Purple kale and grain bowl with miso cashew sauce

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I am actually eating this as I type. It is so good and quick and nutty and comforting that I couldn’t wait to share it. In winter I am always on the hunt for a main course to cook that doesn’t involve a huge hunk of meat or fish (only on special days) and, conversely, isn’t just a plate full of veggies that will leave me cold and, well, colder.

This is it. Warm nutty grains, rich earthy kale and salty-sweet miso cashew paste with omega seed sprinkle and an optional nutritious soft-boiled egg to round it all off. (I rarely say not to an egg on top, in any season). An express winter lunch or what’s in the larder? dinner that gives you sustenance and nutrients without the desire to curl up in a corner and nap for the rest of the day. But since it is Sunday and life feels pretty hectic, there would be nothing wrong with that.

A rare occasion, here I have used glutenous grains. I have an organic mix of barley, spelt and rice and it just felt right to use it. You could just as easily substitute cam argue, black or short grain brown rice. The purple kale is from my local veg shop and really meaty and thick, with a definite earthy edge. Green would work just as well, the main thing is not to cook it for too long.

The cashew miso sauce is based on one by Gwyneth Paltrow and is truly a life saver: you can throw it on any veggies and bring them bursting into flavour and life. The fats from the nut butter help absorption of fat-soluble vitamins from the kale and egg and the fermented miso is an extra treat for our over-stressed inner flora.

Now let’s stop with the words, and cook.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked grains (rice, barley, rye)

5 large leaves of kale, stems removed if on the chunky side

1 tsp vegetable stock

1 organic egg

2 tsp cashew (or almond) butter

2 tsp white miso paste

2-3 tsp boiling water

Omega seeds to sprinkle

Sea salt and pepper to season

Start by boiling your grains in the vegetable stock and some water according to their instructions, until they are tender but still with a nutty crunch. When they are done, remove from the heat, drain and set aside.

While this is going on, boil the egg in a pan for 5 1/2 minutes (longer for a harder yolk, everyone has their preference. If you literally can’t boil an egg, as all wives love to say about their husbands, or perhaps it is just my mother, learn from Delia here.) When the egg is done, run it under cold water and peel the shell.

Then, in a mug or small jug, mix your cashew butter, miso and 2 teaspoons of boiling water. Stir thoroughly so that the mixture is smooth and adjust according to taste. The consistency should be thick but just about pourable.

Finally, wash and prepare your kale and gently steam it for about 3-4 minutes so that it is dark and glistening but not soggy. Keep an eye on this is different varieties will take longer or shorter times to cook.

In a bowl, mix the kale, grains and paste. Top with the egg and some seeds , season with salt and pepper and serve.

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