Kasha Varniskes, or kasha with noodles, is a vegetarian dish sticks to the ribs like oatmeal and tastes like supper. With a couple of substitutions, it also works for vegans.
- 1 beaten egg or some vegetable oil
- 1 cup of kasha
- 3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
- Bow-tie egg noodles, pasta, or cubed tofu
- Optional ingredients: spinach, sliced or button mushrooms, any kind of gravy, and anything else your creativity suggests.
Kasha is cracked buckwheat, available in whole grain bins at stores that have them, and sometimes in a box on the supermarket shelf near the barley and rice.. Kasha is heartier, tastier, and heavier than barley or rice.
Kasha varnishkes is simple. For vegetarians and vegans, who sometmes have trouble feeling full, kasha varnishkes is an answer, but you don’t have to be vegetarian to like it.
You can also make a large amount, and save portions in the fridge for a week, or the freezer for a year. When heating, add a few drops of water. Re-heat on the stove, not the microwave, covered, to hold in the moisture,.
Kasha Varnishkes is Grandma Food
Russian immigrants served kasha varnishkes often, especially while raising kids in the Depression.. It was very healthy and satisfying, as well as an inexpensive meal for a whole family.
Assembling Kasha Varnishkes
Lay out one beaten egg or some vegetable oil, one cup of kasha, three cups of chicken or vegetable broth, bow-tie egg noodles or pasta, and optional ingredients: spinach, sliced or button mushrooms, any kind of gravy, and anything else your creativity suggests.
Coat all the grain completely in beaten egg. Vegans can substitute a very light coat of their choice of vegetable oil. Coat the grain, do not soak it.
Cook one part kasha in three parts chicken broth. Vegans and vegetarians can use vegetable broth, which tastes just as good. Many people use half broth and half water, but the ratio is still one part grain to three parts liquid.
Bring the liquid to a full boil, add the grain, boil for a minute, cover and simmer on low heat till all the liquid is absorbed. One cup of grain makes about three cups of kasha.
Boil and strain bow-tie egg noodles (pasta), as many as you like. But don’t let the bland noodles overwhelm the very tasty kasha. Vegans can experiment with rice noodles, any non-egg pasta substitute, or no noodles at all.
Mix the finished kasha and noodles.
- Add fresh spinach to the mix, steamed or raw.
- Mushrooms, button or sliced, add texture and soak up the flavor.
- Any kind of gravy can add extra taste and moisture if desired.
Other Ways to Serve Kasha
- Cooked in broth as a side dish, a change from rice or potatoes. (See above.)
- In soup, the same way you’d use barley. Cook the kasha as above before adding it to soup.
- Baked in dough as a filling for knishes. Use an egg to bind it and hold the filling together.
- In any dish that uses barley or couscous. Kasha is heartier and more tasty. It also can feel heavier.
Copyright Ken Braiterman. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.