Ah, sprouted buckwheat, the Hercules of healthy green food – perhaps rivaled only by kale. The great part about sprouted buckwheat is that it is one of the most complete sources of protein you can find (containing all eight amino acids), which is particularly fantastic for our vegetarian and vegan friends, but also for meat-eaters too. It’s also gluten-free and jam packed with enzymes and important nutrients. So imagine how thrilled I was to found a beautiful fresh stash of sprouted buckwheat as part of our foodshare bag recently.
It felt like a waste to blend it down into a protein shake, which is what it’s often used in, so I decided to integrate it into a fresh spring salad. Sprouted buckwheat tastes a lot like a grain food, while not being a grain, so the flavour is rather neutral. This makes it a great complement for just about anything. I went with spinach – another green superfood. My recipe below makes enough for two people, so if you have a larger family, you may want to increase the portions.
- 1 cup of sprouted buckwheat (coarsely chopped)
- 2 cups of spinach (coarsely chopped)
- 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries
- 1-2 ripe vine tomatoes (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic fig vinegar (or regular balsamic vinegar)
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh basil
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh mint
- fresh ground pepper, to taste
- salt, to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon balm leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon thyme
- 1 can of drained mandarin oranges
- 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts
Trim off the ends of your sprouted buckwheat, chop the sprouts as long or short as you prefer and place the sprouts in a large salad bowl. Add the chopped spinach leaves and fill the bowl with water. Slosh the greens around to clean them thoroughly. Any dead leaves and dirt will rise to the surface. Do this two or three times until the water runs clear and drain the greens thoroughly.
Chop up the tomatoes and add them to the greens.
Next, the herbs. A trick I use to chop up my leafy herbs, like basil and mint, is to gather the leaves and layer them flat one on top of the other in a flower formation. Then, tightly roll up the stacked leaves. Chop along the rolled leaves about a millimeter or two apart, and when you unroll them, you’ll have a beautiful feathery fine pile of chopped herbs. Add this to the greens.
If you are adding the mandarin oranges, add them in now. Also add fresh ground pepper and salt to the salad according to your taste. Mix the salad thoroughly with salad tongs or your hands. Sprinkle the dried cranberries over the salad (and pine nuts, if you’re including them).
Once you’re ready to serve the salad, drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the salad and give it one last good toss.