The Best Lunchtime Grain Salad with Dates, Apples, Chickpeas and Feta by Caitlin
With dates and cranberries for sweetness, a bit of green apple for crispness and salty feta there are so many good flavours to enjoy with each bite of salad. Chickpeas give some protein and the rye berries and barley ensure that you won’t face a mid-afternoon energy slump. I wasn’t very familiar with rye berries, but after doing a little reading I learned that rye has a unique type of soluble fiber (called pentosans if you must know the exact name) which makes your body digest this grain more slowly- keeping your blood sugar and energy levels steady.
1 cup rye berries and 1 cup barley, uncooked* This makes enough cooked grains to make this salad twice.
½ cup chopped dates
½ cup dried cranberries
1 can chickpeas drained or about 1 cups cooked chickpeas
½ cups crumbled feta
about ½ bunch of parsley, chopped
1 small red onion, or half of a big onion finely chopped
1 large crisp apple, peeled, and diced. (I used Granny Smith)
½ cup to ¾ cup pecans toasted and roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
The night before you make this salad, soak 1 cup rye berries in three cups of water. Use the pot you will cook the rye in to soak the berries in. I suggest soaking one cup of rye berries and then once they are cooked freezing half of the grains for the next time you make the recipe. They freeze well and this allows you to make the salad quite quickly the second time you make it.
Bring the rye berries and their soaking water to a boil. Then lower heat, cover and simmer until tender about 60 minutes. It’s okay if all the water isn’t absorbed. Drain off unused water and spread the grains on a cookie sheet to cool.
In another pot cook 1 cup barley according to package instructions (either pearl or pot barley is fine) and cool on a cookie sheet the same way.
Once grains are cool, put them into a large mixing bowl. Add chickpeas, feta, dates, cranberries, parsley, chopped red onion, apple, and toasted pecans and mix together.
Drizzle the salad with oil and lemon juice, and season generously with salt and pepper.