Warm Rye Berry, Roasted Pumpkin & Kale Salad with Miso-Maple Dressing

Warm Rye Berry, Roasted Pumpkin & Kale Salad from Eat Your Greens

I thought I knew the quick and healthy weeknight meal game. It involved some extra work on the weekends, making beans in the slow cooker and freezing them. Or making a big batch of brown rice or other whole grains and freezing them in portions. I had healthy, long-cooking ingredients ready to go on even the busiest night.

And then I got a pressure cooker. And it has changed the game.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent most of your life picturing a rattling pot suddenly exploding its contents over the ceiling whenever you heard the words pressure cooker. But the truth is that modern pressure cookers are a lot safer and quieter than those of the past, and cooks around the world use them to safely and reliable cook ingredients that would normally take hours in a matter of minutes.

Warm Rye Berry, Roasted Pumpkin & Kale Salad from Eat Your Greens

Still not convinced? I can cook perfect brown rice in 20 minutes. I can cook (soaked) dry beans in 12 minutes. TWELVE MINUTES.

I might have never had my eyes opened to the wonders of a pressure cooker if I hadn’t received one to review for The Kitchn, but now I’m such a convert, I’m immediately buying another should the company request that I return theirs. (It happens sometimes.) In the meantime, I’m cooking with it as often as I can, finally digging into some of the beans and grains that have been languishing in my cupboard because I wasn’t ready to commit to their long cooking times.

Like these rye berries, which I bought on a whim at Whole Foods. (You know about my whole grain hoarding problem.) Wheat berries, rye berries and other whole grains like this typically take at least an hour of simmering to become chewy and edible. In the pressure cooker, they took 22 minutes.

Warm Rye Berry, Roasted Pumpkin & Kale Salad from Eat Your Greens

While the rye berries cooked, I roasted some cubes of pumpkin and washed half a bunch of kale. Yellow miso paste, rice vinegar, walnut oil and a little maple syrup combined into a salty-sweet dressing that soaked into all warm grains and vegetables, making a hearty salad with a lot of different textures to enjoy: soft squash, chewy rye berries and the crunch of chopped almonds.

Even if you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can just cook the grains in a regular pot on the stove, or you can substitute a quicker-cooking grain like pearl barley. This salad tastes even better the longer it sits, so the leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day.

And someone had better warn Rob…I think I might be falling in love with my pressure cooker.

Warm Rye Berry, Roasted Pumpkin & Kale Salad from Eat Your Greens

Warm Rye Berry, Roasted Pumpkin & Kale Salad with Miso-Maple Dressing

Yield: 4-6 servings

{ Ingredients }

1 cup rye berries
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 tablespoon grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon yellow miso paste
1 teaspoon Grade B maple syrup
2 tablespoons walnut oil
3 cups kale (about 1/2 bunch), stems removed, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped

{ Directions }

Cook the rye berries and salt according to your pressure cooker directions. (I used the water and timing guidelines for brown rice and my rye berries came out perfectly cooked.) If you don't have a pressure cooker, combine the rye berries, salt and 3 1/2 cups water in a heavy pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and let simmer for 1 hour, or until tender.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the pumpkin on a sheet pan and toss with the grapeseed oil. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through baking.

In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, miso paste and maple syrup until smooth. Slowly whisk in the walnut oil. Place the kale in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Massage the dressing into the kale, until the leaves are soft and pliable. Add the cooked rye berries, the pumpkin and the remaining dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle the almonds over the top and serve warm or at room temperature.

• You can use another whole grain in place of the rye berries, but I think another chewy grain works best, such as barley, farro or wheat berries.

• Grade B maple syrup has a more prominent maple flavor than Grade A, but either one can be used in a pinch.

• This salad keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

• I don't really like dried fruit in salads (strange, I know), but if that's your thing, dried cranberries would probably be a nice addition.



  1. #
    ePressureCooker — September 24, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Beautiful photography Anjali, I’m definitely going to have to pass this recipe on to my sister, because its right up her alley – she loves kale, Asian food, and she’s got a bumper crop of squash, including pumpkins, coming in her garden!

    Just thought I’d mention though that you can actually cook that pumpkin in the pressure cooker, instead of the oven, if you want. Follow your pressure cooker’s instructions for any kind of winter squash, cutting the pumpkin into the same size pieces that your instructions dictate, EXCEPT add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to the cooking liquid and be sure to add some salt as well. The baking soda changes the pH, increasing the alkalinity, which makes it easier for the Maillard reaction to take place, which caramelizes the pumpkin. It will come out sweeter than it would have if roasted plain in the oven. Try it, I use this method all the time for mirepoix, carrots, vegetables for stock, etc. and it really works well! ;D

    • Anjali — September 24th, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      Thanks, that’s so interesting — I’ll definitely try it!

  2. #
    June Blickenstaff — September 26, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I love how you say “massage” the dressing into the kale. I use my hands quite often to blend ingredients (originally learned this in India) and the tactile really adds a lot to the experience of cooking–not to mention the oils being good for my skin.

    • Anjali — September 27th, 2013 at 10:10 am

      I agree — it makes me sad when people say they don’t like touching their food while they cook.

  3. #
    Rachael@AnAvocadoADay — September 27, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Okay, you’ve convinced me. Was trying to pare down the kitchen tools, but pressure cooker will make an appearance on the Christmas list this year!

    • Anjali — September 27th, 2013 at 10:09 am

      You won’t be sorry! I’m thinking about giving away my slow cooker (which I only use for beans anyway) so I have more cupboard space for mine.

  4. #
    Kathryne — October 21, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Brown rice in 20 minutes?! Now I want a pressure cooker! If only I had a place to store it. My KitchenAid mixer is already in my closet next to my hamper. Might have to go the stove route to cook the rye for this dish. It looks like an amazing fall meal!

  5. #
    pve — October 23, 2013 at 7:14 am

    Yum, everything looks lovely. I am taking a course on line called “whole food kitchen” – and love learning about ways to add more plant based cuisine to my diet.
    I love slow cookers, pressure cookers and anything that is prepared with time and love.

  6. #
    Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health — November 15, 2013 at 5:58 am

    so nice to find your blog Anjali ๐Ÿ™‚ and I heart my pressure cooker too.

  7. #
    Lisa — January 9, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Do you have any recommendations for good/great pressure cooker cookbooks?

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