Salads

Mediterranean Buckwheat Salad

This Mediterranean buckwheat salad (also known as chickpea buckwheat tabbouleh) is loaded with the flavors famous in that region: mint, feta, garlic, chickpeas, and olive oil. Combine it with lots of veggies, and you have yourself a pretty balanced meal that’s also a popular potluck contribution.

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All the goodness of buckwheat

Inspired by the traditional tabbouleh dish, this recipe uses buckwheat instead of bulgur wheat, making it gluten free as well as full of protein, fiber, and other health benefits. Buckwheat is also a cinch to cook with the same water-to-grain ratio as rice (2:1). Just cook it uncovered the first 10 minutes for ultimate fluffiness. I fortunately have access to the bulk wonders of Berkeley Bowl, but, to make this Mediterranean buckwheat salad, I recommend picking some up from Amazon if you can’t find it in the supermarket where you live.

Food counter sign in Paris that reads buckwheat crepes in French, followed by gluten-free and Take Away
A sign announcing the supposed unattainable buckwheat gluten-free crepes in Paris

I discovered buckwheat only in the past two years. Not only do my French in-laws have Russian roots, but I also somehow managed to get gluten-free crepes the last time I was in Paris made from, you guessed it, buckwheat flour. I swear, the husb and I were looking for traditional crepes. We were placing our order when I said to Ivan, “what does ‘xxxxx’ mean? Doesn’t it mean ‘buckwheat’?” Don’t ask me how I knew this; I think I had seen it in his mother’s cupboard or something. So, I felt okay about my pizza for dinner later and the beer I had at the café across from the then-still-intact Notre Dame Cathedral.

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Veggies and fruit in Mediterranean buckwheat salad

With this recipe, you’re also gonna get a big fat dose of healthy veggies: kale, cucumber, red cabbage, parsley, green onions, and celery. At the same time this recipe ensures you get half a plate of veggies, you’ll also find a surprise fruit inside: the mighty mango.

Mango is one of my favorite fruits, and I still remember the fresh juicy perfection I picked up at a farmers market in Peru several years back. These days, I always have a big old frozen bag of it from Costco in the freezer because it’s much easier just to have it at the ready. It thaws well and can be added to fruit salad or dropped in ice water for a refreshing summer beverage. Pulverize it with coconut milk for a two-ingredient ice “cream,” or, ahem, chop it up for Mediterranean buckwheat salad!

Mango halves on plates with cubes sliced across the surface
Image by liwanchun from Pixabay

This recipe is all about the freshness, so I don’t recommend using dried herbs. That fresh pop of mint and parsley really gives it that Mediterranean flavor. Lemon zest and green onions provide the final zing.

Chickpeas for some more protein

I use chickpeas in this recipe, but black beans also taste great. The legumes give it a meaty texture while staying vegetarian. You could also try rotisserie chicken, though. If you’ve been following me lately, you know I’ve been doing a lot of recipes with chickpeas, and I am not ashamed of that!

This versatile legume has stolen my heart—check out my roasted chickpea bowl recipe for more such inspiration. Toasted in the oven with paprika and cumin and they are to die for—perhaps I can convert my mom with these ones? I promise they don’t taste like dried farts as she has determined.

I hope you enjoy my favorite salad recipe. This thing gets a lot of mileage in my household, and I hope it has the same result for yours.


Meal prep options

buckwheat

Just a note

Great for potlucks!

Make this …

Vegetarian: It already is!
Paleo: Use riced cauliflower instead of buckwheat.
Gluten-free: It already is!
Non-dairy: Leave out the feta.

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Shopping list

Produce

1 mango
1 cucumber
celery
red cabbage
kale
parsley
mint
1 lemon
green onions
garlic

Dairy

feta

Grains

buckwheat groats

Canned goods

1 can chickpeas

Oils and spices

olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Tools

small lidded pot
cutting board
kitchen knife
colander
zester
large mixing bowl
wooden spoon


Mediterranean Buckwheat Salad

Serves: 4
Total time: 45 minutes

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients and preparation

2 cups water
1 cup buckwheat groats: Follow step 1 of the instructions below before continuing with the rest of prep
1 small firm mango: Peel and chop
1 cucumber: Chop
2 stalks celery: Chop
1 cup red cabbage: Chop
2 large kale leaves: Cut out ribs and chop
1 can chickpeas: Rinse and drain
1/2 cup fresh parsley: Finely chop
1/2 cup fresh mint: Finely chop
1 lemon: Zest and juice
4 green onions: Finely chop
2 garlic cloves: Mince
1 tbsp olive oil (or more to taste)
1/4 cup feta
1 tbsp kosher salt
black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil the water over medium-high heat. Add the buckwheat, and simmer for 10 minutes uncovered. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook until all the water is absorbed (about 10 minutes). Remove the pot from the heat, transfer the buckwheat to a heat-proof bowl, fluff it with a fork, and let it cool in the fridge.
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl, stir in the cooled buckwheat, and serve.