I love risotto, it’s among my all time favorite comfort foods. It’s a flexible recipe that, apart from the traditional base of rice, can be made with any number of other grains like spelt, wheat or barley. I was really interested to hear from Eugene in D’lush Cafe recently that they’d been making risotto very successfully from buckwheat. So if you’re in the mood for trying something new, healthy and tasty in the new year why not pick up a pack of buckwheat and give it a go?
Despite it’s name, buckwheat is totally unrelated to wheat and is a gluten-free superfood seed that is inexpensive to buy and versatile to use! It is perfect for making porridge, granola, and salads and the flour form is perfect for baking with. Also known as Kasha, buckwheat is traditionally eaten in Eastern Europe but less so in these parts.
Diets that contain buckwheat have been linked to lowered risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The Yi people of China consume a diet high in buckwheat (100 grams per day, about 3.5 ounces). When researchers tested blood lipids of 805 Yi Chinese, they found that buckwheat intake was associated with lower total serum cholesterol, lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the form linked to cardiovascular disease) cholesterol, and a high ratio of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, health-promoting cholesterol) to total cholesterol.

Buckwheat’s beneficial effects are due in part to its rich supply of flavonoids, particularly rutin. Flavonoids are phytonutrients that protect against disease by extending the action of vitamin C and acting as antioxidants. Buckwheat’s lipid-lowering activity is largely due to rutin and other flavonoid compounds. These compounds help maintain blood flow, keep platelets from clotting excessively (platelets are compounds in blood that, when triggered, clump together, thus preventing excessive blood loss) and protect LDL from free radical oxidation into potentially harmful cholesterol oxides. All these actions help to protect against heart disease.

Buckwheat is also a good source of magnesium. This mineral relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery while lowering blood pressure—the perfect combination for a healthy cardiovascular system.

The combination of rutin and magnesium would account for buckwheat’s tradition as a useful addition to the diet of anyone suffering from circulatory problems. So if you, for example, suffer from cold feet and hands adding some buckwheat to your diet a few times a week could make a big difference.

That’s it, I’m sold! We are missing out by not including this nutritional powerhouse seed in our diets. Here’s the D’lush recipe for the perfect buckwheat risotto.


2 Onions
2-3 Cloves of Garlic
Butter & Olive Oil for frying
1 Glass of White Wine
250g Buckwheat
Approx. 1 Litre of Stock
Parmesan & Butter to serve

Risotto-prep-pic1.  Sweat off 2 small finely chopped onions and two to three finely chopped or minced garlic cloves (I think a stick or two of finely chopped celery or flavorsome mushrooms could be good here too!) in butter and olive oil until soft and translucent (5-6 mins) before adding 250g buckwheat and coating it in the oil and butter.

2.  Add a glass of white wine allowing it to reduce down leaving only its perfume. Add ladles of hot vegetable or other stock allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next (you’ll need about a litre). The risotto should be ready after about 30 to 35 minutes of constant gentle stirring. The buckwheat should be unctuous (I love that word!) but still have a little bite.


3.  Finish with the addition of a little butter and grated Parmesan to enrich. Serve with a green salad. This would serve two generously.

This is a basic risotto recipe and, once you’ve mastered it, it can be taken in any direction you fancy with the addition of seafood and other proteins, other vegetables, herbs and spices etc. What you end up with is a dish that’s easy to prepare, healthy, tasty and comforting. Bonne appétit! Oh and thank you all in D’lush for a great recipe. Keep on turning out tasty and healthy food for Wexford!