Buckwheat, Toasted Pumpkin Seed & Popped Amaranth Salad/Soup Booster

When I am too tired to come up with the last meal of the day, I oftentimes dump a bunch of goodies into a large glass mixing bowl and make a ginormous green salad. There are so many tasty sauces on YumUniverse that easily double as salad dressing when chilled, and since I always have something “saucy” in the fridge, it’s easy to pull together a delicious salad last minute.

One of my favorite pantry items is homemade “Salad & Soup Booster”—a mix of nutrient-dense crunchies that you can sprinkle on any salad or into almost any soup for extra substance and nutritional power. This recipe is one of my favorites—it contains multiple sources of complete plant-protein, cortisol-reducing minerals, omega fatty acids and a bunch o’ B vitamins. It’s neutral enough in flavor that you can add it to any type of salad or soup and it works. Try it out. Make a batch and see how easy it is to get yourself into making mixing bowl-sized salads and easy soups more often. Your body will thank you.

You can prepare Salad and Soup Booster with a dehydrator for a highly raw or 100% raw version (you’ll have to leave out amaranth and nutritional yeast) or you can toast and bake up the ingredients. Your call.

Boost the nutritional power of your salads with this recipe paired with these dressings or sauces :
Mixed greens, steamed kale, fresh sprouts, artichoke hearts, toasted nuts and/or fresh carrots, onion, grapes, sliced apples or pears make fab salads. Yum.

Dairy-Free, Soy-Free Ranch Dressing

Scrumptious Blueberry Tarragon Dressing

Creamy Chimichurri

Balsamic Reduction

Ancho Chipotle Sauce


Makes: 6 cups

Dehydrator or
Unbleached parchment paper lined cookie sheet
Large glass bowl
2 medium glass bowls
Small pan
Recycled glass bottle(s) or a medium glass jar with a lid

Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why.
1/2 cup dry quinoa*
1/2 cup dry buckwheat groats*
1 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup amaranth seed
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, hulled
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tbsp chia seed
1/2 tsp dulse flakes (optional, feel free to add more if you like dulse)
1/4 tsp fine ground sea salt
Pinch pepper

*If you have a dehydrator, I encourage you to sprout the quinoa and buckwheat and then dehydrate at 95°F. This will mean that you have to back up your timing a few days, but nutritionally, it’s worth it. Here’s how you sprout and then you will just dehydrate them on screens for 8-12 hours or until totally dry. You can also sprout the amaranth and pepitas, but I like them toasted/popped for flavor.


Let’s get started.
Soak quinoa and buckwheat overnight (in the morning, your quinoa may have already sprouted a bit—yay) in medium bowls filled with pure water.

Pop your amaranth (here’s how) and set aside in the large glass bowl.

Over medium heat in a pan, toast pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds until they start to brown and some pumpkin seeds start to pop. Remove from heat and add to the large glass bowl with popped amaranth.

You can leave uncovered, or covered overnight on the counter until all ingredients are ready.

If you are going to dehydrated: Take 2-3 teflex screens and stack them. Place your sprouted/soaked buckwheat and quinoa on the top sheet (the stacked screens keeps them from falling through the cracks) and dehydrate at 95°F for 8-12 hours or until dry and crunchy. You can also sprout the amaranth and pepitas and dehydrate them as well, but I prefer toasted/popped for flavor.

If you are going to bake the buckwheat/quinoa: Rinse the buckwheat and quinoa well. Spread thinly on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 200F for 60 mins.

Remove from oven, shuffle/loosen with fork and bake another 60 mins or until dry.

Add all ingredients to the bowl and stir.

Transfer to glass containers and store in the pantry until all used up. If all the water is removed (make sure quinoa and buckwheat are bone dry) the mixture won’t perish, but feel free to keep in the fridge for extended life just in case.


How will you use your Salad Booster? I bet it goes great sprinkled these soups…

Hearty Multi-Bean Chili

Hearty Cauliflower Chowder

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Parsnip & Apple Soup



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  1. Therese

    Thank you for this amazing recipe, it adds so much extra flavour to my salads.
    Popping amaranth was fun, but I had some problems with the buckwheat and quinoa. Even though I soaked and baked both ingredients according to the instructions, they were too hard to chew and I could not add them to the mix. What could I have done wrong? How should they turn out?
    Kind regards from Austria.

    • Hello Therese!
      Hmmm, the quinoa and buckwheat are crunchiest when toasted, yes. They tend to be softer if dehydrated, BUT you can always pulse them in a high-powered blender or a food processor to create a powdery topping full of the same nutrition if you have sensitive teeth. Hope that helps, you didn’t do anything wrong. 😉

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