08 Sep LUNCHBOX: Autumn Buckwheat Salad
As the weather turning a bit nippy, this salad is perfect for this time of the year whether you serve it warm or at room temperature. This alkaline salad is packed with nutrients and very filling – broccoli, sweet potatoes, buckwheat, carrot, walnuts, pomegranate seeds, tahini and maple syrup.
Cooking for one can be challenging. Sure, you can make loads for dinner then pack the leftovers for lunch and dinner for another night. I want something for lunch that isn’t from a leftover dinner. I’m all about packing healthy lunches these days. A good pack lunch means you save extra £25 each day (given you have a fiver limit for lunch). Sandwiches are terrible, they are full of hidden fats and easy carbohydrates.
Did you know, buckwheat despite its name, is gluten free? Most people assume buckwheat is some kind of a cereal grain but it’s actually a fruit seed that is related to the rhubarb and sorrel family. It’s packed with high quality protein, manganese and dietary fibre. You can cook it down to a porridge, add to soups and salads. The Japanese have been making buckwheat soba noodles for centuries.
This autumn salad serves about 2-3 people as full lunch mains or 4-5 as a side dish. This will be great along side with roast chicken or grilled mackerel and pork chops.
- 100ml Buckwheat (75g) Note: I use a decilitre cup that marks to 100ml, not a dry measuring cup)
- 200ml Water
- 100g Broccoli, florets
- 2 small Sweet Potatoes (or one big one), cut into cubes
- 1 small Carrot, grated
- 4 tbsp Pomegranate Seeds
- A small handful of Walnut Pieces (about 30g)
- 1/2 tsp Vegetable Bouillon Powder (optional)
- Leaves from a few trigs of Thyme
- 3 tbsp Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with 'Mother'
- 1 tbsp Tahini
- 1 tbsp Maple Syrup (or you can use honey or agave)
- 1 tbsp Tamari Sauce (Soy Sauce if you eat gluten)
- 1/4 tsp Chili Flakes
- A bit of Thyme leaves
- Sea Salt & Pepper to season
- Preheat oven to 200ºC (180ºC Fan Oven / 390 F / Gas Mark 6).
- Rinse buckwheat and in a saucepan, place water and vegetable bouillon powder (if using, otherwise a good pinch of sea salt will do). Bring to boil, cover and turn down the heat to simmer.
- Meanwhile, peel sweet potatoes and cut them into cubes. Toss the sweet potato cubes with a drizzle of olive oil, pinch of sea salt, twist of pepper and thyme (save some for dressing) and place them on a baking sheet. Roast for 15 mins.
- Use this time to cut Broccoli into florets and grate carrot (or to prepare pomegranate).
- When the sweet potatoes at half way mark, toss in walnut pieces into the sweet potato pan and toast.
- Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl set aside.
- Take out sweet potatoes and let it cool.
- When the majority of water has been absorbed by the buckwheat (about 10-15 mins), place broccoli florets into the saucepan to steam for another 3 mins or until all the water has been absorbed. Wait 5 mins to cool down a little, now it's the time to tackle that pomegranate if you haven't done so already.
- In a large bowl, toss buckwheat, vegetables and dressing together then sprinkle pomegranate seeds and toasted walnuts on top.