Gluten Free Hot Cereal – Maple Buckwheat Groats with Pears and Dried Currants

by Jenn on December 7, 2010

in Breakfast,Budget,GF Substitutions,Gluten Free,Vegetarian


Oatmeal is my comfort food.  I particularly enjoy it with salt, cinnamon and maple syrup accompanied by chopped up apples and a little bit of cream poured overtop. It’s a good hearty food that “sticks to the belly”, and about this time of year when the temps start getting chilly and a foot of snow falls to the ground in span of 24 hrs, the tea kettle finds itself whistling its familiar tune a little bit more often, and my breakfast often transforms from the usual yogurt/granola to the comfort of hot cereal.  There’s just one problem.  My gluten free husband doesn’t get to enjoy oatmeal breakfasts.

Not that there aren’t gluten free oats in the world (because there are). But the price is something neither of us could ever justify.  Especially now that we’d probably have to buy them from the U.S. and pay to ship them over the ocean.  Instead, I have been on a hunt for gluten free hot cereal.  We both learned the hard way that “flakes” are meant for baking only.  We tried millet, amaranth, and quinoa ones, but heated and cooked they tasted awful to us, no matter how much “doctoring” we did by adding various fixin’s.  No amount of maple syrup and brown sugar could rescue those sorry excuses for breakfasts.  And whole quinoa is ok, but it’s not either one of our favorite grain-like foods in the world.  And those rice-based hot cereal mixes?? Blegggh!

This week, however, we found the answer to our gluten free hot-cereal quest – buckwheat.

Whole Raw Buckwheat Groats

Buckwheat actually isn’t a cereal, but a pseudocereal.  The plant is in fact more closely related to rhubarb than wheat (I’m sure you’ll need this information next time you play Trivial Pursuit).  Despite using buckwheat flour, or sarrasin as it is called en français, in so many of my gluten free recipes (crêpes, anyone?), I cannot believe that until this week I had never even seen what buckwheat actually looks like.  They are these little tiny pyramid shaped seeds (for perspective they are pouring out of my espresso cup above), and to cook them I made them the way I’d cook any other grain-like ingredient – add twice volume of liquid to a pot and see how it goes.  Yep, I am an experimentalist at heart.  For breakfast, I chose to cook them in milk with a small pat of butter, and subsequently discovered I needed closer to 2.5 cups of milk for every cup of buckwheat groats.  I simmered them about 30 minutes so that they were nice and soft, an ideal quality in a hot breakfast that is supposed to mimic a favorite childhood comfort food…

I found it very easy for the buckwheat to readily absorb whatever flavor it was cooked in.  Texture was good, and just a light air of a fragrance wafted from the pot as I was stirring.  In truth it really did not need much “doctoring”.  Toss in a couple chopped up pears and a handful of dried currants, pour over a tad more milk and a little maple syrup (or a lot, if you are my husband) for some sweetness, and our buckwheat breakfast was a total success.  I think I like pears in it better than I would apples :)

What new foods have you discovered lately?

Also linked to – Gluten Free Wednesdays


*Note – this really suits itself well to making several portions, and we found it reheats decently too.

1 cup buckwheat groats, rinsed *as with most ingredients make sure there aren’t any cross-contamination issues if you need to be gluten free.
1 tbs. butter
2.5 cups milk
1 stick cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
2 pears, cored and chopped
1/4 cup dried currants
maple syrup and extra milk

1.  Add buckwheat groats, butter, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to a large pan and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and let cook, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes or until soft and tender and the liquid is absorbed.  If you like really mushy porridge, use more milk and let simmer longer until all absorbed.  If you like it less mushy, use less milk.
2.  Stir in pears and currants.
3. Serve, pouring desired amount of extra milk and maple syrup on top.  Enjoy!



Rosa December 7, 2010 at 1:51 pm

A great breakfast dish! Healthy and tasty. Perfect.



