Always looking to adapt my favorite flavors into healthful recipes, I bring you a traditional mid-eastern Tabbouleh salad with a non-traditional buckwheat twist. Well, that said, perhaps consider that buckwheat is a mid-eastern plant and perhaps the cheaper and less nutritious cracked wheat is the imposter. We’ll let the historians debate that—or you can over a Tabbouleh salad lunch.
Not actually a grain, It may surprise you to learn that buckwheat is a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel. Buckwheat surpasses rice, wheat and corn on almost every measure of healthfulness (including the fact that rice, wheat, and corn are high on the glycemic scale, thus provoking a quick spike in blood sugar levels, a proven promoter of systemic inflammation as well as obesity). Buckwheat, on the other hand, ranks low on the glycemic scale.
Extremely nutritious (in contrast with those cereal grain anti-foods), the protein in buckwheat contains eight of the 9 essential amino acids including being naturally high in lysine and argenine. Buckwheat is also rich in many B vitamins as well as phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. Buckwheat is also a good oil source of Alpha-Linolenic Acid, which is one of the two essential fatty acids we must have to be healthy.
Recent studies show that Rutin, found in buckwheat bran, plays a role in managing blood cholesterol levels; regular consumption of buckwheat has also been found to lower blood pressure. Buckwheat’s high levels of flavanoids may help protect against disease by extending the action of vitamin C and acting as antioxidants. A study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology says buckwheat can help women avoid gallstones.
That’s a start on some of your lunch discussion. And by the way, high protein buckwheat is a great breakfast start whether in pancakes or as a “cereal” with fruit.
1½ cup raw buckwheat groats – washed
3 cups of water
12 pear tomatoes
1 cucumber, sliced
½ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
6 sprigs fresh mint
½ cup raw sliced almonds (optional; really tasty)
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup unfiltered cider vinegar
½ cup walnut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground pepper
1. In a saucepan bring the water to a boil. Add the rinsed buckwheat groats and return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer 50 minutes until the water is absorbed and the groats are cooked. This is just like cooking rice.
2. Remove from heat and let cool; about an hour.
3. Assemble the salad by tossing together the tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, parsley and sliced almonds.
4. Prepare the dressing: In a Magic Bullet or other food processor, blend together the remaining last 9 ingredients. By the way, this is a great salad dressing for garden salads also.
5. Toss the salad and dressing together to distribute the dressing evenly. Serve on a bed of lettuce with avocado slices for a light lunch or as a side dish.