Warm Buckwheat and Broccoli Spicy Salad

This is the perfect warm winter salad – nourishing, soothing and so insanely delicious, just like healthy comfort food! The whole dish is based around buckwheat, which you may not have tried before. I hadn’t had it until really recently but I’m now a huge convert and it seems to be taking over from quinoa in my dishes at the moment, which says a lot as quinoa has been my best friend for the last few years! Despite the misleading name buckwheat is actually totally gluten free, and like quinoa it’s a seed not a grain. It’s also super healthy as it’s rich in disease-fighting flavonoids, as well as being full of magnesium, which works to relax blood vessels to improve blood flow and nutrient delivery. It’s even been shown to regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. So basically it’s an amazing addition to any diet. It also tastes awesome. The grains are much bigger than quinoa, with a slightly nutty taste and a more substantial texture, which I love, and they go with everything. Of all the buckwheat combinations I’ve tried though this is my favourite, particularly because of the dressing which has the perfect mix of creaminess, spiciness and sweetness thanks to the blend of tamari, tahini, apple cider vinegar, honey (or maple syrup), paprika and chilli flakes. It’s then mixed with grated carrots and beets, which adds a subtle, slightly-sweet, slightly-earthy flavour and a brilliant beautiful pink colour, before being topped with coconut and tamari roasted cauliflower, broccoli and chickpeas.

I love it served with pumpkin and sunflower seeds to get a little crunch, and some spicy hummus, because I just love hummus and I love the extra creaminess!

For the salad:

– 2/3 of a cup of buckwheat (2 cups of boiling water)

– 1 large carrot

– 1 small beetroot

– 1 cauliflower

– a dozen tender stem broccolis

– 1 cup of soaked chickpeas

For the dressing

– 1 tablespoon of tamari

– 1 tablespoon of tahini

– 1 tablespoon of honey (or maple syrup)

– 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

– 1 teaspoon of paprika

– 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes

Start by pre-heating the oven to 180C. Then chop the cauliflower into bite sized pieces and place them in a baking tray with one tablespoon each of coconut oil and tamari, as well as a sprinkling of salt and paprika. Roast the cauliflower for 30 minutes.

While the cauliflower cooks chop the broccoli into bite sized chunks, and ten minutes before the cauliflower finishes cooking add these and the chickpeas to the baking tray with another tablespoon of tamari and a sprinkling of paprika.

Next, peel and grate the beet and carrot and cook the buckwheat. To cook the buckwheat simply add it to a saucepan with double the amount of boiling water, then allow it to simmer and absorb all the water, which should take about ten minutes. Once it’s cooked it should have an al dente style texture. At this point you can stir in the grated carrot and beet as well as all the ingredients needed for the sauce – tamari, tahini, apple cider vinegar, honey (or maple syrup), paprika, salt and chilli flakes. Place it all in salad bowl with the roasted cauliflower, broccoli and chickpeas and stir well. Finally, if you want a little crunch sprinkle some pumpkin and sunflower seeds on the top, then eat and enjoy!