Kasha (Buckwheat) Pilaf

Buckwheat Groats

Buckwheat Groats

by Cat, Nov 2011 (photo from SproutPeople.org)

See also: Buckwheat & Kasha (About)Kasha porridgeSprouting buckwheat; Soba noodlesBuckwheat crepesBulgur pilaf.

This article includes:

  • Kasha pilaf, and variation with middle-Eastern flavors
  • Russian kasha

On this site, I refer to ‘buckwheat’ when I mean the raw grain (not toasted or roasted), but may be cooked; and to ‘kasha’ when I mean the sprouted or toasted/roasted grain. Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions recipe for kasha is sprouted and dried, rather than toasted/roasted, and is thus more healthful; see Buckwheat & Kasha (About) for my adaptation of her method.

In the US, pilaf is usually made with rice, but in eastern Europe and the middle-East, it is made with kasha (buckwheat) or bulgur (wheat), both of which are more healthful versions of the original seed because of being sprouted or roasted.

Pilaf can be served as a side dish, or as a main entree. 

Kasha Pilaf

This recipe is adapted from SparkPeople.com. This is not the traditional Kasha pilaf from Russia, that includes egg, but rather more resembles my Middle Eastern style Lamb Pilaf that is made with Bulgur, except that it doesn’t include the Middle Eastern seasonings. (See Variation: with Middle Eastern Flavors, below). Because I like my bulgur version so much, I’ve not yet tested this version with kasha.

NOTE: if you plan to sprout and dry buckwheat to make your own kasha (Sprouting buckwheat), start that process at least 2 days in advance. Once sprouted and dried, store it in a glass jar with lid, in the fridge.

Serves 4

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 stalk celery
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup kasha
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • unrefined sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • heavy-bottomed saucepan or small Dutch oven


  1. Slice or shred the carrot, celery, & onion. Combine in a pile and chop finely.
  2. Heat oil over medium-high heat in saucepan. Stir in chopped veggies and saute until soft, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add kasha and stir until fragrant and kasha looks slightly darker in color, 1 – 2 minutes
  4. Add broth and cover tightly. When liquid boils, reduce to simmer and cool until all the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Then fluff with fork and adjust seasoning.

Variation: Kasha Pilaf with Middle Eastern Flavors

Make as above but add to the sauteed veggies:

  • pinch ground oregano or 1/4 tsp dried
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground allspice or cardamom

Garnish with the following, when serving:

  • 1/4 cup raisins or currants
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • sprigs of parsley or mint

Russian Kasha

This recipe is adapted from Bob’s Red Mill and Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon. If you use chicken stock, this is a meal in itself, providing sufficient protein between the stock and the buckwheat. Or it can be served as a pilaf-like side dish. Sauteed onions, mushrooms or other veggies can be added to the liquid.

Makes about 3 cups, or 6 each 4-oz servings as a side dish.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 2 cups water, chicken stock or veggie broth
  • 1 tsp unrefined sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp butter, plus extra for fluffing
  • 1 cup kasha (sprouted & toasted, or roasted; see above)
  • 1 slightly beaten egg


  1. If you sprouted & toasted the buckwheat, let it cool before proceeding.
  2. Bring liquid to a boil; add salt, pepper and butter.
  3. Meanwhile, stir egg into kasha and coat well. Place into dry cast iron skillet and stir-fry over medium-high heat for 2 – 4 minutes, until kernels separate and absorb the egg. It helps to work the mix with a fork so the kernels are mostly separated.
  4. Remove from heat and quickly add boiling liquid (or add kasha to the boiling liquid); cover skillet tightly, place back on burner over simmering heat and steam for 10-30 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork, adding more butter if desired.

About Cat

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