Buckwheat Crepes (as Gluten Free Sandwich Wraps)

Buckwheat Crepes as Sandwich Wraps

By Natalia Gill, from An Appetite For Joy

Delicate and gourmet, satisfying and rustic, buckwheat crepes can play a versatile role in any real food kitchen. Top them with a heap of blueberries, a drizzle of maple syrup for breakfast, and with some coconut whipped cream, if you want to make it extra special. Stuff them with chicken and mushrooms for dinner. Wrap your favorite sandwich toppings in a crepe for an easy & substantial lunch!

This recipe is a gluten free version of my mom’s beloved crepes. They can easily be made dairy free as well! Staple ingredients (buckwheat flour, milk, eggs) are combined in a blender, making for easy mixing and clean up. An overnight soak results in a crepe with a light flavor and texture that is more easily digested. (Read about the benefits of soaking grains here).

Although I have been making crepes for years, we have just started enjoying them as sandwich wraps. This is one of the simple ways my family is reducing the gluten in our diets.

Crepe sandwiches make a great light dinner or a lunch that is easy and appealing enough for children to make themselves. Here, I wrapped one around some Parmesan cheese, roasted red pepper and arugula. Ham and cheese is also a favorite!

Buckwheat Crepes as Gluten Free Sandwich Wraps

“THE WEEK OF CREPES”

Coincidentally, this recipe comes to you in perfect timing as we approach “the week of crepes”. For the Russian Orthodox, Cheesefare (“Maslinitsa”) begins this Monday, February 24.

Cheesefare, which lasts a week, is a last hoorah before Orthodox lent begins. During this time, meat is not allowed, but fish, dairy and eggs are still permitted, so Russians eat loads of crepes before they have to give them up for 40 days. Giving up crepes (“blinchiki”) for any length of time is a big deal to a Russian!

LENTEN FAST GUIDELINES

The Lenten fast (see the 2014 dates here) is more or less vegan. Here are the parameters:

  • Meat is not allowed, with the exception of shellfish, which is included because it was not traditionally considered a luxury food.
  • There are a couple of specified dates that fish is allowed. But for the most part, it is not permitted.
  •  Some people omit all oils during this time while others interpret the “no oil rule” to refer specifically to olive oil.
  • Olive oil and wine are permitted on certain days, signified by a picture of a cluster of grapes on the calendar.

There is a measure of grace thrown into the rules. If someone has a medical condition that makes it a challenge to participate, they are not expected to. If someone who is fasting goes to eat at someone’s house where off-limits foods are served, they may eat them. Being a grateful guest trumps sticking to the rules.

MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE LENTEN FAST

My father is Orthodox and I participated in the fast with him once, about ten years ago. At the time I was eating a highly processed diet and it was a wonderful cleanse for me, both spiritually and physically. My mind was clear, I required less sleep and I felt very light and energized overall. Not to say that it wasn’t a challenge, but I did reap a lot of benefits.

I’ve considered participating in it again, but now that my diet is much more nourishing than it was ten years ago, I’m concerned that I won’t experience the same energy boost that I did before. As a mother of young children I need all the energy I can get!

It’s hard to imagine six weeks without broth and eggs in my diet. I’m so used to fueling myself with these traditionally nourishing foods. On the other hand, I remind myself that fasting is a very traditional practice and perhaps our bodies were designed to work best in a feast/famine, celebration/fasting routine.

I will continue to ponder and pray, but for now I don’t know if I will commit to this year’s Lenten fast. But one thing I do know for certain is that I will gladly partake in crepes next week!

Do you make fasting part of your routine? Why or why not? I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this!

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Buckwheat Crepes
 
Author:
Serves: 4
 
Buckwheat crepes are a versatile gluten free food and work great as an every day sandwich wrap. The batter for these is made right in the blender for easy clean up. This recipe makes about 13 7-inch crepes
Ingredients
  • 2 cups non-dairy milk (I used canned 9% fat coconut milk)
  • 2 tablespoons milk kefir (or water kefir, kombucha, lemon juice)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
  • 1.25 cups buckwheat flour (if grinding your own, use hulled groats)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
  • 6 eggs
  • a little ghee or coconut oil to prepare the pan for the first pancake
Instructions
  1. Blend together the milk, 2 tablespoons ghee, flour, kefir, salt and honey in a blender (put in the wet ingredients first). Leave on the counter to soak for 12-24 hours (overnight).
  2. When they are done soaking, add the eggs to the batter and blend again to combine.
  3. Heat a 7-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. I sometimes bump it up to high heat to speed up the process, then reduce it back to medium when I start cooking the crepes. You want the skillet nice and hot.
  4. Add a small amount (1 teaspoon or so) of ghee or coconut oil to the pan to prepare it for your first pancake. Ladle ⅓ cup of the batter (a scant ladle full) into the skillet and swirl it around confidently until it covers the bottom of the pan and starts to set. Allow it to cook for about a minute, maybe less. Keep an eye on it.
  5. Once it seems done (you'll quickly get the hang of it) use a spatula to loosen it off the pan a bit and (again, with confidence) flip it over. Let it cook for 15-30 seconds, until golden. Repeat until your batter is done. Swirl the batter in the blender from time to time to keep the flour from settling.
  6. You will likely not need any more ghee or coconut oil for the remaining pancakes since there is some in the batter. From time to time the heat might need to be adjusted as the pan will get increasingly hot throughout the cooking.
Notes
I have found that a 7-inch cast iron skillet works best. Even an inch larger can make them a challenge to flip.

I once made the mistake of grinding up chia seeds into the batter and it got very smoky! So I definitely don't recommend incorporating ground chia or flax.

 

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?

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Homemade Buckwheat Soba Noodles (Gluten Free)

ng_buckwheatnoodles
Did you know that you can make your own buckwheat soba noodles? We found that homemade buckwheat noodles taste twice as good as the 100 percent buckwheat soba noodles we’ve bought before, and cost half as much. Mild, tender, and delicious, they are the perfect foundation for a beautiful pasta dish, and you can even serve them to a gluten free guest!

I choose to make these buckwheat noodles out of 100 % buckwheat, so they are completely gluten free. Buckwheat, by the way, is not at all related to wheat. It’s not even considered a “grain”, but rather is a highly nutritious “seed”.

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