Buckwheat Risotto with Watercress Pesto and Pistachios. GF recipe.

Spring is full of inspiration as new flowers bloom and the views become more green.
Almost all my lunches and dinners have become green too. Fresh spring herbs and veggies smell fantastic. I really enjoy peppery watercress, flat leaf parsley, aromatic basil, and tender asparagus.
This recipe combines two of my favorite spring things in one delicious meal, risotto and pesto. I also put some twist and turn favorite classics into the light healthy recipe. Buckwheat is filled with fiber, protein, antioxidants, and aromatic compounds. This is a highly nutritious, gluten and grain free product. Buckwheat works great for this delicious green risotto.


3-4 Serves

  • 1 cup chopped leek
  • 2 cups green buckwheat (raw), washed and drained for about 15 minutes
  • 60 ml white wine (I use Calvados)
  • 1500 ml rich, good quality stock
  • 1/2 bag baby spinach and baby kale mix
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper

Watercress pesto:

  • 1 bunch watercress, washed and drained (about 60g)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • few sprigs of parsley
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan or nutritional yeast (if you prefer vegan version)
  • salt
  • black pepper

To serve:

  • toasted and chopped pistachios
  • watercress leaves


  1. Combine all ingredients for pesto sauce into a blender (or food processor) and mix well. Add more olive oil depending on how creamy you want it.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a heavy bottom stainless steel saute pan (my fav kind of the pan for risotto), then gently cook leek until translucent. Add washed and dried buckwheat and cook about one minute. Add a splash of white wine. I added apple brandy – Calvados, I love so much its apple aroma that perfectly fits for this risotto recipe. Сook until the alcohol has evaporated.
  3. Add the cup of boiling stock (I use vegetable or chicken stock). Mix well and cook at a medium heat till all liquid is almost absorbed. Add another one cup of stock and repeat 3-4 times until buckwheat will be ready. When you get close to the end of the estimated cooking time, taste the buckwheat. If it is ready, it should have a nice al dente bite. If it is undercooked, it will have a stiff center. A good risotto should have an almost soupy consistency and be served in a shallow bowl. Always make sure you added enough stock.
  4. Stir in the risotto spinach/kale mix and a dollop of watercress pesto. Serve risotto immediately, topped with chopped pistachios and garnished with watercress leaves. Do not let it sit for too long, as it will continue to absorb the liquid and get a bit clumpier. Enjoy!


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