We discovered three bags of buckwheat groats in one of our suitcases when we returned to Haiti a few months ago.... some toddler packing assistance, perhaps?! Buckwheat is one of our favorite salad grains that we make seasonal adaptations of throughout the year. I especially love the nutty flavors of buckwheat with a creamy sweet roasted garlic vinaigrette and toasted vegetables. Beets and carrots are all plentiful in our Port-au-Prince markets this time of year, and we love the slightly offbeat grassy flavor of local okra in the mix.
For other grain based salads try our Spring Picnic Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Feta, Hearty Quinoa & Chickpea Salad, Spring Buckwheat Grouts Salad, Wild Rice & Quinoa Salad with Mushrooms & Asparagus.
Yield: serves 4-6 as a side
- 1 cup buckwheat groats, rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups beets (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 head garlic, top cut off
- 1 1/2 cups carrots (about 2 medium), peeled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cups okra, ends trimmed, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
- 1 head roasted garlic, about 8 cloves (from above)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425. Prepare a large baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil or a silicon baking mat.
- To cook the buckwheat groats, pour the uncooked buckwheat into a pot with 2 cups of water, and a large pinch of salt. Simmer buckwheat at medium-low heat for 11-14 minutes until the grains are cooked through. You will want to start tasting them towards the end of the cook time to test for doneness. The buckwheat should be roughly the texture of cooked brown rice; no hardness in the center, but firm and chewy. Once cooked, drain and transfer to a serving bowl.
- To roast the vegetables: in a small bowl, toss the beets, carrots and whole head of garlic with olive oil and salt. Roast for 45 minutes.
- Remove the hot pan from the oven, and remove the garlic from the pan and set aside to cool. Make space on the tray for the okra, spread the vegetables evenly on the baking sheet and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Check your vegetables for doneness, the beets and carrots should be looking more shriveled with dark spots of caramelization, the okra should have brown spots as well. Depending on the water content, age of the vegetable and size of your pieces, roasting may take more or less time. Once your vegetables are roasted, remove from the oven to cool.
- For the roasted garlic vinaigrette: blend together the roasted garlic, vinegar, oil, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Blend well to combine. Pour the roasted garlic vinaigrette over the warm cooked buckwheat and mix with a fork to distribute and fluff the grains. Allow the buckwheat mixture to cool to room temperature before proceeding to the next step.
- Once the buckwheat has reached room temperature, add the roasted vegetables and green onions.
- Mix the salad together gently to evenly distribute the ingredients, serve at room temperature. This salad keeps well in the fridge for up to 2 days, and tastes best at room temperature.