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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Radish salad is a very traditional dish in Bavaria, eaten in the beergardens during summer. Often, the radish is simplistically served in slices which are just slightly salted as part of the ‘Brotzeit’, also involving pretzels, cheeses, cold cuts or sausages and lots of beer of course. Usually, white or red radishes are more popular since they are freshly available during spring and summer. But right now, what we have in our stores is the black winter radish, which is harvested just before the first frost in October or November and keeps fresh all winter. Did you know that one radish delivers the daily dose of vitamin C? It’s a perfect vegetable to eat while waiting for more fresh produce to arrive in spring. I sort of upgraded the black radish salad here with a nice and lemony mustard vinaigrette, which immediately transforms it into something special. Radish can taste a little strong, but salting the slices beforehand takes off the edge I find. You can also eat this salad as a topping on crackers or sandwiches, it’s maybe even better than on its own. Hope you like this as much as I did!
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It’s been ages since I posted a recipe here – apologies. I’ve been missing it though, and I’m happy I got to make this little winter salad. Radicchio has a delicious bitterness but also a mild nutty flavor that only comes out when it’s grilled or braised. In fact, this article from the New York Times from 1988 (!) says it all – time to eat more radicchio, for sure. Here I combined it with creamy avocado and a tangy lemon-mustard dressing to balance the bitterness and bring out the sweetness. It’s nice to mix the warm grilled radicchio with the fresh ingredients. A little ricotta salata adds some salt but is not absolutely necessary. Same with the almonds – which can be replaced with hazelnuts or even cashews I guess.
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I just love beetroot. We don’t often get the yellow ones here in Berlin, so when I saw them in a store I had to buy them immediately. I wanted to use them raw, the color is amazing! This salad actually has lots of flavor, given the earthiness of the beets with a bit of gingery spice, the freshness of the parsley and the mildly bitter pistachios. The beetroot need to be sliced veeery thin though, otherwise they are a bit too crunchy. If you don’t have a mandoline, a potato slicer would do as well. And most importantly, this salad needs lots of dressing – the beets should kind of marinate for a few minues before serving. [Read more…] about Raw beetroot salad with ginger-pistachio gremolata
When I was little my mom often made something called Grünkern, an old-fashioned German grain, basically wheat that was harvested when still green. Of course I didn’t really like it at the time but now I feel kind of nostalgic about it and wanted to try it again. Only today (!) I realized it’s the same as freekeh, very common in Middle Eastern and North African cuisines. It’s actually considered a superfood and has great nutritional value and high fiber content. It’s chewey and nourishing and gives just the right substance to arugula and the sour-sweet raspberries, with their tangy red wine vinegar shallot dressing. [Read more…] about Summer salad with arugula, freekeh and raspberries