For those keeping score. Rob = Polish. Me = Ukrainian and German.
As a bonus, both sets of our parents will be coming to Toronto to check out the festivals. I mean, they are coming to see us.
How will we manage? Which one to attend? They are reasonably close to each other, so we’ll likely hit up both festivals. The question is who will win the pierogi contest? OK, forget pierogi, I am more interested in kasha these days.
Nothing says more Eastern European than beets and dill, especially with kasha!
Kasha is buckwheat that has been hulled and roasted. As such, it is a darker brown than raw buckwheat. Kasha can be tricky to cook as it can absorb lots of water and turn into mush. Here, I opted to toast it in the oven first, and then cooked it in a 1:2 ratio with water. While the kernels still seemed to explode slightly, they reminded me of coarse bulgur in this salad.
Kasha has a slightly nuttier, stronger flavour but pairs well with beets and dill. I combined some garden-fresh green beans and roasted beets with a lemony dill vinaigrette for a bright early fall salad. Or late summer salad?
Kasha Salad with Roasted Beets and Green Beans in a Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette
Adapted from Rebar
5-6 small beets (~2 cups), peeled (alternatively peel them after roasting)
1 cup kasha (toasted buckwheat)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt, divided
2 tbsp sunflower seeds, toasted
1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
zest and juice from 1 lemon (I got 2 tbsp from this sorry lemon)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2-3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp flax oil or oil of choice
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. For the roasted beets, preheat the oven to 425F. Peel and slice/chop the beets into medium-bite-sized pieces, but put all the pieces back together again. Wrap in tinfoil and roast for at least an hour. Roasting times will depend on the size of your beets. They are ready when they are easily pierced with a fork. Be careful when handling the hot beets, because they can easily leak. Set aside to cool.
2. While the beets are roasting, place kasha on a cookie sheet and toast in oven for 5 minutes until toasted and slightly aromatic. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Now, place sunflower seeds on the cookie sheet, and toast for 5 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
3. Fill a medium saucepan of water with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and blanch the green beans for 2 minutes. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and rinse under cool water. Set aside until needed.
4. After the green beans have been removed, add the kasha along with the bay leaves and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, but keep covered for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool.
5. Meanwhile, prepare your dressing, combining lemon zest, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, dill, mustard, oil, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper.
6. Gently toss the roasted beets, blanched green beans, cooked kasha together. Drizzle with dressing just prior to serving and top with toasted sunflower seeds.
Note: If you are making a salad in a jar, I found the beets absorbed most of the dressing, so I recommend layering the green beans first, then the beets. I also added lettuce before I topped it with the kasha and sunflower seeds.