Buckwheat with Parsley Cilantro Pesto

Buckwheat with Parsley, Coriander and Pistachio Pesto

Buckwheat with Parsley, Coriander and Pistachio Pesto

Back when we were living off the land with nothing but the tall trees and howling wind for company, my parents used to joke that they were raising kids who could one day live anywhere and survive. Thankfully, we’ve lived relatively unadventurous lives since then, content with the comforts of modern amenities. I don’t even think I like camping, but I could, in theory, set a broken bone in the wilderness if need be.

My siblings and I got together last night and with our pile of memories, ended up reminiscing; my sister has this story she tells about those times when we literally had nothing to eat.
My dad would wander into the forest and return hours later with wild plants and seeds and whatnot, and whatever he got would be dinner that day. We were foraging long before it became trendy. The plants he was unsure of, he fed to the dogs first.

We’d mix herby leaves with the peppers, onions and tomatoes we grew, crush it into a paste and call it pesto, when we clearly had no idea what pesto was, but it sounded better than mystery sauce.

Buckwheat with Parsley, Coriander and Pistachio Pesto

Buckwheat with Parsley, Coriander and Pistachio Pesto

This perhaps is how my fascination with pesto begun, or these savoury condiments I weld together and call pesto, even if it’s nothing like how it’s made in Liguria.

Parsley and cilantro are herbs I always have a surplus of; mostly from using them as garnish or in recipes that call for a sprinkle here and a pinch there. It’s just as easy to blend them into a quick sauce rather than let them wilt away in the fridge; that way there’s always a jar of pesto on hand, and even though the leaves weren’t foraged, there’s a little pleasure from wasting-not that makes me feel a tad self-sufficient.

Buckwheat with Parsley, Coriander and Pistachio Pesto

Buckwheat with Parsley, Coriander and Pistachio Pesto Buckwheat with Parsley, Coriander and Pistachio Pesto

I’ve developed a deep liking for this pesto; cilantro with its citrusy hints, mixed with the herby mild bitterness of parsley, creamy nutty pistachios and pungent spices make this a rich flavoured sauce.

Nutty earthy buckwheat pairs wonderfully with this pesto, I usually toss them along some peppers and onions to make an easy satisfying meal.

Of course, you can substitute your favourite grain or pseudo-grain for buckwheat, but I like the uniqueness of buckwheat in this dish, it’s heartier and has more bite, and quite nutritious too – My mom looked at the groats suspiciously one time and said they looked like something my dad might have foraged.

Buckwheat with Parsley, Coriander and Pistachio Pesto

Buckwheat with Parsley Cilantro Pesto
An easy, delicious and filling meal using fresh everyday herbs
For pesto
  1. 1 cup toasted pistachios
  2. 1 bunch parsley (discard thick stems)
  3. 1 bunch cilantro (discard thick stems)
  4. 2 – 3 cloves garlic (or 4 - 5 roasted garlic cloves)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon sumac, optional
  6. 1/2 - 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  7. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  8. 2/3 – 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to cover pesto for storing
For buckwheat
  1. 2 cups buckwheat groats (raw or toasted)
  2. 3 1/2 – 4 cups cold water or vegetable broth
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
For sauté
  1. 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or less since there’s oil in the pesto already
  2. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  3. 1 large onion, sliced
  4. 1 large poblano pepper (or jalapeno or bell pepper), chopped
  5. 2 – 3 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes (or a handful of cherry tomatoes)
  6. Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Make pesto
  1. Combine pistachios, parsley, cilantro and garlic in a food processor
  2. Add sumac, pepper flakes and sea salt, pulse for a few seconds to make a coarse paste
  3. Drizzle olive oil through the feed tube into pesto while food processor is running
  4. Process until well combined – you can make the pesto as coarse or as smooth as you want it
  5. Taste and check for salt and pepper, add more if desired
Cook buckwheat
  1. Rinse buckwheat and combine with water and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and cook for about 15 – 20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork
  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan or skillet over medium heat
  2. Add cumin and onion and cook for about a minute or so until fragrant and onions are tender
  3. Add pepper and sun-dried tomatoes and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes
  4. Stir in 4 – 5 tablespoons of pesto (or as desired) and cook for about a minute
  5. Add buckwheat, toss to coat and cook for another minute
  6. Check and add salt if desired
  7. Serve topped with more pesto and freshly ground pepper
  8. Enjoy
the Whinery by Elsa Brobbey
[Tweet “An easy, delicious and filling sautéed #buckwheat with a #pesto using fresh everyday herbs! #vegan #glutenfree”]

Buckwheat with Parsley, Coriander and Pistachio Pesto Buckwheat with Parsley, Coriander and Pistachio Pesto

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  • Reply Pang

    I love that you used this incredibly green pesto on buckwheat instead of on usual pasta. The brightness & freshness of this dish just make me so happy looking at it. Love it 🙂

    27 July, 2015 at 8:00 am
    • Reply Elsa | the whinery

      Aaaw thank you so much Pang! I thought I’d try something a little different and it turned out quite well. 🙂

      28 July, 2015 at 9:59 am
  • Reply grace

    for the longest time, i thought cilantro was the greatest herb ever. i still love it and would definitely enjoy a pesto containing lots of it! great dish!

    27 July, 2015 at 8:32 am
    • Reply Elsa | the whinery

      Hi Grace, thank you! Cilantro IS the greatest herb ever!!! For a cilantro lover, I wouldn’t even bother with the parsley, that full on cilantro flavour!:-)

      28 July, 2015 at 10:01 am
  • Reply Anna @ Fresh The Blog

    What a great way to make buckwheat interesting! This is a beautiful dish. I ate a fair amount of buckwheat growing up but rarely make it myself because it can be a bit boring, but I love the flavors and ingredients you’re working with here. Buckwheat will be coming back on the lineup!

    Also love the story about your family foraging for ingredients and experimenting. Thanks for sharing!

    28 July, 2015 at 7:47 am
    • Reply Elsa | the whinery

      Thank you so much Anna! I just discovered buckwheat a few years ago, I quite like… I’m always trying to come up with creative ways to use it so that it doesn’t get boring. 🙂

      28 July, 2015 at 10:04 am
  • Reply Bintu @ Recipes From A Pantry

    I would love to find out more about your pesto experiments after foraging.

    30 July, 2015 at 2:43 pm
    • Reply Elsa | the whinery

      I know! They were quite interesting experiments, I should write a post about it. 🙂

      31 July, 2015 at 9:29 am
  • Reply Victoria Kusske

    What about a substitute for Pisachio? Just recently found allergic and devastated !

    2 August, 2015 at 7:40 pm
    • Reply Elsa | the whinery

      Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that you’re allergic to pistachios, but not to worry,:-) you can use cashew or almonds (if you are but allergic to nuts in general), or toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) would work wonderfully in this pesto too. Good luck, and be sure to let me know how it turns out. 🙂

      2 August, 2015 at 8:08 pm

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