Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hearty and Fresh: Black Bean and Buckwheat Dinner Salad

Some of the best meals happen because of accidents or mistakes. Sure, some of the time it's disastrous or most often it's not good enough to be tasty but not gag-inducing enough to justify wasting. I remember this one time I made a barley and bean salad and dressed it with a "vinaigrette" made from yogurt, ground coriander and honey. Not tasty at all, but I couldn't bare to waste it, so I choked it down ... for a good 3 days.

This beautiful black bean and buckwheat salad, though, it NOT the case. It was actually started by my dear sweet love who wanted to make a dish he first learned in culinary school that had black beans, quinoa and tomatoes. Very tasty-sounding. But instead of cooking up red quinoa, he started rinsing out the .. buckwheat. Ooooooops. He cooked it up, mixed it together but found that the didn't like the taste of the buckwheat. That's a shame, because I loved it. It was earthy and hearty and perfect with the black beans. I added some fresh corn a bunch of fresh herbs, and spiced up the vinigrette with a little dash of cumin. Yumtastic. I ate it happily for a good 3 days. He made do with leftovers and was pleased enough that I liked it. Score.

This salad also has the potential be to very versatile. When the sweet corn and local tomatoes become fading summer memories, can't you picture roasted squash and even orange segments thrown in? A bit of orange juice in the vinaigrette and maybe skip the cumin .. or maybe not! I love meals that you can play with. I'm sure the quinoa version is just as good and we'll try that soon, but buckwheat is definitely where it's at. Happy kitchen experimenting!

**note that I refrained from putting measurements in the recipe, because, hey, you can make as much or as little as you want.

Black Bean and Buckwheat Dinner Salad

toasted buckwheat groats, cooked (1 cup of buckwheat to 1 1/4 cups of water)
canned black beans (I used the salt-free kind)
tomatoes, chopped
fresh sweet corn kernals
lots of fresh herbs -- thyme, basil and parsley -- roughly chopped

red wine vinegar
olive oil
salt and pepper
**I like my dressings really tart, but do as you like

1. Mix up all the salad ingredients and season well with salt and pepper.
2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust.
3. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss and enjoy!

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