• You know how food can evoke all kinds of memories? The smells and tastes of certain dishes can bring you right back to your childhood, can’t they? That’s what buckwheat groats do for me. Except I remember it being called kasha and served as part of a dish called Kasha Varnishkas. And it was almost always served with brisket, usually at a Jewish holiday like Rosh Hashonah. I now think of it as a comfort food and love the smell and flavor of it. I know my mother would love to know that I’ve carried on her tradition of preparing and eating a recipe that she and her mother and grandmother prepared and ate.

    Though truthfully, I haven’t made Kasha Varnishkas since going gluten free. Sigh. But when I do make it, I will substitute some sort of gluten free noodle for the bowties. But then again, maybe I can find gluten free bowties! Wouldn’t that be spectacular? Then it would be like having the real thing. Maybe they are available and I just haven’t discovered them yet!

    Kasha Varnishkas

    1 pound bowtie noodles, cooked per package instructions
    1 cup kasha (also called buckwheat groats)
    1 beaten egg
    1 chopped onion
    2 cups bouillon (You can use water or stock)

    While the noodles are cooking, soak the kasha in beaten egg until the kernels are coated thoroughly. Saute the mixture in a lightly oiled pan until the kernels separate. Add chopped onion, mixing well with the kasha, cooking until onion is tender. Add bouillon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Mix with cooked and drained pasta.

    It was my nutritionist who suggested that I add more fiber to my diet by eating buckwheat groats. It wasn’t until I realized she was talking about kasha, that I was able to embrace the idea. Instead of making Kasha Varnishkas though, I decided to roast whatever vegetables I had in the frig and mix them with the cooked kasha. It was heavenly. I roasted yellow and red beets, carrots, white sweet potato, and red pepper, chopped shallots, mixed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roasted at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Though it wasn’t the kasha recipe of my youth, it was comfort food still the same. Would’ve made my mother, may she rest in peace, proud!
    • Helen

      Hi Ellen,

      It’s so exciting to find another MA food blogger. I loved reading about your adventures in the kitchen. By the way, buckwheat is one of my favorite grains :) I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to stop eating absolutely all glutten. But it looks like you are embracing this challenge so well and learning to appreciate all those thing you CAN eat. I can’t wait to read more of your stories.


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