Experience the perfect summer salad with cooked buckwheat, oven-roasted Mediterranean vegetables, and a vibrant sun-dried tomato dressing that enhances the flavors beautifully, whether served hot or cold.
This vegan buckwheat salad is perfect for meal prep as you can make all the components ahead of time. Simply assemble them before serving or prepare your lunch box in the morning. It also makes a great side dish for summer grilling parties (tap for more vegan grilling recipes).
What is buckwheat?
Buckwheat is a flowering plant with grain-like seeds that looks quite similar to pearl barley and that is related to rhubarb. Unlike the name suggests, it is not related to wheat and is suitable for gluten-free diets. It's considered a pseudo-grain due to its high-starch content and because it's cooked similarly to cereals.
The hulled seed (also known as buckwheat groat) has an earthy, slightly nutty flavor. It can be cooked or eaten raw in salads (such as this Mediterranean buckwheat salad recipe). Buckwheat flour is also commonly used in gluten-free cooking to make bread, buckwheat galettes, and desserts.
Nutrition-wise, buckwheat groats mainly consist of complex carbs that don't make your blood sugar levels spike. They contain a great amount of fiber and 13 grams of protein/100 g (USDA).
Key ingredients and substitutions
- Buckwheat groats are the main ingredient of this healthy salad.
- Mediterranean vegetables, including zucchini, eggplant, and cherry tomatoes are my top choice but feel free to add red bell peppers to the mix. I also recommend (leftover) grilled veggies during BBQ season.
- Arugula is a great way to add in some greens. You can substitute it with baby spinach or a fresh spring mix.
- Sun-dried tomatoes are the base of the dressing and really bring this salad to the next level. They are slightly sweet and work perfectly with the other ingredients.
- Extra virgin olive oil is essential for a great dressing. However, you could also use half olive oil and half oil from the sun-dried tomatoes (it's usually a lower quality oil but it's often infused with herbs and garlic).
- Red wine vinegar adds tanginess to the dressing. You can substitute it with balsamic vinegar.
- Fresh herbs, such as fresh basil, thyme, and oregano really elevate a salad.
Optional add-ins: spring onion slices or red onions, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, (vegan) feta cheese, or crispy tofu.
How to cook buckwheat?
STEP 1: Rinse the buckwheat in a fine-mesh sieve to get rid of dust and debris.
STEP 2: Add the raw buckwheat to a small saucepan with water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat until most of the water has been absorbed (see notes below).
- Use a 2:1 water-to-buckwheat ratio. If using 1 cup of buckwheat, you want to cook it in 2 cups of water.
- Add a pinch of salt for extra flavor.
- TOP TIP: to prevent the buckwheat from being overcooked, remove it from the heat once most of the water has been absorbed. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let it steam for another 10 minutes.
- Fluff the buckwheat with a fork once completely cooked/steamed. This prevents the cooked groats from sticking to each other.
Step-by-step instructions (with photos)
STEP 1: Wash and cut the veggies. Cut the eggplant and zucchini lengthwise in quarters and then into 0.5 inch-slices (1,3 cm). Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
STEP 2: Place them on a baking sheet that you lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil (or your preferred cooking oil) and sprinkle with sea salt.
STEP 3: Roast the vegetables in a preheated oven for 25 minutes. Let them cool (or at least come to room temperature) if you want to enjoy a cold salad.
STEP 4: Make the dressing. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, water, sundried tomatoes, maple syrup, and spices to a small blender. Blitz until perfectly smooth. The consistency really depends on the sundried tomatoes you use, so add more water if needed.
STEP 5: Assemble the salad. Add the arugula to a large bowl. Next, add in the remaining ingredients (warm or cooled buckwheat and roasted vegetables).
STEP 6: Toss with the dressing. I really recommend tossing all the ingredients with half the dressing to make sure everything is well-coated. Then, transfer to individual plates, top with more dressing, and garnish with fresh basil.
Meal prep and storage tips
Cook the buckwheat, roast the veggies, and make the dressing on your meal-prepping day and store everything separately. That way, you only have to assemble everything before serving.
You can store it in an airtight container for 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
Cooked zucchini, eggplants, and tomatoes will last 4-5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
You can keep it in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks in the fridge. Note that the olive oil may solidify, which is totally normal. Simply let the dressing sit on the counter for 10 minutes and give it a good shake prior to serving.
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- 1 ⅓ cups (250 g) buckwheat groats
- 2 large zucchini
- 1 eggplant
- 20 ounces (560 g) cherry tomatoes
- 5 ounces (150 g) arugula
- 2 tablespoons olive oil sub avocado oil
- 1 pinch of salt
- Fresh basil leaves
For the sun-dried tomato dressing
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes halves preserved in oil
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar sub balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup (120 ml) water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup sub agave syrup
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 pinch of salt and pepper
- Buckwheat: Rinse the buckwheat in a fine-mesh sieve under cold water. I add it to a saucepan with double the water volume of water and bring it to a boil. Then, reduce to medium-low heat and cook until most of the water has been absorbed. Finally, remove it from the heat and cover with a lid. Let it steam for another 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Veggies: Wash the veggies. Cut the zucchini and eggplant lengthwise in quarters then into 0.5 inch (1,3 cm) thick slices. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and add a generous pinch of salt. Massage with your hands. Roast for 25 minutes at 400°F (200°C).
- Dressing: Add the sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, red wine vinegar, water, maple syrup, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to a small blender. Blend until perfectly smooth.
- Assembly: Optionally let the buckwheat and roasted veggies cool down. Add them to a large salad bowl with the arugula. Toss with half of the dressing. Transfer to individual plates and top with more dressing and fresh basil.
- Meal-prepping: cook the buckwheat, roast the veggies, and make the dressing on your meal-prepping day. That way, you only have to assemble everything before serving.
- Storage tips:
- You can store cooked buckwheat in an airtight container for 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
- Roasted veggies will usually last 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
- You can keep the dressing in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks in the fridge. Note that the olive oil will solidify but that doesn't affect the flavor or texture. Simply let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes prior to serving.
- You can eat this salad warm or cold.
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