Sunday, May 31, 2009

Recipe - Bulgur Wheat Summer Salad

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote this post about a Greek salad my parents used to make, and in it I mentioned that my mom used to cook bulgur wheat a lot when I was little. That got me to thinking, I haven't had bulgur in a long time, and I used to love it when (although I don't know if my mom would agree).

In case you're not familiar with it, bulgur is wheat that you can cook just like rice. There are some instant versions, but buying it in the bulk area of your supermarket is cheaper and, of course, cuts down on packaging. It can be used as a side dish - it has a lot of fiber and protein, so it's more nutritious than rice. It's also an ingredient in a lot of Middle Eastern dishes, like tabbouleh.

Uncooked bulgur looks like this. Soon it will be delicious.

I started looking around for recipes using bulgur, and since it's the HOT season here, I thought a cool salad would be nice. I'm trying to keep the cooking down to microwaving and boiling water, so I don't overheat the house and use too much energy. After reading a bunch of recipes, I created this mash-up:

Bulgur Wheat Summer Salad

No, it doesn't look like much, but it sure is tasty.

In a saucepan, pour:

1 cup bulgur
2 cups water

Cook on high heat until the water boils. Then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed. When it's done, take it off the heat and fluff with a fork so it doesn't get too sticky.

While that's cooking, chop:

a 1/2 cucumber
2 green onions
a big handful of cilantro
2-4 mint sprigs
1 Granny Smith apple
Cubed, cooked chicken breast (optional; I think garbanzo beans would also be good, but I haven't tried it)

Put all the chopped goodies in a bowl. Add:

Raisins (1/2 cup or more, depending on how much you like raisins. Dried cranberries or apricots would also be good)
A handful of slivered, toasted almonds

When the bulgur has cooled off a bit, pour it into the bowl with all of the goodies and mix well.

To make the dressing mix:

The juice of one lemon
1 tsp. olive oil
2 crushed garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste

Pour over the salad and mix. Put the whole mess in the fridge for at least one hour to chill. It's even better the next day after all of the flavors have melded.


I've been trying to eat fewer processed foods, and this salad is a great addition to my repertoire of foods that don't involve a lot of processed ingredients. I did, however, cheat and use pre-cooked chicken breast to add some protein. It cut down on cooking time, and on the heat involved in the cooking process here in the house.

Note: Where is DIY Sunday? my loyal 10 light greenies might be wondering. Well, much to my unhappiness, I've been traveling every week for work, and therefore my weekends have been spent catching up on life. However, I have a few projects in the works, so I hope to return soon!

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