We've been enjoying some beautiful Autumn sunshine here in Ely, which was been a blessing as it has been half term break this week. So we've been out and about making the most of the good weather, and tomorrow we are off pumpkin picking. This morning Abigail and I popped into our local farm shop. We've been living in Ely for four years next month and I've passed this farm shop too many times, always thinking we need to pop in. So today we made the trip to the farm shop. You know veg is fresh when the dirt on the roots is still wet. I could have bought so much but ended up with a beautiful bunch of carrots, some sprouts and a bag full of bits and bobs. The carrots I turned into this roasted carrots with buckwheat and spinach, a lovely warm autumnal salad.
It's that time of year isn't it, when your salad needs a little warmth to it, a little more substance. This salad of roasted carrots with buckwheat and spinach has all of that and more! The carrots are roasted in maple syrup and thyme, they are sweet and still have some bite to them, and are best served warm on your salad. I chose buckwheat for this salad, however you could substitute the buckwheat for couscous or quinoa if your prefer. I toast the buckwheat in a hot skillet before I cook it, you get a nice earthy flavour to it when you toast it. And that earthiness is perfect with the sweetness of the roasted carrots. I added some lovely chopped hazelnuts for some extra crunch, some red onions for some zing and a small amount of dried cranberries for extra measure.
There are a lot of strong flavours in this salad so baby spinach is just the right leaf to use for this salad. You could change that up if you want but I wouldn't go for anything stronger. I serve this with an orange and wholegrain mustard dressing, the orange in the dressing cuts through the sweetness of the maple roasted carrots and the mustard is just tart enough to balance the earthy buckwheat. I serve my dressing separately but if you prefer you can add it to the dish and toss gently. Sprinkle a scant teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves on the finished product and you have a lovely autumnal salad.
You need to serve this salad immediately as you want the carrots to be warm when you serve them. I have eaten this cold and it is totally acceptable cold but it is slightly better warm. This salad is naturally vegan and gluten free. I serve it as a main dish but it works well as a side dish too. It also works very well with grilled chicken or fish.
Roasted Carrots with Buckwheat & Spinach
- 80 g (½ a cup) of raw buckwheat rinsed
- 1 level tsp vegan & gf vegetable boullion
- 500 g (1 average bunch) of carrots, scrubbed and leaves removed large carrots cut in half lengthways
- 2 or 3 stems of thyme plus more for serving
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs maple syrup
- ¼ tsp each sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 100 g (just under ½ a cup) of baby spinach
- 1 small red onion cut in half and sliced
- 30 g (just under ¼ cup) hazelnuts roughly chopped
- 1 tbs dried cranberries (optional)
For the orange mustard dressing
- 50 ml (just under ¼ cup) of extra virgin olive oil
- 40 ml of fresh orange juice, the juice of half an orange
- 1 tbs wholegrain mustard
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C, 392F. I use a fan assisted, electric oven, please adjust according to your own oven.
- Place the carrots on a baking tray then drizzle over the olive oil and maple syrup. Add the thyme sprigs, plucking a good few leaves to sprinkle over the carrots. Add the sea salt and pepper then give everything a good toss and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until the carrots are cooked through. Give the tray a shake halfway through cooking.
- Thoroughly rinse the buckwheat then cook according to the packet. I toast my buckwheat first in a hot skillet but that's optional. When the buckwheat is cooked leave to cool. Fluff it up with a fork when you are ready to add it to the salad.
- Add the cranberries to a small bowl, cover with just boiled water then leave to plump up. Drain when ready to add them to the salad.
- Add the spinach, red onion, cranberries and buckwheat to a large serving dish. Top with the roasted carrots and the chopped hazelnuts. If you are serving the salad straight away then add the dressing to the salad. If not serve with the dressing on the side. I always prefer to add my own dressing.
To make the orange and mustard dressing
- Whisk all the dressing ingredients together then leave in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
- Calories are approximate and are for the salad only, they do not include the dressing. I use a metric scale to weigh all ingredients so cup sizes are also approximate.
- Don't like buckwheat? Try quinoa or couscous.
- Tray adding some creamy goat's cheese for a veggie option.
More Satisfying Salads:
- Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage & Walnuts
- Halloumi Salad with Butternut Squash & Quinoa
- Roast Cauliflower Salad with Kale
- A Winter Salad of Kalettes and Stilton
- Kale and Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes
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