Sometimes, all a woman wants is COUSCOUS. Preferably, Israeli couscous with its pearl pallor and miniature pea shape. Couscous is creamy, rich, and adds texture to a simple soup, and since gluten is verboten (What? Haven’t you heard?), I’ve been trying to find worthy, yet healthy, substitutes.
Enter the GROAT. The name is tragic, I know. It feels agrarian, pastoral, something you dig up out from the ground. I discovered the hulled seeds while trolling blogs for gluten-free recipes (such is my life), and contrary to what its name might suggest, buckwheat is not actually wheat. Rather, buckwheat groats are the hulled seeds from the buckwheat plant; its cousin is the rhubarb! Raw, it looks exactly like what it is…a seed. But when cooked, well, magic starts to happen, and the tough seed transforms into the texture of couscous, of rice.
You can’t imagine how excited I was to find a worthy pasta substitute. The tears were real, my friends. I invite you to try out this simple soup to see for yourself. And while many of you are all tra la la, eating gluten with aplomb, perhaps consider switching up your repertoire for healthier, vitamin-packed options.
So says the forced convert.
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 tbsp of minced garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
3 lbs of tomatoes, roughly chopped. I used a mix of heritage, cherry, beefsteak and plum
1 qt of organic, yeast-free chicken stock
1 cup fresh basil, packed
Salt/pepper to season
1/2 cup buckwheat groats
1 cup water
In a large pot, add the olive oil and turn on the heat to medium/high. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and chopped onion with a pinch of salt so the onions sweat rather than burn. Saute the mixture for 4-5 minutes until the onions are translucent the mixture is aromatic. Add the tomatoes, and stir to coat with the onion/garlic mixture. Saute for another 4 minutes.
Add the stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, in a medium pot, add the water and groats and bring both to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook per the package directions, 10-12 minutes.
After the soup is done, add the basil, salt and pepper, and blitz using an immersion blender (best investment I’ve made) or a blender going through several batches. Add in the groats, stir, cover and cook for another 10 minutes.