I don't personally eat a gluten-free diet for my arthritis as I've not noticed any relationship between eating gluten and flares but I know that many of you do (you can read more about the pros and cons of going gluten-free here) so I've been experimenting with different grains recently. Whilst I've happily tucked into millet, amaranth, quinoa and even teff over the last few years, until I made this salad I had never cooked buckwheat (or sarasin).
Buckwheat is a bit of a misnomer because it isn't actually a relation of wheat family at all - buckwheat is a seed belonging to the rhubarb family. It has a lovely earthy, slightly sweet taste and is easy to make into pilafs, porridge or risottos. You can also make lovely Breton style crepes, bread or blinis with the flour.
Buckwheat is a rich source of the phytochemical ruin which has been shown to help strengthen blood vessels and potentially help circulation. There have been a few rat (!) studies which have shown that rutin helped decrease inflammation in animals with rheumatoid arthritis but these findings haven't been replicated in humans.
Try this salad cold the next day as a tasty lunchbox meal or top it with crispy baked cannellini or butter beans for a filling meal.
500g chopped butternut squash (I used pre-cut frozen squash)
2 medium red onions
4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
100g buckwheat groats
250ml vegetable stock
A couple of handfuls of baby kale or rocket (arugula)
Fresh or dried sage, oregano and basil
Peel the onions and cut them into quarters. Place in a roasting tray with the squash and whole garlic cloves. Drizzle the oil over everything and stir to ensure everything is evenly coated. Pop in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the squash is golden and the onion soft.
Set to one side to cool.
Rinse the buckwheat and put in a saucepan with the stock. Bring up to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes until the buckwheat is soft and most of the fluid has been absorbed. Drain off any excess water.
Put the cooked buckwheat in a serving dish and top with the butternut squash and onions. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and add along with the herbs and balsamic vinegar to taste. Give everything a quick toss and then garnish with the baby kale.