Curried Buckwheat and Charred Broccoli Salad

This salad is such a deliciously nourishing way to enjoy buckwheat for lunch or dinner. It's full of flavours and textures and it even has my veggie-skeptic of a boyfriend's seal of approval! Despite the misleading name, buckwheat is not related to wheat and is actually entirely gluten-free (making it an especially nutritious food for those who are sensitive to gluten). This nutrient-packed plant is in fact related to rhubarb and while often treated like a grain, it is, technically speaking, a seed. You can add in any other roasted veggies you like (my favourites are Brussels sprouts, beetroot wedges and zucchini) and it's absolutely delicious served with a dollop of my turmeric and toasted sesame hummus, which you can find here.

Buckwheat is favoured by those who avoid gluten for its versatility – it can be sprouted and made into breads, used in place of oats for a gluten-free porridge and even ground down into a flour, which is commonly used to make fantastic gluten-free pancakes. It can be boiled whole like a grain, and used in place of barley or cous cous for a nutrient dense and gluten-free alternative. Toasted buckwheat can be used to add that crunch factor people love so much in homemade muesli and is brilliant sprinkled on top of your smoothie or acai bowl. It can even be sprouted!

There is especially good news for vegetarians too, in that buckwheat is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that humans cannot make themselves and are required by the body for optimal health. Protein plays a critical role in the maintenance and repair of muscle, as well as helping you to feel satisfied after eating for longer periods of time.

Buckwheat has a host of other nutritional benefits too. It contains magnesium, which is essential for the relaxation of your muscles, which may therefore aid in helping you to relax enough to ensure restorative sleep. It is also a good source of fibre, which can assist in blood sugar control and is integral for gut health through supporting good bacteria and the elimination of waste.

Furthermore, buckwheat is rich in the flavonoid rutin, a phytonutrient which extends the role of vitamin C and acts as an antioxidant, protecting your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Essential trace elements copper and manganese are also present in buckwheat – copper being important for cell integrity and energy production, and manganese in assisting with blood sugar control and bone cell production. Like manganese, phosphorus, also found in buckwheat, is important for the bones, aiding in both their formation and strength.

Buckwheat is a fantastic real food addition to your diet, with an indisputably high nutritional value. It’s value for money too, at a similar cost per kilo to rice. With so many simple ways to enjoy this nutritional powerhouse, it’s certainly something to consider including as a regular part of your diet. This salad is a really tasty way to do just that - give it a go!

Serves 2

The Goods

  • 2 heads organic broccoli
  • Optional other veggies to roast with the broccoli: brussels sprouts, zucchini, beetroot etc.
  • 1 cup raw buckwheat groats
  • 1 tbsp curry powder (don't skimp on this, I promise you it's delicious!)
  • 1/2 tbsp savoury yeast (or nutritional yeast)
  • 2 tbsp unhulled tahini
  • 2 tbsp walnut oil (olive oil may be substituted, but walnut gives the best flavour to this dish)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for roasting
  • Himalayan salt and cracked pepper
  • Pine nuts or tamari roasted sunflower seeds to sprinkle over top, optional
  • Turmeric and toasted sesame hummus, to serve (optional but highly recommended!)

The How To

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Begin by chopping the stalks of the broccoli off and cutting them into uniformly sized florets, not too big or too small is best. Place on a baking tray along with any other veggies you'd like (you may need two trays for this) and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to coat. Once oven is preheated, put the veggies in to roast.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the buckwheat with 2 cups of water, the curry powder, a little salt and pepper and the savoury yeast. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cover.
  3. While the broccoli and buckwheat cook, make the dressing by whisking the tahini and walnut oil with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Give the buckwheat a stir and check on the veggies - they are ready when the broccoli is slightly brown around the edges.
  5. Once the broccoli and roasted vegetable mixture is ready, toss it through the dressing in a bowl and add the cooked buckwheat mixture. Stir together well and serve topped with the pine nuts or seeds.

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