Jenn December 7, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Thanks Rosa! Yes, I suppose it is rather healthy :)

Morri December 7, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Jenn –

I was introduced to whole buckwheat by a fellow exchange student who hailed from Estonia. Sweden has dropped to astonishingly cold temperatures, and buckwheat groats are perfect for a sweet hot cereal or a savory side dish. Also, a little cocoa powder or cacao nibs (maybe coconut milk or flakes) are wonderful additions for this perfect breakfast food.

I heartily recommend it in place of rice or quinoa, and it goes very well as a “grain” in stews (particularly a tomato base with plenty of garlic).

Anyway, I love your blog and hope to start my own gluten free blog very soon. Keep warm!

Jenn December 7, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Thanks Morri! Yes I made some savory dishes as well and loved them. Great idea adding the cocoa into a sweet breakfast, I’ll try that next time!

Christine December 7, 2010 at 11:11 pm

This looks absolutely delicious. (As with all of your recipes and pictures.) I don’t have any buckwheat grouts on hand, but I’m sure that I could probably make it with oatmeal and it would still be good.

Jenn December 7, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Thank you! Yeah, the flavors would work fine with oatmeal too for sure :)

Valerie @ City|Life|Eats December 8, 2010 at 3:06 am

How lovely. I discovered whole buckwheat this year as well – I actually make it into granola with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, but will need to try this approach now that it is winter!

Jenn December 8, 2010 at 7:16 am

Oh awesome idea – can you just bake it like you would anything else in granola?

Valerie @ City|Life|Eats December 9, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Pretty much – what I do is make buckwheaties first (the recipe from Ani Phyo’s first book, this is a good description of it: I usually make about 2 pounds of it, because I can store it for a while – some I eat on its own or sprinkled over gluten-free oatmeal. I make the buckwheaties in my dehydrator (my oven is super finicky and gas and does not like low temperatures), but I have also made them very successfully in my mom’s oven (electric) en Suisse – I just set the oven at 200 C and bake for about 2-3 hours, stirring them every little while and checking on them. I think soaking them and then baking/dehydrating gives them a logner shelf life. When I feel like having granola, I toss with quinoa flakes, nuts, seeds, a little agave or applesauce, and then bake in the oven like regular granola.

Sorry this was so long-winded. You might also like this recipe:

Jenn December 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm

oh wow, this is so creative!!! I’ll have to try this!

UrMomCooks December 8, 2010 at 4:33 am

So glad your husband can finally have a hot bowl of breakfast yumminess in the morning! (I’m a brown sugar and cream kind of person…)

Jenn December 8, 2010 at 8:00 am

Thanks, me too!

Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris December 8, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Thank you Jenn for giving me the opportunity to get to know your blog, that is astounding from all points of view: your recipes (I must admit I don’t know much ab “gluten free”, your photos AND your writing!! I particularly appreciated your comment on Twitter today because very seldom do people give a sound reason for voting a participant..It seems to be more just a question of popularity or “friendship” (well that is my opinion!)
Thanks again! Take care!

Jenn December 8, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Thank you Cristina for the lovely compliments on my blog – and I wish you the best of luck!

Linda December 8, 2010 at 7:13 pm

I have buckwheat groats for milling, but have never cooked them whole. I always thought it funny that buckwheat is related to rhubarb. It seems so odd. Anyway, this looks delicious!

Jenn December 9, 2010 at 10:41 am

Thanks! Def. try cooking the whole buckwheat sometime, it really is a nice flavor :)

InTolerantChef December 9, 2010 at 6:19 am

I wish I could give it a try.Even though Buckwheat is gluten free, it affects me the same way, just my luck huh! I don’t mind whole quinoa that I cook in my rice cooker and eat with maple syrup, but I agree with you with the rice cereals- blachhhh!

