Saturday, March 1, 2014

Toasted Buckwheat Lebanese Salad with Lamb Koftas

A couple of weeks ago I came home to the hubs making up lamb koftas-- Lebanese meatballs-- for dinner, which were delicious wrapped in naan bread with a homemade cucumber-yogurt tzatziki. Ever since I've been scheming about how I can pair them with a salad to bring in more plant-based goodness to the dish, and was delighted to run across this Middle Eastern Salad from nutritionist Danielle Levy's blog. This week we made the koftas again and served them over a similar toasted buckwheat salad, dressed with hummus, and the dish was perfect. The fresh, crunchy combination of salad and grains worked wonderfully with the lamb meatballs, and the hummus dressing brought everything together for a Lebanese-style feast.
ingredients for easy Toasted Buckwheat Lebanese Salad @ Southern Spoon Blog
grilled zucchini, toasted buckwheat, chickpeas, radishes, celery, and fresh parsley
This salad is packed with sources of plant-based protein from the buckwheat and chickpeas (Danielle also sprinkles hemp seeds on top for added protein and omega-3 fats, though we left these out because the local grocer doesn't carry them), and it could easily serve as a meal on its own with the hummus dressing. We'd worked in our three vegetarian dinners already this week (a new goal for 2014), so the lamb koftas as another protein hit took this salad into into the filled and totally satisfied category.
Toasted Buckwheat Lebanese Salad @ Southern Spoon Blog
salad ingredients mixed together for a crunchy, filling dish
If you have other fresh herbs on hand in addition to parsley, such as mint or basil, a chopped handful of those would also be welcome here. Keeping in mind our heart-healthy focus, we didn't add any salt to the salad components, relying on the hummus, lemon juice, and touch of balsamic to bring in a salty-tart profile. I felt that this really allowed the crisp and distinct flavors of the vegetables-- radish, celery, grilled zucchini, parsley-- to show through. But if you feel it needs a little something extra, toss the salad with a pinch of freshly ground sea salt.
Toasted Buckwheat Lebanese Salad @ Southern Spoon Blog
Lebanese-style salad ready to serve, hummus dressing not shown
Hope you enjoy this fresh and satisfying salad as spring begins to gradually poke its head up in the northern hemisphere, or file it away for warmer weather. Happy beginning of March to you!

Toasted Buckwheat Lebanese Salad
serves 4

1/2 cup dry toasted buckwheat*
2 zucchinis, thinly sliced lengthwise (1/8 - 1/4 inch slices)
4-5 radishes, thinly sliced
2 long celery stalks, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (no salt added)
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil (divided use)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
juice from half a lemon (zest the lemon half first if you're making the lamb koftas)
lamb koftas (optional, recipe below)

Hummus Dressing
1/2 cup hummus (homemade recipe here)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
splash (2 teaspoons) of balsamic vinegar
up to 2 teaspoons water

(*If your buckwheat is not toasted when you buy it, just rinse it with cold water in a fine mesh sieve, then toss it into a wide pan heated to medium heat and sprayed lightly with oil. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the buckwheat begins to turn golden brown and toasty. Remove from heat, and boil in a saucepan of water as detailed below.)

Rinse the buckwheat with water in a fine mesh sieve. Place buckwheat and 1 1/2 cups water into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cover. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, until buckwheat is tender. (Watch carefully towards the end to make sure the water doesn't evaporate too quickly and you burn the buckwheat!) Rinse the cooked buckwheat again through the fine mesh sieve with cold water to cool. Set aside.

Heat an outdoor grill or stovetop griddle to medium-high heat. Carefully coat the griddle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and arrange the zucchini slices on the griddle in a single layer. Cook for 4-6 minutes per side, until grill marks appear and zucchini is tender. Remove zucchini from grill and set aside.

In a large non-metal bowl, toss the radishes, celery, parsley, onion, garlic, chickpeas, and half of the grilled zucchini slices. Add the pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice, and carefully toss to coat the salad.

To make the hummus dressing: Mix all ingredients together, thinning out with a couple of teaspoons of water to achieve a slightly runny consistency.

To serve: Arrange the salad on a serving plate, and garnish with the remaining grilled zucchini slices, twisting them around the edge of the salad. (Alternatively, to save dirtying another plate, add the rest of the zucchini to the salad and serve in the salad bowl). Drizzle the hummus dressing evenly over the salad. If desired, top the salad with lamb koftas, and serve.
Toasted Buckwheat Lebanese Salad with Lamb Koftas @ Southern Spoon Blog
Toasted Buckwheat Lebanese Salad with Lamb Koftas
Lamb Koftas
serves 3-4

400g (14 oz) ground lean lamb (mince)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
lemon zest from half a lemon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes (or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley)
1 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
pinch of freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon flour (I used wholemeal wheat flour)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vegetable oil (I used rice brain oil)

In a large non-metal bowl, mix together the ground lamb and the next eight ingredients (through ground pepper). Sprinkle the flour over the mixture, add the egg, and mix thoroughly to combine.

Using clean hands, form the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls, packing the mixture together slightly so that it will stay together when it cooks. This should make 9-10 meatballs.

Heat a wide skillet over medium heat, and coat the skillet with the oil. Add the meatballs to the skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the bottoms are browned, then turn over and cook for another 4-5 minutes. At this point, begin turning the meatballs over on all of the sides that are not browned, cooking for a few minutes on each side, until the meatballs are browned all over and cooked through. Cut a meatball in half to to make sure they are done.

Remove the lamb koftas from the heat, and serve atop Toasted Buckwheat Lebanese salad as above. Alternatively, serve the koftas in pita bread halves or wrapped in naan bread with sliced cucumbers, sliced red onions, and plain yogurt or hummus. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

love hearing from fellow bloggers, readers, cooks: leave a message