More Bang for Your Buckwheat

Overlooked, underappreciated, and widely misunderstood, buckwheat has faced numerous obstacles gaining traction in mainstream markets, despite its extensive history and remarkable nutritional profile. Despite the name, buckwheat isn’t actually a type of wheat at all, and is in fact a fruit seed from the same plant family as rhubarb. Most people don’t realize that there are different types of buckwheat as well, which vary greatly in quality and flavor.

Big Bold Health has unleashed possibly the most potent, ground-breaking strain as the world’s first ever certified organic, US-grown Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat.

Also referred to as HTB for short, this unique genus of buckwheat is redefining the superfood field as we know it. HTB is packed with immunity-supporting phytonutrients, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, and prebiotic fiber. If you don’t have time or patience to cook with the flour, you can also get a concentrated dose of its key phytonutrients in supplement form. HTB is also an essential ingredient bolstering Big Bold Health‘s protein shake mix, which easily turns into sweet treats with serious benefits.

For those seeking the full buckwheat experience by cooking and baking with the finely milled flour, even greater nutritional riches await, as HTB contains two times more protein per gram than quinoa.

The biggest barrier to widespread embrace of HTB is the distinctly earthy, bitter flavors created by the rich phytonutrients themselves. Generally speaking, HTB can be substituted 1:1 for up to one third of the wheat flour in many conventional recipes. Lacking gluten, it has none of the elasticity found in other blends, producing more fragile baked goods.

It’s a delicate balancing act, best highlighted by the art of classic soba noodles. Hearty and slightly chewy, with a delicate toasted, nutty flavor, they embrace the harsher, more polarizing taste of buckwheat with grace.

Plain soba is just the start. Spiked with a splash of vinegar, the acid helps to neutralize bitterness and even bring out a faintly sweet aftertaste. Fiery chili crisp brings the heat with crackling spice, setting off sensory fireworks with every bite. Long strands of cucumber join the tangle to cool things off, intertwining bright, fresh herbs with tender edamame.

Blending Japanese noodles with Chinese condiments, it’s a fusion of my favorite summertime sides. Smashed cucumber salad, drizzled with fragrant hot chili oil is cool yet invigoratingly spicy, with a touch of mala‘s numbing tingle. Zaru soba, on the other hand, is mild and refreshing, simple and understated. Combining the two creates an addictive savory experience that seems to hydrate and revitalize right down to the soul, quenching thirst and hunger in one go.

Though the flavor of HTB is distinct, it’s easy to embrace in such a harmonious dish.

For a 10% discount off your order on BigBoldHealth.com, use the code hannahkaminsky10 at checkout.

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Lettuce Feast

Don’t lose your cool as temperatures rise. There’s no need to sweat the details in the kitchen or the dining room when you could whip up an easy, breezy, no-cook meal in minutes.

Equal parts spicy and refreshing, each crisp bite will wake up your senses with an invigoratingly spicy, creamy almond sauce. Staying perfectly chilled with a refreshingly juicy, sweet and savory mango-tofu salad, the combination of tastes and textures can’t be beat.

Swaddled in fresh lettuce leaves, you don’t even need to break out the forks or knives. It’s a party starter, last minute meal, and relief from the heat all in one.

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Extra Virgin, Extra Special

One of the most important ingredients in my pantry, tied for a photo finish with salt, is olive oil. Always close at hand, in at least two or three varieties, it’s my top pick for baking and cooking, both sweet and savory. We’ve talked about the subject at length, but there’s still so much more to learn about such a historical, essential staple.

Reinvigorated by an inspiring Flavor Your Life Virtual Influencer Event, I’m taking another deep dive into this golden-green elixir. Assembled for the express purpose of sharing the rich, delicious heritage of authentic extra virgin olive oil from Europe, they’re on a mission to banish subpar, rancid blends from kitchens everywhere.

