GROATS! What a funny name. Kasha (aka buckwheat groats) is a cereal commonly consumed in Eastern European countries. Although it is classified as a “cereal”, it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. After some research, I found that one popular way to prepare kasha is a dish called Kasha Varnishkas, which is composed of sautéed onions, brown gravy and bow tie pasta.
I have been wanting to cook with kasha for a while now and after mulling over the savory idea of Kasha Varnishkas, I created kasha and smoked tofu lettuce wraps. I’m not sure where I came up with this dish but I am so glad that I did!
I’m going to add this to my recipe section (sorry I haven’t been updating this!) but just to give an overview:
I toasted the kasha in a skillet and added it to a pot of simmering chicken stock (use vegetable stock to make this a truly vegetarian dish) for about ten minutes until the liquid was absorbed. I sautéed onions, red bell pepper, button mushrooms, broccoli and zucchini in olive oil and finished the vegetable mixture with lemon juice and cracked black pepper. I wanted to keep the flavors of this dish clean to really highlight the nuttiness of the kasha. I added 1/4 of a block of Soy-Boy smoked tofu at the very end and filled a few sturdy romaine leaves with a bed of shredded carrot and the kasha and smoked tofu mixture.
Essentially this dish was a fun new take on stir-fry, not to mention it was fun to eat and extremely satisfying. I loved nutty flavor of the kasha combined with the sweet onion and vegetable mix. The tofu was awesome! It reminded me a lot of smoked mozzarella cheese. When I come home at the end of a long day the last thing I want to do is turn my hot oven on or fuss with a frozen protein. I’m not a vegetarian, however; I love tofu and tempeh and these are great easy sources of protein to have on hand!
What unusual ingredients do you cook with or want to try?