Kasha Varnishkes

by Liz Madsen-
A white bowl with bowtie pasta, buckwheat, and parsley next to a peach napkin and black fork.

This is easy, satisfying comfort food. Kasha is buckwheat or groats, and varnishkes is Yiddish and means (or some will argue it only implies) bow-tie pasta. It's traditionally made with schmaltz, but this version is vegan and totally delicious.


1 pound bowtie or egg-free wide ribbon pasta (can use any GF pasta)
1 + ¼ cup buckwheat groats
2 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced
3 servings of egg replacer to make up for 3 eggs (we like Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer) or substitute 3 tablespoons chickpea flour mixed with 6 tablespoons water)
1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base mixed with 3 cups hot water (or use 3 cups boxed vegan chicken or vegetable broth)
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2-4 tablespoons vegan butter for stirring it at the end, totally optional
Granulated garlic and lemon juice, to taste, optional for extra flavor (not traditional)

  1. Start a medium pot of water boiling on one burner and a large nonstick pot on another.
  2. Heat the large pot over medium high heat for one minute, and then add the onions. Cook for about 10 minutes, adding a tablespoon of water or two when they really start to stick (you can use vegan butter or oil if you prefer), then using a wooden spoon or spatula to gently scrape the flavor off the bottom of the pot. or until the onions are nicely caramelized, then remove from the pan and set aside for now.
  3. When the water boils in your smaller pot, add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain and set aside when done.
  4. Mix the buckwheat groats with your egg or chickpea mixture and add that to the large skillet, toasting for about 2 minutes over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Then add the broth and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil, add the onions back in, turn the heat down to low and cook covered for about 10 minutes. Check it and stir after the 10 minutes. The buckwheat should be soft and slightly chewy. If it’s tough, add a little more broth and cook a few more minutes.
  5. When ready, stir in the drained bow ties and the fresh herbs, salt, pepper, and optional flavorings (granulated garlic and lemon juice to taste if you like). You can also stir through vegan butter if using. Serve warm.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers 4-5 days in an airtight container.

  1. Makes about 12 cups. Cook time: 30-35 minutes.
  2. Find more of Liz’s recipes at Zardyplants. This particular recipe is reprinted with permission from their e-book, Plant Based Jewish Recipes by Liz and Paul Madsen. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.