Extra virgin olive oil is the gold standard since it’s made simply by pressing olives without heat or chemicals, which makes it virtually free of the bitter acidity plaguing lesser, cheaper blends. A panel of trained, expert tasters test for defects, ensuring that each drop encapsulates a harmonious balance of fruitiness and spiciness. If the oil doesn’t have that signature essence, it won’t receive an Extra Virgin rating, no matter the painstaking processing methods employed.

Contrary to common belief, extra virgin olive oil has a high smoking point of 400°F, which is why it gets top billing in my cookbooks as a go-to for almost all recipes. The best dishes start with quality ingredients; there’s no two ways about it. That’s why I was so eager to put Le Stagioni d’Italia to the [taste] test.

Billed as having a robust flavor of artichoke and almond with a medium bitter, spicy aftertaste, as well as a green, ripe, fruity aroma, this powerful profile is a clear winner. Featured in a number of rice dishes during the online event, I was hungry for a piece of the action at home, with my own personal touches. Though the golden risotto was quite tempting, glowing luminously even on my dull computer screen, I had to go with cooler, more summery fare.

Sweet cherry tomatoes are slowly roasted to concentrate their natural sugars into tiny umami bombs, bursting with flavor across the landscape of plump carnaroli rice. Though these short grains are typically used for risotto or paella, they’re brilliantly tender yet toothsome once chilled, creating a more texturally satisfying salad than long grains that tend to get dry and brittle over time.

Amplifying the inherently rich profile of the oil itself, I decided to fold actual artichoke hearts into the mix, and instead of using cottage cheese as called for in the original recipe, finish each serving with a creamy dollop of almond ricotta. Infused with fresh herbs and zesty lemon peel, it’s bright, vibrant, complex, luxurious, and yet still approachable and comforting all at once. That’s the beauty of good olive oil; such versatility knows no bounds.

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No Harm, No Fowl

To anyone who still hasn’t tried any of the myriad chicken alternatives on the market now, I must ask: What are you, chicken? Ten years ago, I would have understood the trepidation. They were more frequently referred to as “mock meats,” which was fitting, considering they generally made a mockery of vegans trying to win over dubious omnivores. Old school plant proteins certainly have their place, but to compete with the hyper-realistic options now readily available, it’s time to embrace the other, other, OTHER white meat.

The best thing about these hot new chicks, aside from the complete lack of cholesterol, death, and cruelty, of course, is the fact that they work seamlessly in any preexisting recipes you may have held dear. No need to give up those favorites, or even modify them! Anyone could go vegan by simply opting for different brands the next time they go shopping.

As a seasoned herbivore, sometimes I need to stand back and marvel at the selection. In many cases, I’m trying dishes for the first time at the ripe old age of thirty-something, simply because there hasn’t been a means for easy replication before. In other cases, greater accessibly lends itself to further experimentation, because there’s nothing to risk here. If it doesn’t turn out, there’s no big loss.

Such is the case with chicken salad. No, I never had chicken salad before going vegan. I was raised to believe that mayonnaise was the Devil’s condiment, and adding fruit to a savory dish was purely verboten. Nope, nothing about that odd mixture of gloppy white meat slopped between two slices of bread appealed to me, so I wasn’t exactly clamoring to recreate it.

Honestly, its a good thing it took me so long to warm to the concept. Only with age and experience can I fully appreciate the subtle nuances and intricacies that make it a perennial staple in so many households. It’s all about balance, harmonizing textures and tastes that contrast and compliment, elevating the everyday into something worth eating on repeat. Everyone has their own formula, tweaked to suit individual preferences, so at long last, this one is mine. I hope you personalize it in turn, allowing the classic to live on, without any animal ingredients involved.

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Love Your Leftovers

Scaling down a recipe is a cinch… In theory. The math isn’t hard, the general procedure is all the same. Maybe the time or temperature needs some adjustment, but we’re not talking about anything drastic here. In reality, at least speaking from personal experience, there’s a strange mental block that makes it feel much more difficult. Why go through all that effort to make a meal for one, when you can just as easily feed an army? That would certainly explain why I’ve ended up with Thanksgiving leftovers that could very well last me until next Thanksgiving, no matter how consciously I planned for a downsized feast.

