I have a confession to make. I'm not a huge fan of papaya (or pawpaw) on its own, but I am aware of its ridiculously impressive list of nutrients and health benefits, so every now and then I try to find ways to slip it into salads. I'm so glad I do, because I'm reminded every time that combined with other equally healthy ingredients, papaya is about as delicious as it can get.
It may seem like I've gone all out with this dish, but really this vitamin boost salad is no effort to prepare and you may even cut the corners and use canned chickpeas if you like, just don't tell me about it. I feel that the humble buckwheat is a bit underrated at times, especially when it's trying to compete with all the exotic guys like quinoa and amaranth. In this dish, however, buckwheat is definitely the way to go.
Feel free to get creative with herbs and spices - fresh herbs would of course be fantastic, but I've opted for dried mint and a healthy pinch of sumac. Instead of walnuts, try sesame seeds (white or black), pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds. They would all be equally tasty.
Vitamin Boost Salad
200g cooked chickpeas
200g raw buckwheat
1 medium sized papaya
1 green onion
a pinch of sumac
a pinch of dried mint (or a small handful of fresh!)
a good quality salt and black pepper, to taste
baby spinach or kale, to serve
1. Cook buckwheat in boiling water for about 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain and rise with cold water to stop cooking.
2. Peel and chop papaya into bite sized pieces. Cut the avocado into cubes and finely chop the green onion. Combine chickpeas, buckwheat, papaya, avocado and green onion in a large bowl.
3. Add arils of one pomegranate. Season the salad with sumac, mint, juice of one lime, salt and pepper. Toast walnuts on a dry pan and toss them in as well. Serve the salad with some baby spinach or kale.