Buckwheat – nothing to do with wheat, so lower your anti-gluten force field – is a terrific building block for a grain salad. It only takes 8 minutes to cook, and you have something with a consistency liked cooked rice, but with more natural flavour. In essence, this salad is akin to a pilaf, tossed through with lots of good, tasty things.
Different nuts and herbs are always in my kitchen in almost absurd profusion, and this is a good way of using them up. Mix and match to your heart’s desire with what you have to hand. I’ve used walnuts, flaked almonds and slivered pistachios here; cashews or pecans are other regular favourites. Same with the vegetables: while I love this pale green combination, there’s no reason you couldn’t use whatever you like.
Buckwheat salad with herbs and nuts
180g (1 cup) raw buckwheat
1 bulb fennel, diced
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup nuts (see note above)
¼ cup mint, chopped
¼ cup dill, chopped
In a broad pan, sauté the fennel, onion and celery in olive oil over medium heat until softened. Grate in the garlic and add the cumin.
Off the heat, grate in the zest of the lemon. Add the cooled buckwheat, toss and leave to cool.
Juice in half the lemon and add the extra virgin olive oil. Mix in the nuts, mint and dill. Toss together gently until combined and serve with lemon wedges.