Today I have the pleasure of posting a recipe by one of my colleagues, Eleonora Gafton, who is sharing a gluten-free, vegan recipe for Buckwheat with Cremini Mushrooms, Broccoflower, and Fresh Cilantro.  It’s a great recipe to keep you warm and fill you up while the last cool days of winter are sticking around.  Enjoy!  – Jen


Brrrrrr… My thoughts on winter

One would think that March would be the beginning of new life in nature. Bright green grass begins to spring up, and buds on the trees are popping out and birds are chirping happily. We are all ready for the great outdoors. However, Mother Nature has other plans. Yet again we were blessed with another blanket of the white stuff. Schools were closed- even the Federal Government shut down- and we were encouraged to stay indoors to allow the Department of Transportation to clear the roads.

After a brisk walk in the fresh air, I was inspired to prepare a bowl of Kasha. This is my grain of choice during winter. This hardy grain is a relative of the rhubarb. In medieval Russia it was a feast food of choice. Kasha is roasted buckwheat, and it has no connection to wheat at all. It is a gluten-free food.

The benefits of buckwheat

Buckwheat is a cooling grain. It supports the stomach, large intestine and the spleen. Of all the grains, buckwheat has the longest transit time in the gut. It is therefore the most filling and stabilizing for blood sugar irregularities. This is the optimal grain for diabetes patients. Other great characteristics of this grain are that buckwheat helps neutralize the toxic acidic waste in the body, helps to lower cholesterol, and is an excellent choice as a blood building food. Buckwheat is high in rutin and quercetin, which are flavonoid glycosides that have beneficial effects on blood vessels. It helps to lower high blood pressure, reduce capillary permeability and increase micro-circulation in veins. Did I mention it has all eight essential amino acids? It is higher than all other grains in lysine and has 100 percent more calcium than other grains, thus it is considered a nutritional powerhouse.

Buckwheat pairs well with mushrooms since both have great earthy flavors. Enjoy this exquisite dish on a cold winter day and let’s hope that spring is around the corner.

Buckwheat with cremini mushrooms, broccoflower, and fresh cilantro

Gluten-free, vegan

1 cup Kasha (Buckwheat)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cup filtered water

1 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced

½ head broccoflower (Romanesco broccoli) cut in small florettes

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

½ teaspoon sea salt

Fresh ground pepper


Bring two cups of water to boil add salt. In the meantime, add the oil to a sauté pan and sauté the sliced mushrooms and broccoflower florets. Rinse the kasha well. Add kasha, sautéed mushrooms and broccoflower to the boiling water and cook for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed.  Allow it to cool and then fluff with a fork; season to your taste with fresh chopped cilantro, fresh ground pepper and more salt if needed.

You can change the texture of grains can by boiling the water before adding the grains. This will keep the grains separated and prevent a mushy consistency. This is the only way to cook kasha (Buckwheat). Do not add kasha to cold water, as it will not cook properly.


Eleonora Gafton is a faculty member and professional chef in the Nutrition and Integrative Health program at Maryland University of Integrative Health, one of the nation’s top graduate schools for health and wellness studies. Growing up on an organic farm and winery in Romania, Ms. Gafton developed a passion for natural foods. She completed her chef training at Ministerul Turismului International in Bucharest, Romania and went on to work in a three-star hotel, becoming the first female executive chef in a communist country. Ms. Gafton holds a bachelor’s degree in hotel management from Cornell University, a master’s degree in herbal medicine and clinical studies from Maryland University of Integrative Health, and a certificate in health coaching from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NY.  For more great recipes and information, visit her website at

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