Why Buckwheat Is This Year’s ‘Go-To’ Grain

By Anne Palumbo

From meal-flavored cocktails to hybrid snacks, premium bottled waters to soothing soups, the predictions are out for what we will eat and drink in the new year.

This year’s trending grain surprised me. Buckwheat. Yes, humble, discrete buckwheat. Why now? For the climate-minded, buckwheat is a great cover crop, meaning it benefits the successful growth of future crops. And for the health-minded, it’s particularly rich in complex carbs, fiber, antioxidants and minerals.

Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat. It’s a seed from a flowering plant and does not contain any wheat or gluten.

Buckwheat, like many whole grains, is an excellent source of healthy carbs, averaging about 34 grams per cooked cup. Although carbs often get a bad rap, especially when it comes to weight gain, good carbs—like the kind in buckwheat—are vital to your health. They provide energy, help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, and aid weight control by helping you feel full on fewer calories.

In addition, buckwheat’s complex carbs, which take longer to digest than refined carbs, are less likely to cause blood sugar peaks and lows. Smart carbs, says registered dietitian Marina Chaparro, certified diabetes educator, “can actually do a lot for you and your diabetes control.”

Buckwheat also contains a decent amount of fiber: about 5 grams per cooked cup. According to the Mayo Clinic, a high-fiber diet promotes regularity and bowel health, may lower the risk of colon cancer, helps control blood sugar levels, and may help lower total blood cholesterol levels, which benefits hearts.

Stumped about what to give your sweetie for Valentine’s Day? Nothing says “I love you” better than a steaming bowl of buckwheat!

Antioxidants abound in buckwheat, more, in fact, than many other cereal grains. These remarkable compounds do a body good by helping to improve inflammation, lower your risk of cancer and heart disease, manage diabetes, and fight free radical damage.

Although buckwheat is not a superstar provider of any one mineral, it boasts a wide variety of many, with manganese, copper, and magnesium taking top honors.

All work together to promote good health and longevity.


Helpful Tips

Buckwheat comes in many forms: groats, flour, pasta, and noodles. Groats, the least expensive form, cook fairly quickly and last about 5 days in the fridge. Buckwheat flour, stored in an airtight container, can last up to a year in the freezer.


Mushroom, Buckwheat, and Black Bean Soup

Serves 6-8  |  Adapted from simple-veganista.com


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 celery ribs, sliced

2 large carrots, sliced

20 oz white mushrooms, sliced

1 cup buckwheat groats

2 teaspoons thyme

2 teaspoons fennel seeds (optional)

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

7-8 cups broth of choice or water

juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

15 oz can of black beans, rinsed

1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

½ cup parsley, chopped


1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat, add onions and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in carrots, celery, mushrooms, thyme and optional spices; cook another 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Add in the buckwheat groats, broth, lemon juice, zest, beans, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, partially cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Serve garnished with a sprinkle of parsley.