Buckwheat Blini (With Smoked Salmon and Garlicky Cashew Sour Cream)

ng_buckwheatbliniThis simple, yet elegant dish has it’s roots in Russia. Buckwheat blini, little tiny crepe like pancakes, are delicious with their earthy buckwheat flavor. They go wonderfully with a sour cream (or in our case a garlicky cashew based “sour cream”) and some caviar or smoked salmon.

We aren’t admitting how many we gobbled up last night. These make a beautiful appetizer for a party, but we made them all for ourselves (selfish pigs…. I know).

You can use the blini with a variety of toppings, but I will go ahead and give the recipe for the dairy free sour cream that I made in case any of you want to try it too.

We topped it with a beautiful Ivory Smoked Salmon. What is Ivory Salmon?


“The most succulent and flavorful of all salmon, Ivory salmon is a luminous white fleshed King salmon native to certain rivers of southeast Alaska and Canada. Most salmon get their typical red or pink color from carotene in the food they eat (crustaceans such as shrimp and krill), but white or Ivory Kings are genetically prediposed with an extra enzyme to process carotene rather than collect it. Ivory salmon tends to be milder, silkier than and more buttery in flavor than regular Kings. Ivory salmon are rare and difficult to find, but we believe they are worth the search and urge you to splurge should you encounter one at your local market. Source

The local man who makes this smoked salmon charges the same amount as for the regular smoked salmon, so I snatched it up. The cuts from the middle of the fish are more fatty and tender, so it’s more expensive. I choose a nice size piece from the tail, which is more meaty. It was about half the price.

While mentioning money, I will also mention this. Whenever I have a little extra shopping money, I try to buy some seafood. I notice that I feel better when we eat seafood and it is some of the healthiest food for you. In this case, I choose to buy smoked salmon and eat a smaller amount of fish. If I had bought fresh salmon, I could have gotten a little more fish for my money. But we truthfully probably enjoyed the smoked salmon more, so it was worth it for the pleasure factor. The blini are nutritious (and delicious!) and stretch out the salmon a lot. Plus, I like being able to introduce Elena to a variety of flavors. She loved both the buckwheat blini and the smoked salmon (didn’t like the cashew sour cream however!). Unfortunately, the package of smoked salmon did not have a weight on it, so I can’t tell you for sure how much smoked salmon to buy to make this, but I would guess it to be about a quarter of a pound?

Regardless, this was a delicious and special way to eat our fish!

Buckwheat Blini
Makes around 40-50 small blini
Once again, I “soak” the flour overnight to make it more nutritious and digestible. Read about it here. I’ve based this recipe on the crepe recipe from Nourishing Traditions, with a few small changes.

    1 cup of buckwheat flour
    1 cup of whole wheat, spelt or kamut flour (for a gluten free option, replace with more buckwheat, rice, or your choice of whole grain gluten free flour)
    1 1/2 cups coconut tonic (or you can use 2 cups of buttermilk, kefir or thinned yogurt)
    1 1/2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (omit if using buttermilk, kefir or thinned yogurt)
    3 eggs, lightly beaten
    1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    plenty of butter, ghee or coconut oil for cooking them up in

1-The night before, combine the flours with the coconut tonic and apple cider vinegar/lemon juice in a large bowl. Stir to combine and cover. Leave out on the countertop overnight (12-24 hours)

2-When ready to make, add the rest of the ingredients and whisk well.

3-Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles on it. Melt enough coconut oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan (or your choice of oil/fat). Using a measuring cup, pour about a tablespoon of batter into the pan per pancake (I usually could fit about 6 pancakes in my pan). Cook until bubbly on the topside and lightly browned on the other and flip.
Cook until the other side is lightly browned and remove. Place on a sheet pan in a warm oven to keep warm while you finish the rest of them.

Re-oil the pan as needed and continue the process until you have cooked all of the batter into blini.

Garlicky Cashew Sour Cream with Cucumbers

    1 cup of cashews
    1/2 cup of warm water
    1 large lemon
    2 garlic cloves
    1/2 cucumber

1-Soak cashews in water for a few hours to soften them.

2-Drain the cashews and place in a food processor with the warm water. Process until creamy. Peel garlic and put through a garlic press. Add to the mixture, add about 1 teaspoon salt and the juice of one lemon. Pulse to combine.

