Today you’ll read about Cauliflower and Buckwheat Salad. You’re going to love it, because it’s delicious. And healthy. And drool-worthy. See?
But where’s the cauliflower? It’s there… and it’s RICED! Cauliflower rice has been a major thing for a couple years now, and I love it. It’s cauliflower, chopped up into rice-sized pieces. I’ve used it to make amazing breadless grilled cheese sandwiches and incredible crustless pizza, and it’s a great way to bulk up salads or use in place of couscous or rice (like in this recipe).
This salad’s base is cauliflower rice and buckwheat, which is a grain I’ve never cooked before. Despite ‘wheat’ being part of the name, it’s not a type of wheat at all, but rather the seeds of a rhubarb-like plant. Like quinoa, it’s a good source of protein and nutrients and is considered a superfood. And it’s gluten-free.
Fun Fact! Buckwheat has been cultivated for 8,000 years. It was first used in China, and spread eastward. It’s also easy to grow in cold climates, and is the crop that can be grown at the highest altitude, including on mountainsides in Tibet.
You cook buckwheat like you do rice: add water, bring it to a boil, then simmer it for 10 minutes and then it’s done. Drain it and rinse it and enjoy!
Before I go further, here are the ingredients for Caulifower and Buckwheat Salad.
- 1 cup cooked buckwheat
- 2 cups cauliflower rice, cooked
- 2 cups chopped bell pepper, any color
- 1 cup cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 cup shallot, chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
- 4 ounces (about 1 cup) smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
- 1 handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
I was fully prepared to buy a bag a pre-riced cauliflower at the store, but when I saw this gorgeous orange cauliflower in the produce section, I knew I had to buy it and rice it myself.
I chopped it into smaller pieces. I didn’t worry about making pretty florets, since it’s going to be chopped more anyway. Then I steamed it, using my Richard Simmons Steam Heat, for 15 minutes.
I let it cool after it was cooked, and then used a little hand-crank food processor to chop it into rice-sized chunks. Be careful, no matter what kind of food processor you use – you don’t want to end up with mush!
While the cauliflower was steaming and cooling, I chopped the peppers, cucumber, and shallot. I used one red, one yellow, and one orange pepper, but use whatever colors you want.
I also toasted the walnuts, in a dry skillet, over low heat, just until I could smell them, then they’re done.
To assemble, I tossed everything in a big bowl and mixed it up! The dressing is simply olive oil and balsamic, with salt and pepper to taste. My friend Linnea gave me, a while back, some small bottles of flavored oils, so I used olive oil infused with Greek seasonings, but you use whatever you have.
The next time time I make this I’ll probably use a different vinegar, like red wine vinegar, because the balsamic is thick, so it coats everything and blunts some of the beautiful colors of the veggies, especially the orange cauliflower.
It is still delicious, though, with plenty of eye appeal!
The buckwheat and cauliflower is tender, and the peppers and cucumbers are fresh and crisp. The walnuts add a bit of crunch, and the smoked Gouda adds another smoky flavor. It comes together beautifully!
This salad serves six, and one serving is 300 calories, with 11 grams of protein, 13 grams of fat, and 39 grams of carbs. It’s hearty enough to be a meal by itself, or top it with a lean protein, like a chicken breast or some tuna, for a feast!
Keep it up, David!
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