It’s the millionth gloomy day in a row and the house is rattling from hard winds. I’m spending most of my days alone out here in our cabin in the woods, and some days, when I’ve been so wrapped up in my own things that I’ve forgotten to even put on some music or the radio, it can feel like I’m the only one left alive.
Going out for walks is risky, as a branch might suddenly fall down onto you. The roads looks like war zones with twigs and fir cones scattered around all over the place. Yesterday the power broke right in the middle of this photo shoot, with left me with no choice but to embrace the permanent dusk in the pictures. Luckily, the sweet potato was just about done roasting.
I’m dreaming of juicy, colorful, vibrantly alive food, as an inner rebellion to nature’s destructive manners. I know this weather is an essential phase of preparation for the sprouting that is coming, but I’m too impatient to wait for spring.
Never before have I been so in love with plants as I am now.
It’s turning me, with my inherently melancholic, autumnal nature, into one of those summer lovin’ spirits. A new sensation.
While waiting for the abundant seasons to arrive, I make do with the most vivacious winter produce I can find. And the occasional organic grapes, because #onsale.
Once a month or so I get intense cravings for warm grains coated in obscene amounts of green pesto. Not surprisingly, it often coincides with my period and hence a need to stock up on iron and other minerals found in leafy greens.
Parsley is especially rich in iron, so I thank my intuitive self for picking this particular herb for the massive batch of pesto I made for this recipe. Now I have the fridge full of comforting and green deliciousness to indulge in when my period arrives any day soon.
Since I discovered nutritional yeast flakes, I pretty much always make my pesto vegan. The flakes add a wonderful, almost a little sweet, cheesy flavor, that pairs perfectly with the lemon and herbs. Toasted almonds is a favorite of mine in any kind of pesto, and a new thing is that I save some of the chopped nuts to add in last, for extra crunchiness.
As the warm grains are concerned, I chose buckwheat this time. Farro, barley, kamut wheat or quinoa would all be amazing as well.
Due to the cold season and my personal need of extra calories, I added plenty of roasted sweet potato on top (brushed with a tamari soy dressing!) for ultimate comfort. And then of course the said grapes, for a fruity, fresh and crispy addition.
Sesame seeds and watercress is an optional, but totally delicious, Asian evoking addition.
To make it even more sustaining, feel free to add tofu or lentils or any other protein of choice.
Okay, now I think I’ve recited all the elements of this hearty dish. Let’s get to the recipe!
Notes: Although the list of ingredients and long instructions might overwhelm you, this is a fairly quick recipe to prepare as it allows for multitasking. Since it’s made up of several components, it might seem like a lot to prepare even though each component is very basic. So don’t let it’s seemingly complicated appearance stop you ;-)
Green Goddess Buckwheat Salad with Tamari Glazed Sweet Potato & Grapes
2/3 cup + 2 tbsp (2 dl) almonds
3 large handfuls of flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup (1,2 dl) olive oil + extra
1 lemon, juice + zest from 1/2
1 + 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
herbal salt, to taste
2 medium sized sweet potatoes
olive or rapseed oil
2 tbsp tamari soy
2 tbsp rice vinegar
a couple of good black pepper grinds
1 + 1/4 cup (ca 3 dl) buckwheat groats
about 1 + 1/2 litre water
watercress or any other leafy greens of choice
Heat oven to 175’C / 345’F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Spread out the almonds and toast in oven for about 10-12 minutes or until fragrant and slightly browned. Transfer to a bowl and leave the baking tray & paper for the potato.
Turn up the heat to 220’C / 430’F.
Peel and slice the potato. Spread out onto the baking tray and drizzle with oil and salt. Roast in oven for about 25-30 min or until soft.
While the potato is roasting, make the pesto & dressing. Add 2/3 of the almonds to a food processor. Give it a quick whizz just to chop up the nuts a bit. Add parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest and half of the olive oil. Mix for 5-10 seconds, stopping to scrape down along the sides if needed. Keep going until desired consistency.
Transfer the pesto to a bowl. Now add the rest of the almonds to the food processor and quickly mix to a very coarse flour. Add it to the bowl of pesto, along with the rest of the olive oil and nutritional yeast. Stir to combine and season to taste with salt.
In a small cup, combine tamari, rice vinegar and black pepper. Set aside.
Ps. The pesto & dressing can be prepared a day ahead :-)
Onto the grains! Heat up a sauce pan of water until it’s simmering. Add the buckwheat groats + salt and lower heat to medium. Make sure it doesn’t boil to heavily. Let simmer for about 8-9 min or until the groats are tender but with a slight bite. Transfer to a sieve and rinse thoroughly. Add it back to the (rinsed) sauce pan, along with the pesto + 1-2 tbsp extra olive oil and possibly herbal salt to taste. Stir to combine over low heat, allowing the buckwheat to heat up a little again.
Before serving, brush the sweet potato slices with the tamari dressing.
Transfer the buckwheat pesto mixture to a serving bowl and add the watercress and sliced grapes. Top with sweet potato slices and sesame seeds. Keep any leftover sweet potato & tamari dressing on the table for extra servings.
Eat! Nom nom nom.
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