3-Wash and peel cucumber. Slice very thinly. Scoop cashew cream into a bowl and stir in the cucumbers. Taste test and adjust flavorings (salt or lemon juice). It’s done!

To serve, dollop a little cashew cream on top of each blini and top that with a small piece of smoked salmon.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. mandy says

    Your blog is so inspiring. I love coming here everyday to see what’s new, I’ve never tried buckwheat, but after reading your posts, I want to go out and get some!

  2. says

    Wow, looks great and sounds great. I haven’t had ivory salmon in a long time. I loved getting in when I lived in Seattle, WA. Occasionally a fisherman friend of mine in Phoenix has a piece or two of it.

    I love the idea of cashew sour cream. I recently made a Dairy Free Ranch Dressing using a cashew-cream base. I didn’t think of making a sour cream. That would be great for a Mexican meal for those who can’t eat dairy products.

  3. says

    This recipe sounds delicious. I love smoked salmon, but this is the first time I ever heard of Ivory Smoked Salmon. I’m looking forward to trying it with the buckwheat blinis.

    Thank you for the recipe.

  4. says

    If I wanted to save a step (mama here w/ many littles), could I use regular sour cream instead? Also, would these blinis work as pancakes?

    I made buckwheat crepes using Nourishing Traditions cookbook- they were AMAZING. I ran out of berries to grind, so I bought some organic flour & tried to make the crepes this morning. Disgusting. Yuck. BLACK color. No, no, no- grind your own flour!!!

  5. KimiHarris says


    I love buckwheat! It has such a hearty flavor. Glad you’re enjoying the recipes. πŸ˜‰



    Chef Rachel,

    Isn’t ivory salmon amazing? I love how mild and buttery it is! I will have to check out your ranch dressing. It sounds great!

    Nurturing Wisdom,

    You are welcome!


    Oh, regular sour cream would be fantastic with it! Since we are sensitive to diary, we had to find another substitute for it, but yes, go for it!

    As far as working for regular pancakes, I think they could….though I haven’t tried making them bigger yet. If you give it a go, let me know! And thanks for the comment about the buckwheat flour, that’s good to know. That’s so strange!

  6. Daisy says

    I’m loving all of these posts! My father can’t eat gluten or dairy, so I’ve been looking for foods that he CAN have. I’m excited about the cashew “sour cream” as a possibility to add variety.

    Hey, this is a different topic, but on your post about Kerrygold butter, I left a question and I’ll ask it again here, if it’s okay…

    You mentioned here that a friend had healed a cavity with large amounts of butter oil and cod liver oil. I’d love to read a post more about this. As a family member of mine is doing the same thing right now, I would LOVE to hear a β€œreal person” success story (complete with details such as how much they took for how long, how big the cavity was, etc).

    Your blog is just fabulous! I only wish I had found it sooner!

  7. Val says

    Dear Kimi,

    Your website is so inspiring. Especially for those of us who are new to Nourishing Traditions. I have a question that is bit off topic, but I hope it is ok to post it here. I tried making bone marrow broth from organic pasture feed beef bones. I think I added too much vinegar because it didn’t smell very appealing. Also, my broth did not gel, even though I cooked it for 13 hours. It looked like water pretending to be gel. Do you have any advice? I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much!

  8. michelle says

    Gee, I just wanted to print your recipe and I used up soooo much paper printing up your whole blog…..eeeeeuu! Can’t you please put in a print recipe thingy?

  9. Leesie says

    I bought buckwheat but not the flour by accident today. Darnit!

    Thanks for such lovely buckwheat recipes – keep ’em coming ;o)
    I’ve never heard of the ivory salmon and wonder if I’ll be able to get it
    somewhere around here in New York, it sounds delicious.

    Thank you Kimi. You do such a swell job teaching us and sharing so much
    with us here. Much appreciated.

  10. says

    I see you’re in a buckwheat mood lately!
    I won’t complain, I love buckwheat too!
    You should get The Birkett Mills Buckwheat Cookbook, if you don’t already have it ;).

  11. says

    Regarding nourishing foods and cavities, you should check Ramiel Nagel’s book “Cure Tooth Decay – Heal & Prevent Cavities with Nutrition”.
    I’m currently reading the book and it makes a whole lot of sense to me.

