Buckwheat Sweet Potato Arugula Salad
Sweet potatoes are great for your digestive system!
In my mind, the best salads have 5 components: fresh greens, something chewy and substantial, something sweet, something tangy, and something unexpected. This Buckwheat Sweet Potato Arugula Salad has got ’em all!
When I lived in the suburbs for many years, I would go to the supermarket and stock up for the week. I was always a pretty good planner and I would have some idea of what I would need for the whole week and I would make a list and go buy those very things. That kind of planning was a necessity then. I mean, I had kids, a full-time stressful job, a long commute… it was the only way to get it done.
Oh, how things have changed. Now, I live in the very city I used to spend hours commuting to. I have a small kitchen, and, my kids are out of the house. Now, when I go to the market, I like to buy just what I feel like cooking and eating in that moment. Well, plus whatever unnecessary items catch my eye… This feels like such a luxury to me and I love it!
I very rarely crave salad for dinner. I just don’t think most salads are satisfying enough to be a good dinner. But, one day last week, I was craving salad. But I knew that I wanted some of it to be warm. My fav salad of all times is from an Italian restaurant that puts steaming hot veggies on top of ice cold greens… that’s what I wanted. But, I also wanted it to be vegan and to be filling at the same time. Oh, and I didn’t feel like eating too many beans. Wow, I can really be difficult at times…
Let me tell you, rather immodestly at that, that this salad is incredible. It hit all it’s marks. The buckwheat is chewy. The sweet potatoes are warm and sweet. The tempeh tastes like unexpected little pieces of smoky bacon. The spinach and arugula are refreshing. The cherries are tart. The dressing is tangy. The pecans are crunchy. Okay, enough praises. But you’ve got to make this!
And, if you are looking for another great salad, try my recipe for Paleo Vegan Caesar Salad.
Here are some great reasons to make this buckwheat sweet potato arugula salad:
Sweet potatoes are good for your digestive system. They can be good for both constipation and diarrhea. These orange gems also help rid your body of excess water, are good for breast health, help people with diabetes and actually can help ease night blindness. In olden times, it was common in China to rub mashed sweet potatoes on poison insect bites to remove the toxins. I haven’t tried this, but if you see me looking a tad orange, this will be why…
Buckwheat is a seed, not a grain. It is great to eat if you have diarrhea. It also helps lower blood pressure, stops some types of sweating, and has a good amount of vitamin E, and has antioxidants that can help fight cancer and heart disease.
Arugula has a good amount of calcium and it also contains vitamins A, C and K. It is rich in potassium and it’s extra beneficial in the summer because it actually cools the body down. This delicious peppery green is also believed to be a libido booster. One of the first things I learned when I started really taking care of my health through proper nutrition, was to substitute dark greens for lighter greens whenever possible. One of the easiest, tastiest, and healthiest switches you can make is to swap out some of your lighter salad greens for peppery, dark arugula.
It is true that spinach contains iron, but it’s this vegetable’s lesser-known qualities that really hold my admiration. Spinach contains a substance that helps eliminate prostate cancer. It’s also great for your bones and also for memory loss. Diabetic patients may find that eating spinach helps combat excessive thirst and can even be good for night blindness. Spinach can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium, so calcium-rich foods should be avoided when eating this leafy green.
In Asian medicine, nuts are known to be good for your brain, heart, skin and reproductive system. Almonds are particularly nutritious. They are a good source of protein and they give you energy. And, they are gluten-free. Almonds will help relieve a cough and asthma and are also good for constipation. Pecans are good for energy and they can also help you get rid of a cough. They are also good to help combat constipation, lower back pain, low libido, and erectile dysfunction.
Cherries are one of the best foods to combat many types of arthritis and joint pain. Also, because cherries help improve circulation, they can be helpful for post-stroke patients. In Chinese medicine, we also believe that cherries help to maintain the body’s “essence” or life-force. I always keep a bottle of organic black cherry juice in the fridge and I often drink a few ounces before bedtime or put a little in my smoothies. I also keep bags of frozen cherries in the freezer. And when fresh cherries are in season, you can always find a big bowl in my kitchen. This recipe uses tart dried cherries — I love them and use them as a substitute for raisins in many recipes.
- 1 cup raw buckwheat, cooked according to package directions, then drained and rinsed with cold water (you should end up with about 2 cups of cooked buckwheat), and then immediately tossed with 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium sweet potato (I used a purple one), washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 Tbs coconut oil, melted
- sea salt and black pepper
- 1-1/2 cups fresh arugula, chopped
- 1-1/2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
- ⅓ cup pecans, chopped
- 2 Tbs dried tart cherries
- 3 oz Facon Bacon tempeh, cut into pieces (or substitute another cooked flavor of tempeh or whatever other meat substitute you like)
- For the dressing:
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp coconut sugar
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread the sweet potatoes onto the sheet and toss them with the coconut oil and some salt and pepper.
- Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are done.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking all of the ingredients together. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the buckwheat, pecans, arugula, spinach, Facon Bacon, and cherries.
- Gently stir in the cooked sweet potatoes.
- Add as much dressing as you like and gently toss.