Last year I resolved to eat more protein from fish, quinoa and buckwheat. I managed plenty of fish but little quinoa and buckwheat.
I really like buckwheat, but I only have one recipe that I regularly cook so far. While looking for some buckwheat recipes to try on Pinterest, "Tabbouleh" kept popping up. So after reading all about it, I decided to have a go at making it myself.
If you haven't heard of it, tabbouleh is a Levantine vegetarian dish traditionally made with lots of parsley, mint, tomatoes, bulgur, and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. I replaced the bulgur wheat with buckwheat, which, despite its name has no relation to wheat and is gluten free.
Buckwheat is full of nutrients like magnesium, iron, phosphorus, copper, rutin, essential amino acids, and has a low glycemic index. It is a dietary staple in Russia and Eastern Europe, and is used as a meal of itself, served with meat or mushrooms, cooked into pancakes.
Serve on it's own as a fresh delicious salad or top it with your favourite protein for a healthy dinner.
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All of the Tabbouleh recipes I read were so different to each other, you should use the recipe below as a rough guide and adjust to your own palate.
Ingredients: serves 2
- 1 large bunch of fresh flat leaf Parsley, washed, dried and roughly chopped
- 1 small bunch of fresh Mint, washed, dried and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup of buckwheat
- 1 cup of boiling water
- ripe cherry tomatoes, sliced into quarters
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- 1/2 cucumber, diced
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- very small pinches of ground allspice, (white) pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, cloves and ginger.
- A few whole leaves of mint for garnish
- Rinse the buckwheat groats in a bowl of water, changing it several times until the water is clear. (If the following instructions are very different to the package instructions, follow the package). Bring a pan of 1 cup water to the boil, add a pinch of salt and add the toasted buckwheat. Bring to the boil again, then simmer on low, with the lid on tightly for 10 minutes. Remove from heat (even if there is still some water remaining), cover with a lid and a tea towel, and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes. Important: Keep it tightly covered as it fully cooks. You want to keep all the steam in.
- While the buckwheat is cooking, wash and thoroughly dry the fresh herbs to prevent a soggy salad. I plucked the leaves from the stems and chopped them a little bit. Chop the cucumber, tomatoes and spring onions and add everything to a large serving bowl. (You can keep a little of the tomatoes to add to the top before serving.)
- In a small bowl, add the olive oil, lemon juice and spices and whisk to combine. Pour over the salad and toss everything together, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Chill the salad for at least 30 minutes up to overnight. The flavour will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours. Before serving, garnish the tabbouleh with the reserved tomatoes and a one or two whole mint sprigs.
- Serve at room temperature as a salad or as a side dish with pita bread and hummus, spicy meatballs, falafel or grilled fish.
- Toasted Buckwheat is golden brown in colour. If the buckwheat you buy is not toasted, you can quickly toast it on a dry pan over medium heat 4-5 min until it is golden brown in colour then remove from heat and proceed with the recipe. The picture on the right shows raw vs toasted buckwheat.