Buckwheat Kasha Instead Of...

With Hanukkah upon us (I want a V-slicer of doom), I thought I'd let my constant cravings for Jewish food run rampant all over lunch this week. Yesterday it was the secret weapon I only break out for people I really like: the incredibly under-represented sardine sandwich of my great-grandfather's day. Tomorrow, we'll get into pickles, which any reputable Jewish deli worth its brining salt provides you by the bowl. And today it's kasha, otherwise known as buckwheat or buckwheat groats.

Now I love quinoa. I really do. It makes an awesome salad. But it's painfully trendy and the fact that I once ate it three times in one weekend without even trying leads me to believe it will eventually sprout an ironic mustache and chest tattoo and move to...well, I don't think I need to finish that sentence. Kasha, on the other hand, set up shop in a totally different part of Brooklyn about a century ago: largely Russian-Jewish Sheepshead Bay/Brighton Beach. You know, where you end up when you fall asleep on the B train at 3AM. But I digress. Besides, I just moved to Manhattan.

(The rest of the editors): "Defector!"

Kasha is as easy to cook as rice or quinoa, and while it may not enjoy the superfood status of quinoa, it's jam-packed full of fiber (about 20% of your daily recommended value) and tastes absolutely delicious. I love it with butter, salt and crumbled feta for breakfast, maybe topped with a poached egg, and I make the rest into a cold salad for lunch. It's nutty, chewy, filling, and just absorbant enough to soak up the flavors of anything you add to it without getting soggy. Oh, and it's also gluten-free.

With more apologies to orzo, couscous, all varieties of rice, quinoa over there in the corner with its surprisingly expensive electric guitar, bulghur and anything else you might make into a salad, I offer these "buckwheat instead" suggestions:

...and instead of breadcrumbs in meatloaf. Wow, I never thought I'd go public with that trick. The fiber fairy's really got me under her spell.