Jenn December 9, 2010 at 10:44 am

How odd that it affects you the same way! Well buckwheat can be cross-contaminated with glutenous things depending on how it’s collected/packaged, so one does need to be sure that the buckwheat purchased is indeed gluten free. Also, the wikipedia article I was reading about buckwheat (yes, I use wikipedia for many things…) says there exist buckwheat allergies as well.

fooddreamer December 9, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I didn’t realize that GF oats were so expensive! I don’t really eat oatmeal any more, although I love it. But I’ve discovered buckwheat flour so I can imagine that buckwheat groats for hot cereal would be wonderful. You’ve made them lood and sound delicious wiht the pears and maple.

Jenn December 9, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Thanks! We were also poor grad students when we lived in the States, so I’m sure that had a bit of influence on what we thought was “expensive” too…maybe prices have come down a bit since…

Cherine December 9, 2010 at 2:08 pm

The perfect breakfast bowl!

Jenn December 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Thanks Cherine!

Sophie December 12, 2010 at 10:00 pm

I only used buckwheat flakes in a hot moring porridge but never buckwheat groats!! I mustvtry your tasty breakfast soon!

Jenn December 13, 2010 at 8:10 am

Thanks Sophie!

Carol@easytobeglutenfree December 14, 2010 at 4:28 pm

I’m definitely going to have to try this. I really miss a nice hot breakfast cereal and I can’t eat oatmeal even if it is certified GF. I can definitely relate to what you said about other GF flakes – I tried quinoa flakes once and my thoughts were “what the heck????” After that I never bothered to try any other kind of flakes so I am anxious to try the buckwheat groats. Your recipe sounds like a fantastic blend of flavors. Thanks for sharing.

Jenn December 14, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Thanks! I hope you enjoy!

carrie @ December 15, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Thank you SO Much for sharing this on my round up this week! YUM!

Jenn December 15, 2010 at 8:06 pm

You’re welcome!! I could eat breakfast for every meal :)

Carol Cowan February 2, 2011 at 4:24 am

Where in the heck in the US do you find Gluten Free Buckwheat flakes??? I really do not want to order them from the UK.

Please help.

Desparately seeking good gf food . . .

Jenn February 2, 2011 at 8:11 am

Honestly I’ve never seen buckwheat flakes. This recipe is for buckwheat groats, which are the whole grain version of buckwheat. If you are looking for a GF flake, I would suggest maybe quinoa, I know quinoa flakes can be found in the US or at least ordered online.

DIANA January 10, 2012 at 9:29 am

I LOVE this recipe!!!!! I have made this satisfying hot cereal for breakfast or as a midnight snack, for the past two weeks. After using pears, I tried dates, after dates, I used 1 Tbsp of Apple butter mmmmm, next I tried pumpkin butter! DELICIOUS EVERY TIME! I also used almond, walnut, and rice milk and all were perfect! Thank you soooooooo much for such a healthy and versatiile comfort food.

Jenn January 10, 2012 at 7:13 pm

oh thanks so much! And I love all your variations!

Anne March 24, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Thanks for all the great suggestions and recipes! I bought some buckwheat groats at our local health food store, which I have never had before, and put them in my rice cooker. I should have rinsed them first…but oh well! We ate them with pear, banana, honey, coconut oil, salt & coconut milk. So yummy!

Jenn March 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm

oh great, sounds wonderful!

Mary August 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm

We have just embarked upon a gfcf diet as a family in an effort to help our children with certain issues. We love hot cereal, and I remember making buckwheat cereal for my dad as a child (I was an aspiring cook even then!) I wasn’t nearly as open-minded to the idea of buckwheat groats as I am now, so we will try this. I find my kids are GOBBLING up everything gfcf I make. I had expected much more resistance. I found a website where I can order many types of flours/grains, many of them organic, at a reasonable price, so I will add this to my list. Glad I found it before placing my order. I’ll be checking back often to see what other ideas you’ve come up with. Thanks!

Carrie October 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I just wanted to check before I make this, did you soak the groats beforehand?
Many thanks

Jenn October 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Hi Carrie – I did not, but I bet if you did it would cut down on the cooking time…

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