This is a favourite lunch box staple. The base for this simple but sumptuous salad is rye. I love rye berries because of their dark colour and extremely robust texture. To put it simply they are chewy which means your jaws spend ample time chomping each spoonful and your taste buds get quality time with the other goodies in the salad. Your brain gets to register that your stomach is being served and it ought to stop creating signals of hunger.
The recipe serves as light lunch for two adults.
Start by cooking 1/2 cup of rye in about 2 cups of water or enough water to cover the berries. Set your timer to remind you to check the rye after 15 mins.
Meanwhile peel a small sweet potato and chop it into small bite sized pieces. Sauté it in a small frying pan using 1 tsp of olive oil. It should take about 10 mins to soften the potatoes. After 5 mins you may want to spray some water to prevent the potatoes from sticking to the base of the pan.
Slice 1 red bell pepper into 1 cm square pieces and add them to the potato when they are nearly done. There is really no need to cook the pepper but just take the opportunity to coat them with the oil and the starch from the potato.
After 15 mins check the rye and if necessary cook it further for 5 more minutes or so. Try a cooked rye berry and ensure you like the bite of it – it should not be too tough but it should not be mushy either. Drain the rye and wash it under cold water to arrest further cooking.
It is time to bring out your salad bowl. Line it with about 80 gms of spinach. Add the softened sweet potato, pepper and cooked rye berries to the bowl. Toss in a handful of pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Chop 6 dried prunes, 50 gms of hard cheddar and add in to the mixture. Drizzle 2 tbsp of virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar over the mixture, and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
Use a spoon to bring the ingredients together and to coat then with the dressing.
Now you are ready to spoon it into bowls for immediate consumption or into lunch boxes to take along.