Kasha Pilaf

September 3, 2008

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I have my buddy Andrew to thank for introducing me to Kasha. I had never heard of it, and certainly never tried it, until the first time Andrew and I ate at the Carnegie Deli together. In addition to my usual Corned Beef and Matzoh Ball Soup, Andrew–good Jewish man that he is—insisted that we get a knish or two as well. There were a few kinds to choose from, and of those he picked two: Potato (the classic) and Kasha. At Carnegie, the knish are large and round, and Andrew told me the ‘right’ way to eat them is to cut them into quarters. It tried the potato first and it was soft and oniony just as I expected….but the kasha knish was a revelation! Nutty and earthy and just a touch (a very tiny touch) sweet, it was the perfect foil to the pastry on the outside. One bite in, kasha was my new love!

From that time on, the Kasha Knish was on the menu anytime I ate at Carnegie. But it was in doing a bit of whole grain eating research that I started to think of what kinds of things I could do with kasha (aka roasted buckwheat) in my own kitchen–not being much of a knish maker–and hopefully enjoying something so whole-grain-healthy in recipes that didn’t call for pastry.

Enjoying an abundance of late summer vegetables, and being inspired by the recipe on the back of the Wolff’s Kasha box, I made this veggie-filled Kasha Pilaf. The vegetables not only add great flavor to the kasha, but also helps to lighten the dish (whole grains, while very good for you, are somewhat high in calories.) Mixing starches with vegetables is a great way to lessen the calorie count while not feeling cheated, so I try to do this whenever possible.

Use the following recipe as a guide, use as much/little oil in cooking the vegetables as fits your lifestyle, choose vegetables that you either have on hand or you like, and remember you can always add a bit more stock or water, or even some chopped tomatoes (nice and juicy), etc., if it seems a bit dry or you need to ‘hold’ the pilaf for a bit before serving.

Kasha Pilaf with Summer Vegetables

For the vegetables:

1 medium Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced

1 Eggplant, cut into 1-inch dice
1 Zucchini, chopped

1 Pepper, whichever color you prefer, diced
1 stalk Celery, chopped

1 TBS each, chopped fresh Basil and Parsley (or use whatever herbs you enjoy)

Heat a large saute pan, add 1 TBS olive oil, then saute the onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables, sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper, and cook over med-high heat until cooked through and browned in spots. Remove from heat and mix in fresh herbs. Taste and correct seasonings.

For the Kasha:

2 cups chicken stock (can sub another broth or use water)

2 TBS Butter

1/4 teaspoon Salt (may need to increase if not using stock)

1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder

1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder

1/8 teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1 egg (or egg white)

1 cup Kasha (I like Medium Grind)

Heat stock, butter and seasonings in a saucepan to boiling.

Lightly beat egg in a bowl with a fork. Add kasha, stir until the kernels are coated with the egg.

In a separate medium-sized skillet or saucepan (you can use the one you cooked the vegetables in–that’s what I do), add the egg-coated kasha. Cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the egg has dried on the kasha and kernels are separate. Reduce heat to low.

Quickly stir in boiling liquid. Cover and simmer 7-10 minutes, until kasha is tender and the liquid is absorbed.

Stir in the vegetable and herb mixture, taste and adjust for seasoning and moisture, and serve.

Serves 8.

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Filed Under: Diet-Friendly, Recipe, Savory, Sides, Vegetarian-Friendly

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