diabetics.

Buckwheat and health

Due to the content of many vitamins, minerals and fiber, the consumption of buckwheat has a number of positives for our health. What effects do we mean specifically?

  • Antioxidants – Buckwheat is rich in various antioxidant plant compounds. The most important include in particular:
    • Rutin – the main antioxidant polyphenol, reduces the risk of cancer and improves inflammation, blood pressure and blood lipid profile. In addition, it increases the elasticity of blood vessels and strengthens their walls. For this reason, buckwheat is recommended to be consumed for problems with varicose veins.
    • Quercetin – an antioxidant that also has a number of beneficial effects on health, including reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease.
    • D-chiro-inositol – a unique type of soluble carbohydrate that lowers blood sugar and is beneficial in the treatment of diabetes. Buckwheat is the richest food source of this plant compound.

  • Cardiovascular disease – Buckwheat boasts many heart-healthy substances such as rutin, magnesium, copper, fiber and some proteins. Rutin reduces the risk of heart disease by preventing blood clots and reducing both inflammation and blood pressure. Buckwheat improves the blood lipid profile, including lower levels of bad cholesterol and higher levels of good cholesterol. A poor lipid profile is a risk factor for heart disease.

  • Blood sugar regulation and diabetes – Buckwheat as a good source of fiber has a low to medium glycemic index. Studies have also linked buckwheat intake to lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. This effect is believed to be due to the unique compound D-chiro-inositol, which increases the sensitivity of cells to insulin.

  • Digestive system – buckwheat contains a large amount of fiber, which our body cannot digest, thereby improving the health of the digestive system, especially the intestines, and preventing some problems associated with the digestive system.
A heart made from buckwheat seeds.
source: pixabay.com

Side effects of buckwheat

Buckwheat is not a risky food, but as with everything, it pays to consume it in moderation. In case of excessive consumption, thanks to the “heat” of buckwheat, you may sweat more. In exceptional cases, an allergy can also occur, which is manifested by a rash similar to hives

Buckwheat pillow

Buckwheat helps our health not only by consumption, but also as part of special aids and products, such as especially various pillows. But it is also used to make mats, seats and collars. In this case, mainly buckwheat husks are used.

The advantage of these types of pillows is that they adapt very well to the cervical spine and other parts of the body. In this respect, they help with various problems with the cervical spine or hips, but they also help with migraines, muscle or joint pain. The pillows also act as a small massage and can also be heated or, on the contrary, cooled.

A pillow filled with buckwheat husks.
source: hrdsindia.org

How to cook buckwheat

Preparing buckwheat is very simple. There are generally two ways to cook it, depending on how much time you have available. Before preparing the buckwheat yourself, check it and discard damaged seeds if necessary. Then rinse it with cold water. Depending on the amount of buckwheat, add 1.5 times the amount of boiling water, salt, close the lid and leave in the pot without further cooking for approximately 20-30 minutes.

Actually, it is not a classic cooking, because in the ideal case, buckwheat should not be boiled, so as not to destroy some of the valuable substances it contains. The finished buckwheat is beautifully soft. In general, dark buckwheat has to be “cooked” a little longer than light buckwheat.

If you don’t have that much time, you can throw the rinsed buckwheat into a pot of boiling water and then continue cooking for approximately 7-8 minutes. Buckwheat prepared in this way can be used as a side dish or added to other dishes.

How to cover up a typical taste

Some people are slightly bothered by the intense taste of buckwheat. In this case, you can easily disguise it with spices, be it marjoram or garlic, if buckwheat is used in sweet dishes, cinnamon is perfect. In some recipes, you may also find that the buckwheat is lightly fried in a pan before “cooking”.

Bowl with raw and cooked buckwheat.
source: honesttogoodness.com.au

How to include buckwheat in the menu

This versatile crop has very versatile uses in the kitchen. It can be used to prepare a very varied palette of diverse dishes, both hot and cold.


If you want to start your day healthy, you can prepare a tasty and nutritious buckwheat porridge from buckwheat, especially from buckwheat semolina or flakes. Depending on your personal preferences, you can cook buckwheat in water, milk or vegetable milk. Almond, coconut or soy are most often used.

Buckwheat porridge can be prepared in many different variants, both sweet and salty. The sweet variants are flavored and decorated with fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, honey or maple syrup. When preparing salty options, you can use a variety of vegetables and cheese.


Don’t know what to prepare for the children or yourself for a snack? All you have to do is cook the buckwheat in plant-based milk, blend, season and decorate with maple syrup, vanilla, honey, nuts or fresh fruit. The result will be a healthy buckwheat pudding.

Pastries and sweet foods

Many diverse desserts can also be prepared from buckwheat and buckwheat products. In addition to adding buckwheat flour or semolina to a variety of doughs, you can also use it to prepare healthy pancakes or fritters, the procedure is the same as when preparing oatmeal. The flakes can be used to prepare buckwheat biscuits or they can be used to liven up a crumb for a cake.

