Kasha Varnishkes

Kasha Varnishkes is a Jewish specialty made with kasha, bowtie pasta and caramelized onions.

When I picked a box of kasha off the shelf for the very first time I had no idea that it would lead me here. I was only looking to expand my horizons and try something new.

The kasha evoked a strong food memory from my Mom, who described this dish to a tee even though it is 30 years or more since she had it. The only thing she couldn’t remember was the name. A quick search solved that problem! What I thought was going to be an obscure dish turned out to be quite popular with recipes and nostalgic food memories plastered all over the Internet.

Kasha is buckwheat groats, a grain that has nothing at all to do with wheat! “Varnishkes” is Yiddish for bowtie noodles. Usually the onions are caramelized in chicken fat, and lots of it; seeing as I didn’t have chicken fat on hand I went with olive oil. Where mine differs from the one my Mom remembers is that I use sour cream and hers were buttery. Fat is fat. The choice is yours.

One thing was clear from all of my research: this is serious Jewish comfort food.

Kasha Varnishkes

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Kasha Varnishkes

Kasha Varnishkes is Jewish comfort food made with kasha, bowtie pasta and caramelized onions.


2 large onions, diced
olive oil, for sauteing
4 cloves garlic, minced
sea or kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1 large egg or egg white, slightly beaten
1 cup medium or coarse kasha (buckwheat)
2 cups water or vegetable broth
3/4 pound large or small bow tie pasta
2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried dill


  1. Sauté onions in a few tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan with a cover until golden, add garlic and saute until fragrant. Remove and set aside.
  2. Beat the egg in a small mixing bowl and stir in the kasha mixing well and making sure all the grains are coated. In the same frying pan on medium-high heat, flatten, stir, and break up the egg-coated kasha with a fork or wooden spoon continuously for 2 to 4 minutes or until the egg has dried on the kasha and the kernels brown and separate from each other.
  3. Add water or broth to pan, season well with salt and pepper to the frying pan; bring to a boil. Add half the onions/garlic mixture, cover tightly, and cook over low heat 10 minutes. Remove the cover, stir, and quickly check to see if the kernels are tender and the liquid has been absorbed. If not, cover and continue steaming for 3 to 5 minutes more.
  4. Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain reserving; 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  5. In an extra large mixing bowl whisk the sour cream, pasta water, parsley and dill together. Add the kasha and pasta, mix well, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.


Adapted from Epicurious


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