Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Low-Sodium Kasha Mediterranean Salad with Curd Cheese

Kasha Mediterranean, the Slovenian-inspired salad created by a Facebook friend named Josef, had become one of our favorite dishes. It is a tasty twist on a familiar salad that is normally based on bulgar wheat.  Made with buckwheat instead, it is unusual and perfect for entertaining.

A low-sodium version would be a challenge, because one of the key ingredients is feta cheese.  I resolved to try it with cubes of my homemade salt-free curd cheese, pressed and cubed, then doctored up with paprika, onion, and pumpkin seed oil.  (That recipe, a traditional Slovenian appetizer in its own right, is in the preceding post.)

Without the tang of feta, the salad tasted a little bland.  So I had to make a few adjustments: more spice and a tangier dressing.

For the recipe and the verdict, read on.

Low-Sodium Kasha Mediterranean Salad with Curd Cheese  


1 c. dry whole buckwheat groats or kasha, cooked in
1 ½ c.  salted water

1 16 oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
6-8 oz salt-free curd cheese (or paneer),  cubed *
4 small/medium tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 green pepper, diced
½ c. red onion, diced (or 4 green onions)
4 T. fresh parsley, minced
black pepper, ground, to taste
smoked paprika, ½ t. or to taste

*The salad ingredients follow the original recipe, except for the substitution of salt-free curd cheese for feta. The cheese will be less bland if it is cubed and marinated with onion, paprika, and pumpkin seed oil.

Dressing (a tangier version):

2 T. olive oil
2 t. pumpkin seed oil
6 T. vinegar
juice of 2 limes
2 T. pomegranate molasses
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 T. fresh mint
1 t. smoked paprika
1 t. hot paprika
black pepper, to taste
1/4 c. pumpkin seeds

If you need more detailed directions for assembling the salad, consult the original recipe.

The verdict?  Well, the flavor was a little different, without the sharp, salty tang of feta.  But the modified salad stands up well,  especially with the intensely flavored dressing.  It's a winner and even more healthy.  Gluten-free, salt-free, and delicious!

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