Last but not least, you can also prepare a very original cake body from buckwheat, especially lamanka. In this case, it is enough to boil buckwheat in vegetable milk, then add dried fruit and nuts and let everything harden in a cake form. Then decorate with fresh fruit and the healthy treat is ready.

Another popular sweet treat in which you can easily use buckwheat is sweet puddings. Just mix boiled buckwheat with fruit, for example apples or plums, add nuts, syrup and bake.

Lunch or dinner

Do you like soups? In that case, you will appreciate buckwheat as a healthy way to thicken various soups. Buckwheat is especially suitable for potato chips or koulaida, but you can also add it to broths. In addition to soups, buckwheat or buckwheat bran, semolina or flour can also be used to prepare various patties, meatballs, meatloaf or dumplings.

Baked buckwheat is another very tasty and simple dish that can be prepared in many different ways. The taste of buckwheat goes particularly well with mushrooms, garlic and marjoram, in which case a certain variant of the traditional kuba is created, but you can also bake it with zucchini or smoked meat.

Boiled buckwheat mixed with onion, garlic and other spices is an interesting mixture that you can use to fill pepper pods, cabbage leaves or other vegetables. In combination with spinach, buckwheat can also be used in the preparation of the popular quiche.

Last but not least, you can use buckwheat to prepare buckwheat risotto , just replace rice with buckwheat or use it together with rice. The most popular variants include buckwheat risotto with beetroot, mushrooms or peas.

Buckwheat in a cold kitchen

Similar to quinoa, buckwheat can be used in a variety of vegetable salads. Blended buckwheat can be flavored with spices, herbs or vegetables to make an interesting and healthy spread. There is also a variant of buckwheat hummus, in which the traditional chickpea is replaced by this universal pseudo-cereal.

Buckwheat bread and buckwheat tea

In addition to the seeds, buckwheat bran can also be consumed. In this case, paddy buckwheat is used, which is allowed to germinate on a thin layer of soil. It can be eaten like chives, on bread or added to salad, risotto and other dishes. A drink called buckwheat tea can also be prepared from unhusked buckwheat or buckwheat husks.

Preparation of tea from buckwheat husks.
source: hofo.pk

What is made from buckwheat

A number of other products are made from hulled buckwheat, which have a wide range of uses in the kitchen.

Buckwheat break is the designation of buckwheat seeds broken into smaller pieces. Thanks to this, its “cooking” is faster than in the case of whole buckwheat groats. It is perfect for preparing various porridges, meatballs, patties, puddings or spreads, in fact, whenever you need buckwheat to combine well with other ingredients.

Buckwheat flour is created by finely grinding buckwheat seeds. It is sought after not only for its slightly nutty taste, but also for its gluten-free nature. It can be used alone or mixed with other types of flour. It is of course used for baking, but it can also be used to thicken soups, sauces and minced meat. Buckwheat flour is also used to make buckwheat pasta , which is very popular today, and buckwheat noodles are common in Japanese cuisine.

Buckwheat semolina is also produced by grinding buckwheat seeds, it is finer than oat flour. It is often used to prepare buckwheat porridge, dumplings, gnocchi, or also for thickening.

Bowl with buckwheat flour.
source: jack-berry.com

Buckwheat flakes are produced very similarly to oatmeal, i.e. by steaming and crushing the seeds. Their use is also similar. Compared to most other products, they have the advantage that they do not need heat treatment. You will appreciate them when preparing porridges, spreads and as crumbs for cakes.

Buckwheat bulgur is made similarly to buckwheat, with the only difference being that the seed is cooked and dried before cracking. Bulgur is especially suitable as a side dish or one of the ingredients in a salad.

Extruded buckwheat is mainly available in the form of instant buckwheat porridge, which is produced by moistening buckwheat and then exposing it to high temperature and pressure. The advantage of extruded products is the ease and speed of their use, the disadvantage is the loss of certain valuable nutrients.

Buckwheat honey is a product that is made mainly from tartar buckwheat.

What does buckwheat look like

Buckwheat belongs to the red family, so it is botanically related to, for example, rhubarb or sorrel. It is an annual plant with white or pink flowers. The fruit is a three-sided achene that resembles a beech and hides one seed. Buckwheat, in Latin phygopyrum esculentum, originally comes from Asia. Its origins go back at least four to six thousand years.

A blooming buckwheat field.
source: thedailygardener.com

From Asia, it later spread to Europe through raids. After all, its Czech name buckwheat is derived from the fact that it was brought by pagan invaders, especially Saracens and Tatars. Due to the fact that, compared to wheat or barley, it thrived even in climatically less suitable areas, it became a popular crop not only in Central Europe but also in Northern Europe. It came to North America with colonists in the 16th century.

Russia is currently the largest producer of buckwheat, followed by China and Ukraine. It is also grown in limited quantities on the territory of our republic. Its cultivation is also suitable for ecological production, it is resistant to diseases and pests.

Milan & Ondra

We are both fans of good food and enjoy cooking. On this website, we want to inspire you with traditional, but also less common recipes. We will be happy if you try our recipes and let us know how you liked them. Bon appetite! :)