Week Three: Ingredient Challenges
Unconventional grains: Cooking with freekeh, buckwheat, sorghum, etc. – try something you wouldn’t usually!
Ever since I had a surprisingly delicious bowl of buckwheat porridge in Amsterdam earlier this year, I’ve been meaning to recreate it at home. Turns out it’s spectacularly simple to whip up — just soak raw buckwheat groats for an hour or so, then blend them with your favorite nondairy milk, spices, and a sweetener, if you’d like.
I made mine with almond milk, medjool dates, and lots of cinnamon, then topped the porridge with frozen blueberries, toasted sliced almonds, volunteer ground cherries from my garden, toasted coconut, and more cinnamon. I made a big ol’ container’s worth, too, so my breakfasts for this week are covered. I’ve only tried it chilled, but I bet it’ll be great warm, too. And I’m looking forward to experimenting with the “recipe” — there are so many ways you can play with it!
If you’d prefer an actual recipe, give this one or this one a shot. This one adds chia seeds and looks great too!
In just a couple days, S and I devoured all the Apricot Buckwheat Bites I made earlier this week. I’m surprised they lasted longer than a day, to be honest!
“Mmm. I really like these,” S said when he tried the first one. And then, a few bites later, “You should make a chocolate version.”
A chocolate version. Once the idea was in my head, it wouldn’t leave. I had to make it happen.
Chocolate-Hazelnut Buckwheat Bites
Makes 25 balls about 1.25″ in diameter
- 1 C raw hazelnuts
- 1/4 C raw buckwheat groats
- 18-20 raw Medjool dates
- 2 T raw shelled hemp seeds
- 1/3 C chocolate chips
- 1 T maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
Add the hazelnuts, buckwheat groats, the hemp seeds, and about 15 dates to a food processor and process until well combined. Add the chocolate chips, maple syrup, and sea salt and process for 10-15 seconds. Check the mixture—if it’s not holding together at all, add a few dates, process, and check again. Add more dates if necessary until the mixture is sticky but holds together.
Using your hands, roll the mixture into balls about 1.25″ in diameter. Store in the refrigerator for best results.
Between the chocolate chips and the crunchy buckwheat, these little bites taste more like candy than anything else. But five balls give you 20% of your daily value of iron, along with 9 grams of protein, 7% of your daily value of calcium, and a decent dose of fiber. Sweet!
One of the best parts of MoFo this year has been discovering new and unexpected nutrition sources. The internet is full of top-ten lists, touting the best ways to get various nutrients on a vegetarian/vegan/paleo/gluten-free/whatever diet. But those lists only take you so far—I’ve found plenty of great protein and iron sources simply by rifling through my pantry. Today’s mostly raw recipe combines a few surprising sources of iron into a super satisfying snack.
Apricot Buckwheat Bites
Makes 20 balls about 1.5″ in diameter
- 1/3 cup raw whole hazelnuts
- 2/3 cup raw buckwheat groats, divided
- 8-10 medjool dates, pitted and halved
- 2/3 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped (measure before chopping)
- 2 T raw shelled hemp seeds
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Dash sea salt
Add the hazelnuts and half the buckwheat groats to a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the dates (start with 8), apricots, and vanilla extract and process until all ingredients are combined—the mixture will be a little sticky, but it should hold together. If it’s too dry, add the remaining dates. Add the remaining groats, hemp seeds, and sea salt and pulse a few more times until all new ingredients are incorporated.
Using your hands, roll the mixture into balls about 1.5″ in diameter. Store in the refrigerator for best results.
Note: Vanilla bean seeds would work great here, but I couldn’t find mine… so, vanilla extract it was.
These little bites have a satisfying crunch to them thanks to the raw buckwheat groats. If you’ve never used raw buckwheat, do yourself a favor and try it. Just be careful not to buy toasted buckwheat accidentally—that satisfying crunch will be much less satisfying and a little more unpleasant in that case. (Toasted buckwheat is also called kasha, and it makes a nutty replacement for your favorite cooked grain.) Raw buckwheat is—surprise!—a great source of iron, as are the apricots, dates, and hemp seeds. Four of these bites will give you 13% of your daily value of iron, along with 4 grams of protein and 6.4% of your daily value of calcium. Impressive!
Have you tried raw buckwheat groats? How do you like to use them?