Minty Spelt Berry, Brussels Sprout & Purple Cabbage Salad

All the days are bleeding together in a kind of soft, drizzly palette. April into May feels so transitional, like I am constantly waiting for something to happen. It's a lull I'm not used to and one I don't like feeling comfortable in. I sway in and out of creative sparks and indifference to the days passing. The other day at work, I told a co-worker that I felt like I was always waiting for it to be the next day. To say those words aloud felt pretty shitty. I never want to see my life as something I am waiting to pass me by - as though I am stuck in a perpetual backwards step.

I keep a note on my phone to record all the little things I want to remember. It is full of one off fragments of poetry, observations of the world around me, or sometimes just two words that fit together well. I was reading it over the other day for inspiration and came across this thought: "Being in a car in the rain feels like a tangible version of spending time inside my own head." I think I've been chasing those in-the-moment type feelings. Trying to find a way to feel the most me and the most present. 

I've been reading NW by Zadie Smith, and although I could say a million things about how smart, beautiful, and captivating it is, the main thing it is making me remember is how we think that our lives are so linear, but in fact they are not. Every moment of the present is interjected with memories and associations from the past. It is beautiful and terrifying that nothing can be completely escaped, forgotten, or revisited as it once was. I read somewhere that every memory you have is really only a memory of the last time you remembered that thing/person/event. You are constantly changing your own perception of the world with each moment you live in it. It can be a lot to think about, but also in some ways a stabilizing thought - I am everything that I have come in contact with and also myself. 

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts ♥

This salad went through a few transitions. 

I dreamed it up on a slow day at work, tasting each ingredient as it passed through my mind and trying to find the next flavour in the chain. 

My mum was in town this weekend, and on Saturday night we made a version of this dish. It is always so fun to see recipe ideas become a reality, and also to witness the changes they make as they are passed from the intangible to the solid, tastable world. 

This version is once more removed from that Saturday night creation. It is the combination of imagined, tested, and tried versions all coming together. 

I am a big advocate of the idea that every dish needs to contain a salt, an acid, and a sugar. This salad really pulls that off. You can taste the sharp, almost bitter tang of the lime, as well as the umami soy sauce and the natural sweetness of the cabbage (plus a little honey). 

It is such an easy meal to throw together, and works super well for lunches the next day.

I hope you love it and let me know if you make anything from this blog! You can tag me @spiceandsprout on Instagram or send me a DM to let me know what you think :)

minty spelt berry, brussels sprout & purple cabbage Salad

Serves 4 - 6 (depending on if it is a side or a main)

A good way to chop your mint (and other leafy herbs) is to gather the leaves into a bundle and slice them lengthwise (think of your knife travelling lengthwise down the leaf) until they are as fine as you desire. 

As for the cabbage, I find that cutting it into quarters first and then slicing lengthwise is the easiest method. For this recipe, you will want to roughly chop them into smaller pieces after thinly slicing.

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Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 cup dried spelt berries, soaked overnight if possible
  • 10 large brussels sprouts, thinly sliced lengthwise (see above photo)
  • half a small purple cabbage, sliced thinly and then chopped into smaller pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped (you can leave them whole if desired) 
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped

Dressing

  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp chili garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (sesame oil would be good I just didn't have any)
  • 1 tsp soy suace

 

Notes

Add the spelt berries to a medium pot with 3 cups water (you can also use vegetable stock which gives them a deeper flavour). Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cooking covered for 40-45 minutes (if they haven't been soaked the cooking time will be closer to 75-90 minutes). You want them to be soft, but still chewy. Drain any excess water and set them over a pot in a colander or sieve to dry out. 

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in the sliced brussels spouts and cabbage. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add 1 tsp soy sauce. Continue to sauté for another minutes or so and then remove from heat. You want the veggies to be cooked but still a little crunchy.

To make the dressing combine all of the ingredients in a glass jar and shake (with the lid on!) until combined.

Toss together the spelt berries, brussels and cabbage, grated carrot, pistachios, and mint. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Serve with a wedge of lime and a sprig of mint. This should keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.