Now, however, I do have yet another thing to be thankful for. Leftovers are quite simply the best part of any meal, be it takeout or home cooking. Cook once, eat twice or thrice, and the flavors only get better over time. If repetition gets dull, it’s a snap to switch things up, re-purposing tired components into a vibrant, fresh dish.

If you’ve never tried toasting your quinoa, you’re missing out on a wealth of flavor, nutty and woodsy, with notes of warm cereal, and a gorgeous golden color. To this endlessly accommodating base, Thanksgiving leftovers get a new home, no matter what you’ve got kicking around in the fridge. Brussels sprouts, tender persimmons, and roasted pumpkin seeds cozy into these plush grains, revived and enlivened with a hot browned butter vinaigrette- No dairy need apply, of course.

Sometimes, the leftovers are simply too good to mess around with aside from reheating. There’s no shame in eating Thanksgiving on repeat, verbatim. Just make sure you don’t miss out on this winning combination, even if you have to start from scratch.

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Budget Crunching and Munching

No longer a fringe movement seen as extreme, veganism has reached mainstream acceptance, if not full understanding. Misconceptions still plague the movement, like the lingering, misplaced concern about getting enough protein, iron, or whatever the trending nutrient is of the moment. Topping the list of these persistent fallacies is that it’s expensive to eat plant-based. Taking a glance at the fancy prepared meals, processed meat alternatives, and gourmet dairy-free cheeses, it’s easy to understand the concern, but it really misses the bigger picture; no healthy, happy herbivore really eats like that.

Busting myths while boosting your bottom line, Vegan on a Budget: 125 Healthy, Wallet-Friendly, Plant-Based Recipes by Nava Atlas goes well beyond the predictable PB + J sandwiches or bland rice and beans. In fact, Ms. Atlas doesn’t just stick to plain recipes, offering indispensable advice for maximizing your grocery dollars via couponing, bulk buying, scratch-made staples, and more.

Speaking from experience, Nava knows her way around the kitchen AND supermarket. I’ve had the great fortune of working with her regularly for the better part of my career, though she got started in the cookbook industry before I could even reach the stove. Author of well over a dozen published works, prolific artist, and loving mother, her diverse passions coalesce into an invaluable resource for anyone seeking a more affordable, flavorful way to eat vegan.

Secretly thrifty, overtly delicious, everything from breakfast to dessert tastes downright luxurious. We’re talking Yellow Curry Rice Noodles better than takeout, for pennies on the dollar. By employing common pantry staples and simple fresh vegetables, this dish comes together faster than you can dial in an order; a huge savings when you consider that time is money, too.

Don’t overlook the humble sandwich, which is much more than a bread-based gut bomb in Nava’s capable hands. Portobello & Seitan Cheesesteak Sandwiches bring an authentic tasty of Philly to the table, no matter where you live. Seven simple ingredients are all it takes to make this meaty, umami meal come to life. Hearty slabs of seitan join forces with tender mushroom slices and crisp bell peppers, smothered by gooey melted cheese in a satisfying handheld package.

One of my personal favorites has been the Barbeque Tempeh Salad, lavished with creamy ranch dressing, ideally. The protein itself is so well-seasoned and flavorful though, it hardly even needs additional embellishment. I made the mistake of only preparing a half-batch when I first photographed the recipe for Ms. Atlas, which I immediately remedied with a double the next day. This is a recipe you’ll want to eat on repeat, too, which is why I’m thrilled to share it after the jump.

Before you run off to the kitchen, tempeh at hand, I have an even more tempting offer for you! To save you the already low price of this cookbook, which will pay for itself after a single meal, I’m thrilled to give away a brand new copy to one lucky reader! To enter, hit the comment section below and tell me about your favorite budget-friendly foods. What are the staples you go to again and again, that have withstood the test of time? Don’t forget to go back and register that in the giveaway widget, along with additional opportunities to win.

The whole concept of Vegan on a Budget is a solid victory across the board; your wallet, stomach, and taste buds will all be glad you cracked open a copy.

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