Every so often I create a dish that kinda reminds me why I became a chef in the first place: I love the challenge of combining texture, taste and color while incorporating flavor profiles from different cultures and origins. When a dish comes together organically and in perfect harmony from prep to plate, I am overwhelmingly satisfied – I did my job. And thatsss what happened with this kid.
I’m always on the hunt for a side dish that could also sub in as a stellar vegan/veg main if need be. But like, how many times can a plant-based bunny pretend to be excited for a sad plate of second-thought pasta or plain grilled veggies? Womp. This dish was conceived in a few ways: one, because I dig carrots. Big time. I mean, I could seriously only eat carrots forever. What isn’t to like? They’re delicious raw, cooked, pureed, stewed, as a juice, in a cake (sad. I miss cake)… I could go on. The little roots are rich in beta carotene which the human body converts into Vitamin A which makes your skin so bright and your vision so right (yea. I know. I’m so not a poet). They’re also rich in Vitamin C, maganese, copper, B vitamins and help reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, assist in maintaining digestive health and the best part is, they’re relatively in season year round.
So the second way this dish came about was because I’m obsessed with miso and tahini. Preferably together. I combine the two almost daily to be used as a dressing or a sauce to ANYTHING and everything: I toss with raw veggies for a quick slaw thang, slather over tofu or tempeh, I even rub over fresh grilled corn (so good!). I ALWAYS have this spread on hand. I usually make on the thicker side and thin out as needed with a bit of filtered water. So tahini is ground sesame seeds. That’s it. But are you truly familiar with miso? Miso is a Japanese fermented food, usually made with soy beans, but can also come in brown rice, barley, and chickpea varieties (I am a MASSIVE fan of chickpea miso). The health value to miso is outstanding. It is uniquely dense in nutrients due to the fermentation process it undergoes and contains live enzymes which are oh so good for your tummy! Although it is considered a high-sodium food, you really don’t consume a ton in one sitting and it generally takes the place of salt in a dish.
This dish is garnished with buckwheat groats which may seem entirely unnecessary but is my answer to toasted breadcrumbs. Buckwheat is actually not related to wheat at all, which makes it totally suitable for those of you on a gluten free diet. Raw buckwheat groats are these tiny, pyramid shaped grain like seeds. I generally treat them just as I would any grain or seed and soak them in order to remove the natural occurring phytic acid (see link) that binds to certain grains/seeds. However, since we want these little guys crunchy, going ahead and toasting them does a decent job of removing the phytic acid. Buckwheat groats are extremely mineral rich and high in B vitamins and can be cooked to replace oats or rice in nearly any application.
FINALLLLY… lets talk dukkah. I know… Robbi, say wha?! Dukkah is an Egyptian spice blend that is becoming increasingly more popular in restaurants and show off kitchens (like mine!). ha. It is hands-down my favorite spice blend made from nuts and seeds and it elevates any plain old dish to out of this world status (Hi. Avocado Toast with Dukkah. Thanks). I generally mix up the ingredients to suit my pantry availability. This time I used almonds, but often I use pistachios, hazelnuts or cashews. I make this in batches and use on so many things. It will be your new fav. Promise.
K. So I’m done talking now. I’m going to go eat a carrot. Not kidding. I just pulled some up from my garden and they’re staring at me from across the room (those sassy little curly haired cuties).
Enjoy this recipe as a main or a super amazing side/salad thing. I promise you will love.
- 1/4 cup raw buckwheat groats
- 2 pounds of carrots
- 1 teaspoon heat tolerant oil (like grape seed or safflower)
- For the Dukkah -
- 2 tbsp chopped and toasted raw organic almonds
- 1 tbsp raw sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons cumin seed
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- For the Tahini Miso Spread-
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons tahini paste
- 1 tablespoon white or yellow miso paste
- 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup or maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 1 tsp liquid amino (or tamari/soy sauce)
- 4 -5 tablespoons of filtered water (to thin out sauce)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped mixed herbs (I used carrot leaves, cilantro, parsley)
- To toast the buckwheat groats -
- Over medium heat, add the groats to a dry pan and toast until golden brown.
- About 4 minutes. Watch!
- Remove and set aside.
- Will keep in the fridge for a week.
- To Make the Dukkah Spice -
- Combine all ingredients to a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder and mix until ground but with a bit of texture still. You want to be able to differentiate each component.
- Will keep tightly sealed in a jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.
- Preheat oven to 425'.
- Toss with oil and salt/pepper (use salt sparingly as both the dukkah and spread will be salty).
- Roast until just fork tender - about 15-20 mins.
- For the tahini miso dressing -
- Combine all ingredients except the water in a bowl and whisk.
- Add the water one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
- Taste for seasoning, adding more amino/tamari/soy if needed.
- This dressing/sauce can be used as a dressing over salad or tossed with soba noodles! It is fantastic as a dip and will keep for one week in the fridge.
- For the mixed herbs -
- Combine in a bowl and set aside.
- To Assemble -
- Spread a generous amount of the tahini paste on each plate.
- Layer the desired portion of carrots on top.
- Sprinkle with a generous amount of buckwheat groats and finish with mixed herbs and dukkah seasoning to taste.
- Serve at room temp.
- Each of the components to this salad can be made in advance and can and should be used in other applications as you will have leftovers.