Buckwheat burger


This recipe is from Maria Speck’s Ancient Grains for Modern meals.

Maria’s background interested me: She is from a Greek mother and a German father; and is married to an Indian. The challenges of coping with  contrasting cultures (and the resulting richness) makes  for an interesting cookbook, which is a synthesis of these influences.

The recipes are often unusual but Maria Speck has impeccable taste.

As  Lebanese  we were fed whole-grains (bulgur, primarily) from the time we were  teething! However, we did not experience the other grains, like buckwheat!

I have to admit, I did mutter during the making of this recipe, ” Maria, what are you making me do here?”; when these buckwheat groats are boiled, their scent is similar to what you would experience walking into a farm, like, in medieval times.

A miracle occurs after all the spices and herbs are added. That scent disappears completely. Instead, you are tasting something light, a bit nutty, meaty, comforting. Delicious!

Mary, my neighbor, was called in to taste. She loved them, but was convinced they had turkey in them; she had two servings.

Here is the idea of the recipe: You boil the buckwheat groats. You make a pesto. You combine part of the pesto with the buckwheat and some onion, feta and egg, and bind all of this with some oatmeal. Shape into  burgers, fry them  and eat them with additional pesto, some tomato slices, onion and a bun.

I got tired of shaping the burgers (plus they were falling apart), so I made a cake instead. Much easier, and a lot faster.

INGREDIENTS: Makes 12 burgers or a 9-inch cake pan with 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 cup raw buckwheat groats (not kasha)
  • 1 3/4 cup of water
  • Dash of salt

Parsley sauce ( I made a basil pesto)

  • 1 cup of Italian parsley ( I used basil)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Oregano (1 tsp.), red pepper flakes (1/4 tsp.) ( I used Aleppo pepper, 1 tsp.), Tabasco sauce (a few drops)
  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil (I used a lot more!)


  • 4 ounces of Feta, crumbled (mild Feta, from Greece if possible)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup of instant oat flakes ( I used 1 cup of rice flour)
  • 1 large egg, beaten (I added 2 extra eggs to make the cake)
  • Spices: Thyme (2 Tbs.), paprika (1 tsp.), dash of black pepper and red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil, as needed


  1. Boil the buckwheat with the water and salt till cooked.
  2. Process the parsley or basil sauce until pasty, add more olive oil if desired
  3. Combine the buckwheat with the onion, feta, oatmeal or rice flour, spices and egg. Form the burgers, or pour the batter in an 9-inch cake pan, previously lined with parchment paper and greased all around.
  4. Bake the buckwheat cake in a 350F oven or fry the burgers in a little oil, 4 minutes on each side. Serve with the herb sauce and some tomato slices, onion slices and pita or a hamburger bun. Enjoy!

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  1. Posted August 17, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Surprisingly delicious! Especially with the pesto and fresh veggies!

  2. Posted August 17, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    A very neat burger with buckwheat, must be so flavorful with all the spices here!

  3. Posted August 17, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I just checked out a bunch of your posts, you are spo talented and creative, braided sole? beautiful!

  4. Posted August 18, 2011 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    delicious! i am so going to make this.. what an interesting background too… i can only imagine!

  5. Posted August 18, 2011 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    Yum! One of my goals (as soon as I get my first paycheck and I can go grocery shopping) is to eat more whole grains. Your recipes will definitely come in handy.

  6. Posted August 18, 2011 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    Encore une excellente idée !

  7. Posted August 18, 2011 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    I’ve wanted to check out this book. I’ve never cooked with buckwheat before, but I like experimenting with different grains (there are lots of packages in my pantry!) This “burger” looks delicious!

  8. Posted August 18, 2011 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    This looks really delicious, now I wonder how easily I can find all the ingredients in my grocery store, may have to take a trip to more exotic markets ;)

  9. Posted August 18, 2011 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Hi Joumana, how are you?
    Are you partaking in the fasting season?
    Your first picture is very nicely presented, like a hip-urban mid-eastern bistro.
    Who doesn’t love bulgur on a freshly baked pita right?

  10. Nadege
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    What a great idea! I love vegetarian recipes and that one is perfect.

  11. Posted August 18, 2011 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Absolutely love this post. ;-)

  12. Joumana
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    @Kathy: I found the buckwheat groats at my neighborhood Wholefoods; I am sure any organic grocery store would have them or something similar.

  13. Posted August 18, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Thanks for providing review on Maria’s book. I saw the book in Amazon, but was debating to purchase. I actually did something quite similar with bulgur and had the same problem of having my burgers collapse. I will be posting it soon so you can go see. I think I am going to try making them in molds next time like you. I love buckwheat and it’s more of an Eastern European thing, but usually I have it plain and this looks beautiful.


  14. Posted August 18, 2011 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Just wanted to share what I found online:

    Health Benefits of Buckwheat:
    Buckwheat is high in fiber. 1 cup of cooked buckwheat groats contains over 4 grams of dietary fiber.
    Buckwheat contains the eight essential amino acids.
    Buckwheat contains many minerals including: phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese.
    Buckwheat contains a rich supply of flavonoids, particularly rutin.
    Buckwheat lowers glucose levels and is beneficial for managing diabetes.
    Buckwheat has been found to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
    Buckwheat is a fruit seed and is a gluten-free alternative to grains.

  15. Posted August 18, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Great idea Joumana ! I love this kind of dishes…Have a good weekend…

  16. Posted August 18, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Great idea to make this in a pan in a cake shape. I have yet to try Buckwheat myself but his sounds wonderful – especially if your neighbor had 2 servings!

  17. Posted August 18, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    I love the combination of flavors in this recipe. It doesn’t seem to hard to make and looks remarkably good. I’m printing this up right now. Thanks.

  18. Posted August 19, 2011 at 4:23 am | Permalink

    Excellent idea! I’ve been wanting to add buckwheat to my diet, this recipe sounds delicious, thanks for sharing.

  19. Posted August 19, 2011 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    The comments about the aroma got to me – but then the ending result is so welcoming. And the spices are grand. This is a grain I have never used… yet.

  20. Posted August 19, 2011 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    This sounds really interesting and the end result looks delicious. I worry a bit about getting from there to here It sounds like the smell was off-putting for a time. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary.

  21. Posted August 22, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    No kidding, I bought some buckwheat groats a few weeks back and have been wondering what to do with them…et voila! Thanks – S

  22. Posted August 22, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    I bet the weirdcombos would love this as do enjoy the nutty flavors of our soba noodles or nice blinis with topped a dollop of creme fresh, some chives and a little caviar on top served with a nice glass of bubbly. Boookmarked! ;)


  23. Posted August 23, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Thank you for a beautiful and inspiring post about my Ancient Grains book and these buckwheat burgers which have been a staple on my table for many years. Love the story!

    One thought regarding the assembly grain burgers which does take some practice since they are quite different from burgers with meat or fish. I have devoted an entire page in the book called “Grain Burger Basics” to help with this. I also love your idea of baking a buckwheat cake instead. Fabulous!

  24. Joumana
    Posted August 23, 2011 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    @ Maria: I feel your book is so interesting that I am going to devote many more posts to your recipes; ever since I made these buckwheat burgers, my daughter (18) has been devouring them and researching buckwheat; she sent me links which apparently point out that it is great for people dieting, and has all these nutrients, etc. I will check that page you mention, thanks!

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