Kasha Varnishkes

(Adapted from Jane Kinderlehrer's Cooking Kosher the Natural Way, with some modifications to suit my personal tastes).

This is a modern adaptation of a traditional Eastern European dish. Kasha is coarse buckwheat; varnishkes are bowtie-shaped egg noodles. Cooking the two as described below, with an onion and some butter (or, if you are eating fleischig, schmaltz), gives the traditional recipe. The mushrooms and sesame seeds are not traditional, but they improve the flavor and make the recipe more nutritionally balanced.

Note: you can find dried kasha and varnishkes in the kosher sections of some (but unfortunately not all) supermarkets. I find that mini-varnishkes work better than full-sized ones. Substituting farfalle for the varnishkes is not recommended.


1 cup uncooked kasha
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups hot water
1 package varnishkes (14-16 oz)
1 large onion
1-2 cups fresh mushrooms
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
2/3 cup sesame seeds
1 large egg
oil for sauteeing (I prefer olive)
salt and white pepper to taste


  1. Chop the mushrooms and dice the onion. Sautee both in the oil, cooking away most of their liquid.
  2. Boil the noodles according to the package directions, draining them when done. While they are cooking...
  3. Mix the egg and the kasha until the groats are well-coated, then heat until dry in a warm frying pan. Add hot water and bring to boil; cover and simmer until water is absorbed and kasha is soft (about 5-7 minutes).
  4. Soften the butter. Combine cooked kasha and varnishkes, sauteed stuff, butter, salt, and sesame seeds in one or two large casseroles; mix thoroughly.
  5. Bake covered at 350 F for 30 minutes, until you can smell the roasting kasha.

Serve hot, either as a vegetarian main dish or as a side with beef or poultry. Makes enough for five to six. As long as it is kept covered, the casserole refrigerates and reheats very well, even in the microwave.

Jeremy Buhler (jbuhler AT wustl DOT edu)
Last Update: 10/22/2006