We have been experimenting with buckwheat in our kitchen lately, and one of the results was this delicious and extremely refreshing buckwheat, pomegranate and herbs salad. Buckwheat is not only very healthy but also really versatile – it can be eaten savoury or sweet, warm or cold – or in the form of soba noodles of course! The name is a bit misleading, since buckwheat has nothing to do with wheat – in fact, it’s not even a grain and it’s glutenfree. Sometimes buckwheat is sold already toasted; in that case it has a darker brown color. We used the untoasted version here (from Rapunzel), which is pale green or beige and has a very mild taste. This here is really the simplest preparation, a wonderful winter salad, with lots of vitamins in the form of lemon and pomegranate, and a fresh taste from the green herbs.
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Freekeh is one of the best grains out there. It has a lot of fiber and a nutty but fresh taste. This is probably because it’s wheat that has been harvested when still young. The dried wheat is then carefully burnt, so the seeds remain intact. This is what gives them their special flavor. Freekeh is a typically middle eastern food, but in Germany we have a very similar thing called Gruenkern, which is spelt processed in a similar way. Gruenkern is one of the foods of my childhood, it’s actually delicious! Today I mostly eat it in salads, such as this one, which has a nice mix of flavors and textures with the fresh figs and the roasted aubergine. The tahini dressing is my new favorite, it’s good in everything but goes especially well with this salad I find.
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Spring seems to have finally arrived in Berlin, just when – as every year – the cold and grey skies began to feel almost unbearable. Now the city is exploding with green and flowering trees and the collective mood seems to brighten a bit. In tune with this transition, the salad here is a delicious and energizing spring dish; the addition of mint makes it light and fresh, whereas the sweet potatoes with the cinnamon give it a nice sugary note. Lately I started mixing grains into my salads and bulgur is one of my favorites in this regard since it’s light and fluffy but still substantial enough. And leafy greens are something we should probably all eat more of. The vinaigrette of lemon and olive oil is probably my favorite dressing, and healthy too. You can of course omit the feta cheese to make the salad vegan, or maybe add some smoked tofu instead.
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For some reason, kale is still rare in Germany. It’s strange because kale – or green cabbage – is one of the most traditional German greens – typically cooked for hours with slices of sausage, it was my grandfather’s favorite dish for example. But the whole modern kale movement has almost evaded us here. Which is why whenever I see kale somewhere, I buy it. My favorite way to prepare kale is in salads, such as this one from Choosing Raw, which inspired me to make the sesame-flavored version here. To be eaten raw, the kale leaves should get a good massage with the dressing first, don’t hesitate to crunch them until they are a little wilted. With rice and red cabbage they make a quick, super healthy and yet filling salad.
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It was one of my best friends’ birthday last weekend and she made a wonderful asian- flavored salad with lots of herbs. It was such simple but perfect food on a summer day and it was gone in no time, along with lots of champagne. This is a vegan version, trying to recreate those typical flavors without meat and without fish sauce. I experimented a bit with the dressing and settled on light soy sauce plus a little miso as a fish sauce ‘replacement’, basically something salty and slightly tangy. If you want a bit more substance, serve the salad with rice or rice noodles. Actually, the noodles could also be mixed into the salad itself. And of course you could add chopped peanuts to give it some crunch.
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