The brunch staple has a rep for being about as healthy as a frosting-covered piece of cake. It's not unwarranted—usually made with flour, and coated in maple syrup, it can seem more suited for dessert than breakfast. But it doesn't have to be that way. Waffles can be downright good for you if you sub the primarily ingredient, flour, with buckwheat.
Despite its misleading name, buckwheat isn't wheat at all; the pseudograin—which, like quinoa, is actually a seed—is completely gluten-free. It's been linked to lowering cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar levels, which means unlike your typical brunch entree, it won't make you need a nap later.
Rounded up here are seven buckwheat waffles recipes, all resulting in the perfect light-yet-crispy breakfast you'll crave all week. Is it the weekend yet?
Instead of getting its sweetness from syrup, this recipe from Unconventional Baker works a few smart ingredients right into the batter: coconut water, creamy almond butter, cinnamon, and vanilla bean. Top it off with berries and voilà—brunch is served.
Lemon zest makes basically everything taste better—including, yes, waffles. Chia seeds are another star in this recipe from The Healthy Maven, which not only work in the place of eggs, but up the protein and fiber. (AKA, you'll stay full longer.)
In warmer weather, strawberries are plentiful at the farmers' market and local supermarkets, but if you're pulling up this Naturally Ella recipe during the dead of winter, the frozen varieties are going to be your go-to for this ingredient. (FYI: Unlike the others in this roundup, this recipe does use a flour blend of half buckwheat, half whole wheat, so there is gluten in this one.)
This buckwheat waffles recipe from Cookie and Kate is the perfect go-to because it's basic enough that it will go with anything you top it off with. Naturally sweetened with coconut sugar and cinnamon, it's only a teeny bit sweet, so if you're more of a savory waffle lover, it works just as well as a base for toppings like eggs and chives as it does for fruit, yogurt, or applesauce.
Making the batter by blending buckwheat flour with almond milk is the texture-saving secret used here by Choosing Chia. A touch of coconut oil and coconut sugar adds just a hint of flavor without being overwhelming, giving your fave toppings the chance to really shine. Apple cider vinegar pulls it all together—so get out that bottle of Bragg's from the pantry.
These waffles from Chocolate Covered Katie need just a scoop of dairy-free ice-cream to be the perfect dessert. If you find buckwheat a bit too earthy for your liking but still want to reap the nutritional benefits, this recipe may be more your speed; it blends it with brown rice flour, arrowroot starch, and applesauce to help balance out the flavors. Baking soda and baking powder also help give them just the right fluffiness.
Once you've mastered a basic buckwheat waffles recipe, graduate to this show-stopping version from The First Mess. Three words: Vanilla. Stewed. Rhubarb. The tangy-sweet flavor of the topping balances out the savoriness of the buckwheat flour perfectly. (Note: This recipe does contain gluten, just FYI.) The batter is also made with inflammation-fighting spices cardamom and cinnamon—you'll be licking your fingers while you work that waffle iron.
Originally published January 24, 2019. Updated March 6, 2020.
Now that you've won brunch, check out these 10-minute healthy lunch recipes. Plus, 35 (!) nutrient-rich-yet-hearty dinner ideas for when it's too cold to deal.
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