What’s this? Another potluck? Well don’t mind if I do.
If you don’t happen to be one of the many many bloggers taking part (because hot damn there sure are a lot of ya’ll) and happen to be stumbling across this post from somewhere in internet land, welcome to the Virtual Vegan Potluck! Take your coat off and stay a while. There are a ridiculous amount of recipes for you to check out so I hope you’ve got some free time. Seriously, I took a look through all the bloggers taking part and was all “Whoa!” Joey Lawrence style….and yes, I totally realize that reference dates me.
I had so much fun at the last potluck with my Sausage Rolls with a Trio of Dipping Sauces that I decided to give round two a go! Unlike those puff pastry wrapped sexy beasts I made last time, this go around I’m going a more healthy route and I’m bringing salad to the table. I know right, salad? What the what? I bet all you regular readers were thinking I was going to bake up another pumpkin-filled sugar-laden treat, but nope, just when you think you’ve got me all figured out, I like to throw a curve ball and I’m all BAM, salad!
Usually when I’m asked to bring something to a potluck, it takes me forever to think of what to make. I spend way too much time hemming, hawing, falling into the black hole of Pinterest trying to come up with something I think everyone will like. “Hmm, that sounds ok, but it’s a little boring.”, then “Ooo, I like that but it won’t last at room temp”, or “didn’t I make that one last time?”, yes, I also apparently talk to myself a little too much as well. But this time I barely even had to think about it, the second the word potluck came up I knew what I was making.
I made this salad at my last company Christmas potluck and even though I few people were eyeing it up with a kind of scrutiny only a vegan dish at a non-vegan potluck could get, once they dug in I knew they were hooked. Hearty chewy grains, tangy citrus dressing with plump juicy figs, what’s not to like? Plus there’s tender chunks of sweet potato and I lurve me some sweet potato. Being as my salad adverse co-workers were chowing down on the only thing on the table with any greens in it, I’ll take that as a success, it also doesn’t hurt that I got numerous requests for the recipe after Vegan win!
I originally made this using barley but since I wanted all my gluten-free friends to be able to eat it too I switched the grain to buckwheat, which worked perfectly by the way. You can of course, use any hearty grain you happen to have on hand, so if barley is more your style, have at it. This is the type of salad that’s great at room temp, and is also just as good straight out of the fridge when you don’t want to get a plate dirty so you eat it right out of the container. I can’t be the only one who’s stood in front of the fridge shoveling leftover salad into my mouth, right?….right?
You can mix the arugula in with the other ingredients or if you’re feeling fancy, you can portion it out on plates and serve the grain salad over it. Just keep in mind that the arugula will wilt, so if you plan on bringing it to a potluck, pack it separately and mix it in just before serving so that it’s at its freshest.
- 1 cup buckwheat
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 lbs sweet potato, cut into 1/4 –inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons oil
- Salt & pepper
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 cup dried figs, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
- 3/4 cup (2-3 stalks) celery, diced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Zest from 1 large lemon
- 1 cup roasted almonds or pistachios, roughly chopped
- 3 sprigs of green onion, diced
- Handful fresh parsley , finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss the sweet potato with oil, salt and pepper. Evenly spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool.
- Place buckwheat in a medium saucepan; add the water and bring to a boil. Cover and turn down to a simmer, let cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the buckwheat is tender and the water is absorbed. Strain and run under cold water. Set aside.
- Whisk the rice vinegar, orange juice, and maple syrup together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the chopped figs. Turn off the heat and let the fruit steep in the juice and vinegar mixture.
- In a large bowl, add the red onion and celery.When the buckwheat is cooked and drained, pour it into the large bowl. Along with the sweet potato Toss with the olive oil and lemon zest. Add the vinegar and juice mixture and all the figs, and mix. Toss with the almonds, green onion, chopped parsley, and salt. Add pepper to taste.
- Let the salad stand at room temperature for at least one hour before serving, to allow the flavors mix and soak into the grain. Just before serving, mix in a few handfuls of arugula. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature. The salad can also be refrigerated for up to three days.
Just getting started on the potluck? Don’t forget to head back to the beginning at Vegan Bloggers Unit and spend the next four days working your way through all the blogs! Just kidding….it’s more like three days 😉 Just below you can find links to Made of Stars and 86 Lemons. Once again, I’d like to give a big ol’ shout out and thank you to Annie and all her helpers for organizing the potluck! I can’t comprehend the sweat, tears and tofu that go into to making this whole gig work. I heart you guys like I heart peanut butter, and that’s saying something