A few weeks ago I had the unique honor & pleasure of cooking & preparing vegetarian & ayurvedic inspired lunches for the Sophia Leadership Camp for Girls, sponsored by my teacher/mentor Laura Plumb & The Institute for Feminine Wisdom, whose divine mission is to “cultivate the voice & spirit of women, to build self-esteem & foster feminine leadership, & to preserve ancient wisdom that sustains, heals & nurtures living systems that will help restore wholeness, balance, & peace to our world and for all humankind.”
The annual Sophia Camp provides activities & experiences aimed at encouraging “self-esteem, compassionate service & sacred leadership, specifically designed to help adolescent girls transition through puberty & the teen years anchor into their unwavering, inner authority.” Each day, the girls began with yoga & a discussion about ayurveda, followed by a nature walk & pool time. Then came “Lunch with Leaders” where a delicious homemade lunch (prepared by yours truly!) was served while a featured female leader from the community gave an inspiring talk. The girls’ afternoons were filled with self-care activities (making homemade beauty products!), music, art, & more yoga. Wow, right? I wish there was a camp like that when I was growing up!
Each day was dedicated to an element, so the activities & food prepared were conscientiously aligned. Laura thoughtfully designed the daily menu, & many of the dishes I prepared came directly from her blog, Food: A Love Story. However a few last minute changes had to be made, & collaboratively, we came up with a lovely raw buckwheat salad for “Air” day.
I loved it so much, that I decided to recreate it for myself using coconut yogurt (this brand is my favorite) in place of dairy, to enjoy during a recent Ayurvedic Summer Cleanse. Please note that I did use raw honey in this recipe, as I follow an ayurvedic plant-based diet, so please feel free to substitute whichever sweetener you prefer. Up until making this salad for the girls, I’d only ever used buckwheat groats for sweet breakfast parfaits with fruit. So when we were brainstorming the “air day” salad that was originally to be made with quinoa, & Laura recommended using buckwheat groats in place of the quinoa, I was taken aback.
But Laura, the brilliant mind that she has, needs no second guessing, so I trusted her vision & this more savory buckwheat salad was born. Tender buckwheat groats, tossed with sweet roasted beets, shredded carrot, hearts of palm, savory green olives, & dried fruits, smothered in a sweet & tangy yogurt, cardamom & raw honey dressing & served on a bed of crisp butter leaf lettuce….absolutely delicious!
- 1 cup buckwheat groats, soaked overnight & rinsed well
- 2 small steamed beets, peeled, steamed & chopped
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- ¼ cup green olives, chopped
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- 3 stalks of hearts of palm, quartered & sliced
- A few leaves of butter leaf lettuce, torn
- A few tablespoons of chopped parsley or cilantro
- Dressing :
- ½ cup coconut yogurt ( I prefer coconut grove plain, unsweetened)
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small clove of garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- ½ Tbsp. raw honey, or agave
- ½ tsp. cardamom
- ½ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- ⅛ tsp himalayan sea salt
- In a small bowl, add dressing ingredients & whisk to combine.
- Toss buckwheat groats, beets, olives, hearts of plan & raisins in a large salad bowl. Add desired amount of dressing.
- Serve over butter left lettuce & top with additional dressing & garnish with fresh herbs.
Look at all of those beautiful colors from the beets, olives, carrots, & herbs! And the flavor – sweet, savory, nutty, fresh… & texture profile – chewy, crunchy, crisp were both wonderful too.
I must also give a loving shout out to my girl Seana, who was my right-hand lady in the camp kitchen for most of the week. Had it not been for my sweet soul sister, I may not have survived, as it’s quite a job cooking for up to 20 people in a small home kitchen. Needless to say, it was a wonderful experience, & I am was grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it.