  12. Lynnpaulus says

    Thanks for a great site. I love the recipes. Have you ever seen a sour dough or soaked buckwheat tortilla recipe? I soak using a rye sour dough starter with white wheat for the tortilla recipe but we have wheat issues. The soaking does seem to alleviate the symptoms but still would like an alternative to the wheat.
    Thanks for the great recipes and dialog.

  13. KimiHarris says

    Hi Daisy,

    I second the recommendation for the Cure Teeth Decay book. Here is a link to the website, http://www.curetoothdecay.com/. I actually haven’t read the book yet, but have read a lot about it and it sounds great. My friend had a cap fall off one of her teeth and a few months? later started experiencing terrible teeth pain. It got so bad it was keeping her up all night as she couldn’t even sleep. She eats a nourishing tradition diet (the strictest I know), so she was assuming that would “cure it”, but she had been forgetting to take her cod liver oil. She starting taking a cod liver oil/grass fed X factor butter oil mixture several times a day (not a specific amount, but a pretty large amount. She didn’t go on as strict of a diet as the Tooth Decay book calls for, but she may have been limiting sweet things during that time. Soon the pain went away, and I don’t think she has ever had issues with it again. *Please note that I share this story as requested, but am not giving medical advice as to what anyone should do.* It’s amazing what diet and cod liver oil can do for your teeth!


    Thanks for the kind comment! A few things to note 1-beef broth doesn’t smell as good as chicken broth (at least to me), but it still tastes great! . 2-The amount of water you use and the quality of bones you use will vary how gelatinous it turns out. If you add a lot of water, it won’t gel as much. 3-Sally Fallon recommends 48 hours for beef bone broth making, I believe. So there are a few things that may help you out, I hope. I believe the best tasting broths use a variety of beef bones, with some of them roasted. Does that help?


    Yum! Buckwheat is so good. Thanks for the book recommendation! That’s great.


    I haven’t seen a recipe for that before! But it sounds good. πŸ™‚ Let me know if you find one! The recipe you currently use sounds yummy, so I am sad that it’s not been working for you. πŸ™

    Anyone have any thoughts to add to any of these questions?

  14. Alison says

    I just noted what I’m assuming was the inspiration for this recipe in my Joy of Cooking the other day as I was making pancakes. I thought they sounded interesting, but I guess I’ll have to try them now!

    I think that is my favorite thing about your blog. You take really fun and exciting dishes and “translate” them into healthier recipes for those of us who don’t have a clue. Thank you!

    Do you by any chance have a favorite soaked pancake recipe? I tried one the other day, but found it “doughy”.

    • KimiHarris says

      Hi Alison,

      I love my Joy of Cooking Book! Though actually in this case the recipe was inspired by a Russian cookbook. πŸ™‚

      The two soaked pancakes recipes that my family likes is these sourdough pancakes, and these fluffy whole wheat ones.

      Yes, combined with a beautiful green salad, this would make a wonderful lunch. Thanks for sharing about your macadamia kefir! Sounds very yummy. πŸ™‚

  15. Magda says

    This is my first post – I just recently discovered your blog.
    What a great recipe – I’m thinking this and a green salad and it would make a great lunch!
    I made some macadamia kefir recently that was outrageous! Very simple, too: 2 cups each water and macadamias (soaked or raw). Puree till smooth, then stir in 1 packet of kefir starter (I got mine at WFN). Let it sit out for 2 or 3 days then store in the fridge. I like it mixed with some Herbamare or sea salt and dried herbs on cucumber.
    Since macadamias are hard to find and expensive I’m hoping to sub cashews next time.

  16. Val says


    Thank you so much for your response. I think I added way too much water and not enough bones. I guess that for the next few months most of the Nourishing Traditions recipes I try are going to be trial and error until I get the hang of it. But, it is well worth the price to finally be healthy and actually have energy!! Thanks again! (And I will post again later after I try it with less water, more bones, and roasting.)

  17. says

    These look delightful!

    I learned from “Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World” by Gina Mallet (excellent book) that the tail portion of the fish is actually the most flavorful. Has something to do with it being the most musclar. Interesting, huh?!

  18. says

    This looks delicious and I’m so excited to try them! My son’s allergic to eggs, so I’m gong to try them with chia seeds – wish me luck!

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