Buckwheat Salad with Nieuw Tuinzight Grapes

The beautiful biodynamic grapes from Nieuw Tuinzight are great to use in a salad. Read about the grape nursery in my previous post: My kind of fruit! Biodynemic grapes from Nieuw Tuinzight.

Bold flavors with a hint of sweetness, that’s what this salad is about. I’ve roasted the butternut squash and combined it with tarragon, rucola, red onions, buckwheat, and the juicy plump red grapes of Nieuw Tuinzight. For a crunch and extra flavor, I’ve topped the salad with smoked salted almonds and goats cheese, but you can also use roasted salted almonds and leave the cheese out.

Technically, buckwheat isn’t a grain. The tiny greenish triangular groats are the fruit seeds of a plant related to rhubarb and not to wheat! Buckwheat has a short cooking time, and I suggest you regularly check the seeds for their doneness. The seeds fall apart quickly and if you do not pay attention you’ll end up with porridge instead of nice grains that are perfect for in a salad. I like to toast the grains briefly before actually cooking them, because toasting brings out the nutty flavor.

Serves 4 as lunch or starter, serves 3 as dinner

– 500-600 g (1.1-1.3 lb) butternut squash, seeded and cut into 2 cm (3/4 inch) chunks (no need to peel the squash)
– olive oil, for roasting and toasting
– red pepper flakes in a mill (optional)
– 150 g (3/4 cup) buckwheat
– about 20 red grapes, halved and seeded
– a small handful of fresh tarragon leafs
– 2 large handfuls of arugula (rocket)
– lemon juice, to taste
– a small handful of smoked or roasted salted almonds, coarsely chopped
– 75 g (½ cup) soft goats cheese, crumbled

For the red onion dressing
– 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
– 1 tsp sharp mustard
– 4 tbsp extra vierge olive oil
– 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced

Extra: baking tray covered with parchment paper

1. Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F. On a large baking tray, mix the squash with the olive oil, a generous sprinkling of salt, and a good grind of red pepper flakes or black pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes until tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the buckwheat. Heat some olive oil in a skillet, add the buckwheat and cook over medium heat while stirring for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the buckwheat to a small pot and cover the seeds with boiling water (use approx. twice as much water than buckwheat). Cook the buckwheat 8-10 minutes, until tender but not mushy (check regularly!). Drain the grains and let them cool on a large plate or baking tray.

3. For the dressing mix the vinegar, mustard, and some salt and pepper in a bowl. Gradually, while mixing, add the olive oil. Add the onions.

4. In a bowl, mix the roasted butternut squash with the buckwheat, grapes, and dressing. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Mix in the tarragon and arugula. Taste for seasoning and add a little lemon juice if it’s not tart enough. Scatter over the almonds and cheese.

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