Buckwheat groats are an excellent source of vitamins, protein, and antioxidants. They are very versatile and can be used for cooking or as a topping. But, buckwheat groats can get expensive. So what can you use instead for more budget-friendly options?
If you are wondering if any cheaper alternatives to buckwheat groats exist, that can still offer the same benefits, you’re in luck.
Some of the best substitutes for buckwheat groats include: buckwheat flour, chickpeas, quinoa, oats, kasha, millet, barley, farro, gram flour, or bulgur.
What are Buckwheat Groats?
Kernels of buckwheat that have been crushed and hulled are known as buckwheat groats. Often, these buckwheat groats are cooked in a similar way that rice is. Sometimes buckwheat groats can also be ground into flour.
Buckwheat on its own is a herb, and seeds that are shaped in a triangular fashion that grow from buckwheat are the edible part. Because of the high nutritional value of buckwheat, you may find buckwheat groats as a part of many gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan recipes.
Are Buckwheat Flour and Buckwheat Groats the Same Thing?
While they both come from the buckwheat plant, buckwheat flour and buckwheat groats are not the same. Buckwheat groats are more full, hearty seeds, while buckwheat flour is the result of these seeds being ground up.
Buckwheat flour and buckwheat groats may be used for many of the same purposes, the main difference lies within their texture. As the name suggests, buckwheat flour is a very fine, powdery substance, but buckwheat groats are seeds, similar to popcorn kernels in size.
What Can I Replace Buckwheat Groats With?
There are many sufficient replacements for buckwheat groats. Let’s take a look at some of the best.
1. Buckwheat Flour
As mentioned, buckwheat flour can certainly be used for the same purposes as buckwheat groats. In some cases, it can be the perfect substitute, as it comes from the same plant that buckwheat groats do. Buckwheat flour is just a much finer solution than the groats, in terms of texture.
It is exactly the same in its nutritional value and flavor, but you likely won’t get that dry crumbiness that is sought after with buckwheat groats. For pancakes or cookies, buckwheat flour is an ideal option.
It contains no wheat, despite its name, so it is safe for those with gluten sensitivities. On top of that, buckwheat flour actually has more protein in it than wheat flour does.
Chickpeas are also called garbanzo beans, and they will provide that signature crunch that you look for in buckwheat groats. They have a high nutritional value and work great in dry recipes such as salads.
The flavor of chickpeas is nutty and resemblant of beans, so it works in either savory or sweet dishes alike. They can easily be found in the grocery store and typically come in two ways. Chickpeas are sold both canned or dried, and both will work.
If you opt for the dried chickpeas, just make sure you rehydrate them before using them in your recipe.
Quinoa is an ancient grain, and its use dates back to over 3,000 years ago. To this day, quinoa is one of the healthiest grains out there. It’s often called a superfood because of its rich vitamin and mineral content.
It is low in carbohydrates that can raise insulin levels, making quinoa a perfect food for diabetics who struggle to find grains that aren’t high in carbohydrates. The taste of quinoa is nutty and earthy, and it is utilized in many regions across the world.
The process of cooking quinoa is pretty simple. It first needs to be soaked in water for about 15 minutes, then it can be rinsed and drained by hand. After soaking the quinoa, boil it using two cups of water for every one cup of quinoa. It takes around 20 minutes to cook, and is great with sea salt and many other seasonings.
Oats have a very similar size, shape, and texture to buckwheat groats. One main difference is that buckwheat groats have a slightly better nutritional value than oats do. Like quinoa, oats are an ancient grain that is also pretty easy to find at any store.
Oats are low in calories and can offer vitamins D and B6, as well as magnesium, calcium, and iron. The flavor of oats is somewhat bland but earthy, so it won’t overpower any foods that the oats are prepared with. They also have the crunchiness that buckwheat groats have.
Kasha is a type of porridge that is extremely popular in Russia. It is made from buckwheat groats that have been hulled and ground into flour. It is most often eaten as a breakfast food, and is a great source of protein and various vitamins and minerals.
Millet groats are a gluten-free grain that are packed full of protein and fiber. They are made from the millet plant, and have a very similar texture and flavor to buckwheat groats. Millet groats can be prepared in various ways, including baked, steamed, or boiled.
Millet groats are often used as an addition to stews, soups, and salads. Many people prefer to mix them with other grains, such as brown rice or quinoa.
If you’re not on a strict gluten-free diet, barley can make an easy buckwheat groats replacement for soups. Barley and buckwheat groats cook to a near identical texture, adding the perfect chunkiness to your soup. If you only eat gluten-free, kasha is a similar ingredient that can be used for this purpose.
Farro is another grain which is very similar to buckwheat groats. It cooks the same, and in the same amount of time, and has the same texture. Often, farro actually cooks faster than buckwheat groats, but yields strikingly similar results.
9. Gram Flour
Gram flour is the buckwheat groats substitute for when you utilize buckwheat groats in flour. Gram flour is an extremely healthy gluten-free flour that offers a similar taste to buckwheat. It is typically made up of dried beans, chickpeas, or lentils that have been ground into a powder.
In South Asian cuisine, it is used as a thickening agent for soups and sauces. The taste of gram flour is subtle and nutty, making it easy to mistake for buckwheat flour. In addition to gram flour, there are many other healthy gluten-free flours that will satisfy your baking needs.
Bulgur is a type of whole wheat grain that goes through a process of being boiled, dried, and cracked. It can be found packaged at the grocery store, and has a nutty flavor and chewy texture that is resemblant of buckwheat groats.
Bulgur is also a healthy ingredient to use, as it is high in both fiber and protein. But, it is a whole wheat grain so it’s not recommended for people with gluten allergies to consume bulgur.
Are buckwheat groats good for you?
Buckwheat groats are very healthy. They are full of antioxidants, such as quercetin and rutin, both of which have properties that may ward off various types of cancer. Rutin may also help fight inflammatory diseases including arthritis.
In addition, buckwheat groats are a good source of fiber and prebiotics. Consuming buckwheat groats often can lower the bad types of cholesterol.
Do buckwheat groats cause gas?
If your body is not used to consuming much fiber at one time, buckwheat groats may cause gas and bloating. A diet high in buckwheat is often used for treating gastritis, so while uncomfortable, the fiber content of buckwheat groats will pay off as your body adjusts.
If you are consistently experiencing unpleasant symptoms after eating buckwheat groats, try lowering the amount you eat in one sitting.
Which are healthier oats or buckwheat groats?
While both oats and buckwheat groats are considered healthy, buckwheat groats take the lead in which is healthier. Buckwheat groats have more fiber, potassium and vitamins than oats. They also contain less saturated fats.
Buckwheat groats are a very healthy type of grain that can be used for many cooking and baking purposes. But, if you don’t have any on hand, be sure to check out some substitutes for buckwheat groats that are comparable in flavor, texture, and nutritional value.