Beet, Blackberry and Buckwheat Salad

Makes 4 servings

I don’t so much “grow” blackberries as “gather” them. Just as I like to travel with clippers in the glove box for spontaneous roadside floral heists, I find it an equally good idea to bring along a little pail when walking the dog during berry season. You never know when you might avail yourself of a random blackberry bush.



  • 1 large or 2 medium beets
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 handful hazelnuts
  • ½ cup dried buckwheat
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 big handful fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
  • 1 cup labneh  or plain Greek yogurt
  • Lemon zest, to serve


  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dark brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil


To make the salad:  Preheat the oven to 400°F. Rinse any dirt or debris off the beets and trim the tops and bottoms. Place the beets on a sheet of foil, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with half of the salt and the pepper. Wrap them inside the foil and place directly on the oven rack to roast until fork tender, approximately 45 minutes.

Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet or small baking pan and pop in the oven with the beets for 5 minutes, until they are lightly roasted and fragrant. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the nuts to sit until they are cool enough to roughly chop. Don’t worry about removing their skins; I like the added colour they provide.

Remove the beets from the oven and set aside until they are cool enough to handle. Remove the skins of the beets and cut into 1-inch pieces. Transfer the cut beets to a large bowl.

Fill a small saucepan with 1 cup of water, the buckwheat and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, put the lid on and allow the buckwheat to cook for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. Lift the lid, place a clean folded tea towel across the top of the pot, and replace the lid. Allow the buckwheat to steam for about 5 minutes more. Remove the lid and fluff the buckwheat with a fork.

Set the pot aside until the buckwheat has cooled and then add it to the beets.

Add the chopped nuts, blackberries and torn mint to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and, using a large spoon, toss to combine.

To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, brown sugar and salt. Slowly add the olive oil while continuing to whisk until well combined. Dress the salad and toss it all again.

Use a spoon to spread the labneh or Greek yogurt across the bottom of a large serving platter. Top with the salad and sprinkle with lemon zest to serve.

Beet, Blackberry and Buckwheat Salad

Looking for more summer salads? Try this Radish, Navy Bean and Pickled Strawberry Salad


Excerpted from The Side Gardener by Rosie Daykin. Copyright © 2024 Rosie Daykin. Photographs by Andrew Montgomery. Published by Appetite an imprint of Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.


This article was originally published in the May/June 2024 print issue of Western Living magazine. Subscribe here for a free print issue of the magazine.