Strawberry Salad with Buckwheat and Hemp Seed Pesto Dressing

The 4th of July has come and gone and we're now in the thick of summer. And though the season is technically just beginning, strawberry season is on its way out. It doesn't seem fair, but I'm doing my best to make the most of it. This Strawberry Salad with Buckwheat and Pesto Dressing is the perfect way to bid our favorite summer fruit adieu. For now.

 Strawberry Salad with Buckwheat and Pesto Dressing | Vegan and gluten-free. | Loveleaf Co. 

Too late for local strawberries? Don't worry, this salad works with other fruit too. Ripe melon and peaches would be particularly delicious because they pair well with the basil in the pesto dressing. Speaking of pesto dressing. I put it on everything in the summer, from grilled veggies to chicken. Using my favorite vegan Hemp Seed Pesto as a base, this pesto dressing is super easy to make and happens to be really good for you, high in omega-3s and fiber.

Looking to save time? Use store bought pesto. Mix a couple spoonfuls with yogurt (dairy-free if needed), mustard, and apple cider vinegar and voilà: pesto dressing for everything in sight. It almost makes up for the fact that strawberries are on their way out. Almost. Sniff.


*A note about buckwheat. This strawberry salad calls for buckwheat groats, which are the hulled seeds of the buckwheat plant. Although “wheat” is in the name, buckwheat groats are actually gluten-free and are rather soft and mild tasting when cooks. Great substitutes here would be farro or wheatberries if gluten isn't a concern.

 Strawberry Salad with Buckwheat and Pesto Dressing | Vegan and gluten-free. | Loveleaf Co. 
 Strawberry Salad with Buckwheat and Pesto Dressing | Vegan and gluten-free. | Loveleaf Co. 

Strawberry Salad with Buckwheat
and Hemp Seed Pesto Dressing

INGREDIENTS

HEMP SEED PESTO (SEE NOTES)

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, preferably roasted and unsalted
  • 1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional, but will make it taste "cheesier")
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

HEMP SEED PESTO DRESSING

  • 1/3 cup tablespoons Hemp Seed Pesto (recipe above)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (non-dairy if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • water to thin, if necessary

ASSEMBLY

  • 6-8 cups loosely packed spring mix (about 5 oz)
  • 2 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut off the cob
  • 1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats (see notes)
  • 1/2 pint fresh strawberries, tops removed and sliced
  • pesto dressing (recipe above)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • chili powder for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Make the pesto. In a food processor, process the garlic clove until finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients except for the olive oil. Process on high while slowing pouring the olive oil through the feed chute. Scrape down the sides of food processor once or twice and process again. Add salt if needed.
  2. Make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients until well mixed. Add a bit of water to thin to desired consistency.
  3. Cook the buckwheat groats. Combine 1/2 cup buckwheat groats and 1 cup of water in a pot. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid, rinse with cold water and drain well again.
  4. Assemble the salad. In a large bowl or on a platter, lay out the spring mix. Top with corn kernels, cooked buckwheat groats, sliced strawberries, and pesto dressing. Toss to coat. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and sprinkle of chili powder.

NOTES

This recipe will make more pesto than needed for the dressing. Luckily, it's delicious on everything (pasta, grilled veggies, chicken, etc.) and freezes well. Looking to save time? Use store-bought pesto for the dressing instead of making it from scratch.

Farro or wheatberries would be great substitutes for the buckwheat if gluten isn’t a concern.