Kasha Varnishkes

The Backstory: I have heard and read so many touching stories about how a beloved family member – usually a grandmother – made/makes Kasha Varnishkes that the very taste brings back wonderful childhood memories. Unfortunately, I have no such story to share because – yes, I’m going to admit it – I have never tasted Kasha and Bows. More of the Backstory after the recipe

Kasha Varnishkes

This traditional and delicious side dish combines al dente pasta with grainy kasha to deliver old-world comfort food goodness. The recipe can be be made ahead and stores beautifully as leftovers. It can be served hot, warm or at room temperature.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Jewish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 people


  • 2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large carrot diced into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 cups creminis (baby bella mushrooms) thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup kasha
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 pound bowtie pasta cooked according to package instructions
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil, then sauté onions until soft. Add carrots and cook until the onions take on some color. Add mushrooms, then garlic. Sauté for 2 more minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix kasha with eggs and seasonings. Add the kasha egg mixture to the sauté pan with the vegetables and cook over medium heat until dry looking and kernels separate. Add stock and cook, covered, until liquid is absorbed and kasha is tender, about 12 minutes.
  3. Mix in bowties.
  4. Serve with ketchup or gravy.

Recipe Notes

  • If you choose to use chicken fat, use just enough in which to cook the onions
  • You can cook your onions for slightly longer, until they begin to brown
  • If you don't want to use stock, use the liquid from simmering 1/2 ounce of dried porcini mushrooms in 2 1/2 cups water, or, if all else is unavailable, water.

…The Backstory continues: So, I set out on a mission to find out what this traditional Eastern European Jewish dish is all about. My first thought was where I would find kasha, which are buckwheat groats. I came across them at a local Jewish supermarket and, with mushrooms and farfalle, I headed to the kitchen.

A traditional comfort food for Russian Jews, Kasha Varnishkes were brought to the United States by immigrants. The kasha and bowtie pasta are prepared separately in this extremely easy recipe.

After cooking the vegetables, you add in the egg-coated kasha and the dish begins to smell aromatic and somewhat nutty. I mixed in the farfalle and was so impressed by the simplicity of this recipe.

Not knowing what to expect, I took a bite and really enjoyed the dish. There is a lovely contrast of textures with the soft pasta and grainy kasha. While authentic Kasha Varnishkes entail cooking the mushrooms in chicken fat, this is a healthier option that is high in fiber, very tasty and would make an excellent addition to any menu.

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Nicole Beale

Nicole Beale

Nicky Beale is an avid cook and food photographer who hails from Johannesburg, South Africa. She is excited to be a part of The Jewish Kitchen — a special community that celebrates food, culture and family — as it was exactly this that made her feel more at home while living abroad. When she's not in the kitchen, Nicky works in television production on shows for the likes of Syfy and Starz. She earned a Master of Science degree in Television Production from Boston University and obtained her undergraduate degree in film theory and journalism from the University of Cape Town.
Nicole Beale

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