Roasted beetroot and toasted buckwheat groats salad

I’ve been trying to decide which recipes to share with you from the KinoVino-Kinoteka supper club I did a couple of weeks ago. Guests asked if all the recipes were in the book, and while some are, some were developed especially for the occasion. I was especially pleased with my main course of placki (potato cakes) with a spicy, tangy venison, wild mushroom and fermented red cabbage stew, yet this is a slightly complicated and time-consuming dish (for a start, you need at least a week to ferment the cabbage) – if you are cooking for 40 people then it’s definitely worth it, even if you are cooking for 8 or 10 and it’s a special occasion, but these are rare… I think you will get more use out of this lovely beetroot and buckwheat salad. It’s perfect for picnics and barbeques.

I used spiced, fermented beetroot juice for the dressing, but I will assume that you don’t have this and give you a different dressing suggestion. You can buy toasted buckwheat groats in any Polish shop or Polish section of the supermarket, they have a unique, smokey flavour, yet if you are stuck and really can’t get them then you may replace them with normal buckwheat groats. We cook them like my gran used to – first on the hob, just like you would cook rice, then we take the pan, with the lid on, wrap a large towel around it and put it under a duvet (or massive pillow in my case), allowing it to steam and rest like this for an hour. The gherkins would ideally be the “kiszone” variety (in brine rather than vinegar), again available from Polish shops or Polish sections of supermarkets, but the other ones will suffice if these ones are not available. The below recipe will make approximately 8-10 servings


4 large beetroot (roasted in their skins in tin foil with some salt and olive oil)
200g toasted buckwheat groats, cooked and steamed
6 gherkins, sliced
4 spring onions, finely sliced
Large handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped


1 flat tablespoon sumac
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons good quality olive oil
Salt and white pepper to taste


Simply combine all the ingredients (reserving some parsley for decoration) and allow to stand for about an hour to “bite together”

Photographs by Tania Naiden