Possibly as many as half the U.S. population are deficient in magnesium, a mineral essential to the health of your bones, nervous system, and cardiovascular system. Buckwheat, a gluten-free seed related to rhubarb, is a great natural source of this mineral. With only one cup of cooked buckwheat you can cover 21 percent of your daily need. Consider integrating it in your meal rotation, for example as a substitute for rice.
Two forms of buckwheat are for sale. The raw version looks beige with a hint of green. Its flavor is neutral, similar to barley. I have seen it in the bulk aisle of WholeFoods, but you can also purchase it from the Internet.
The second version is toasted. It is a staple in Eastern Europe and Russia and goes by the name of kasha. Brown in color, it has a distinctive flavor that some call nutty. To me it smells a bit burnt, but don’t take my word for it – if you manage to get your hands on some kasha, take a whiff and see whether you like it.
This recipe complements tender raw buckwheat with the sturdiness of potatoes and beans and the sweetness of carrots and corn. A base of fennel seeds and sesame paste ties it all together in a way that is simple yet scrumptious. Serve the stew with a side of lightly dressed salad greens, and you will have done something good for yourself.