Howdy, friends! Are you ready for a warming, grounding, and nourishing winter salad that’ll knock your woolen socks off? I think you are!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the direction that I want to take in this life. The quiet of fall and winter welcomes this introspection and deep thought. I had always imagined that I would have it all figured out by now, and yet here I am, three years into my twenties, with a strong awareness of my passions and values, yet only a vague notion of how I am going to direct these passions and values into a fulfilling career. I know that I want to be helping people and the planet in a grand sense, but I also know that I am community-oriented and that I want to effect change at the grassroots level. I know that so many of us in the twenty-something age category feel the same way, and I also recognize how rare it is for anyone- young or old- to “have it all figured out.” I guess I somehow imagined that I would have a ‘real’ job by now, and I have recently fallen into the trap of blaming myself for not being more of a “go-getter” at this point in my life. I’ve definitely fallen hard into the comparison trap as I see so many of my peers succeeding at their chosen careers, buying houses, getting engaged, etc. I know myself well enough to recognize the falsity of my negative self-talk now, though, and I know that this ostensibly stagnant phase will pass. I will soon make a decision about my next step in academics, which will provide some much-needed clarity. I will also soon start training for another race, which provides a much-needed outlet for my overactive mind. Until Christmas, however, I don’t have much going on, and I’m feeling a bit stuck. Recently, I have been relying on a few helpful mantras:
- You’re doing the best that you can.
- You’re doing a little less today so that you can do a little bit more tomorrow.
- Where you are right now is exactly where you need to be.
Sometimes, however, mantras aren’t quite enough to make me feel better about myself. That’s where hobbies come in: for some, it’s knitting, for others, writing. For me, it’s cooking. Thankfully, my creativity in the kitchen has been at an all-time high recently, and I have at least ten new recipes on their way before Christmas!
This warm buckwheat salad recipe came into being when I opened the fridge and saw a very sad head of cauliflower gazing back at me, just begging to be roasted with some sweet potato. An unlikely combination, sure, but a match made in vegetable heaven!
I added in some buckwheat and chickpeas for a dose of complete protein, kale for green goodness, cranberries for sweetness, walnuts for crunch, and avocado for creaminess, then whipped up a tangy, umami rich dressing to go on top. This salad makes the perfect make-ahead meal and it travels well, too! Hello, work and school lunches!
Warm Roasted Sweet Potato, Cauliflower, Chickpea and Buckwheat Salad with Tangy Tahini-Balsamic Dressing
- 1 cup raw buckwheat groats
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 heaping cups cauliflower florets
- 2 heaping cups cubed sweet potato (about 1 large)
- 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas
- 4 cups finely chopped kale (1 bunch)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup toasted and chopped walnuts
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
Tangy Tahini-Balsamic Dressing
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place cauliflower on one sheet and sweet potato on the other sheet. Drizzle 1/2 tbsp of the olive oil over each and season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast cauliflower for 20 minutes and sweet potato for 35 minutes, or until both are crispy and fork tender.
- 2. Meanwhile, heat 2 cups (500mL) of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Rinse buckwheat in a fine mesh sieve and drain. Once water is boiling, add buckwheat and 1/4 tsp fine sea salt. Stir, turn down heat to low, and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until all water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside until ready to use.
- 3. Once buckwheat and vegetables are cooked, combine all salad ingredients (buckwheat, cauliflower, sweet potato, chickpeas, kale, cranberries, and 1/4 cup of walnuts) in a large bowl.
- 4. To make the dressing, combine dressing ingredients in a mason jar, secure with lid, and shake vigorously until combined.
- 5. Pour dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
- 6. To serve, divide salad between 4 plates or bowls. Garnish with the remaining walnuts (if using) and a few slices of avocado.
If you make this recipe, let me know! Tag your creations on Instagram with #holisticallie!