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Rye Berry Salad

By Aube Giroux

This salad can be adapted and the ingredients interchanged with your favourites. You could, for instance, replace the zucchini with green beans or the chicken with tofu. The options are endless. Whatever you do, soak those berries well and have fun with it! Rye berries (hulled rye kernels) can be found in health food stores or the natural foods section of many supermarkets. You might want to seek out the Oak Manor label, an organic brand produced in Ontario.

Note: The general rule for the preparation of grains for optimal digestibility and nutrient absorption is to soak them in twice their volume of water, adding 2 tablespoons of an acidic medium per cup of grain. The acidic medium should ideally be yogurt, kefir, whey or buttermilk but apple cider vinegar and/or lemon juice can also be used.

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Rye Berries

1 1/2 cups rye berries

3 tbsp plain yogurt (see Note, above)

1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt

Salad

Juice of one lemon

1 tbsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp pure maple syrup

1 clove garlic, minced

Sea salt or kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup shredded cooked organic chicken

2 to 3 ears of sweet corn, steamed, kernels removed

1 small zucchini, thinly sliced

1 shallot or small red onion, finely diced

4 ripe figs or seasonal local fruit, chopped

3/4 cup toasted walnuts

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 small bunch basil, stemmed and chopped Zest of 1 lemon

Prepare the rye berries: In a large bowl, add the rye berries, yogurt and water. Stir well to combine. Let soak for a minimum of 7 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse the rye berries. (You can cook them in the soaking liquid if you wish.) Bring the berries and about 5 cups of water to a boil. Remove any scum that rises to the surface. Stir in the salt, reduce the heat, and simmer until the rye berries are the desired tenderness, about 45 minutes. Drain the rye berries. Transfer the rye berries to a large bowl. Cool to room temperature. They are now chewy, flavourful little bundles of nutrients, all ready to use!

Prepare the salad: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar and mustard. Slowly whisk in the oil. Whisk in the maple syrup and garlic. Add salt and pepper, to taste; set aside. In the large bowl with the rye berries, add the chicken, corn kernels, zucchini, shallot, figs, walnuts, cranberries, basil and lemon zest. Stir well to combine. Stir in the vinaigrette. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

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