I am not one of those people who hate salad. Whether it is the lettuce and dressing variety or the pasta variety, I love a good salad. In fact I am such a salad lover that I don’t need lettuce or pasta, and often I forego both when I’m feeling adventurous or simply tired of them.
I don’t look at a bowl of arugula and tomatoes and see some restrictive diet food…unless of course you try to feed me iceberg lettuce. Contrary to what some of my dear friends believe, iceberg lettuce is crap. Sure it has almost no calories, but it also has almost no nutrients and if I’m gonna nosh on salad then I’d like some nutrients to go with my leafy greens.
And since fall is officially upon us I figured it was time to go for something with a little more heft than salad, cucumber and tomatoes. One of my favorite grains is bulgur and I also find it is a more effective crowd pleaser than pasta salad. There are plenty of strange eaters out there who only like creamy pasta salad and me and the hubs prefer a nice tapenade, pesto or other chunky vinaigrette mixed with pasta salad goodies.
Another great thing about bulgur salad—any kind, not just the one I’m about to give you—is that it is a great way to limit how often you have to cook lunch in a week. I work at home but sometimes I want a break and this salad gets even more flavorful after sitting in the fridge for a few days. So those of you who work outside the home: take 30 minutes to put this together and you can have lunch for 3 days!
The one thing you should know about bulgur is that you can subtly change its flavor by flavoring the water in which you cook it. Depending on how I’m making it, I’ll add curry, turmeric, broth or herbs to the water. For this one I just added a dollop of olive oil to keep the bulgur soft and fluffy.
Since I work at home, no I’m not rubbing it in, sometimes I’ll add a beer or a cocktail to this dish for a long lunch.
Recipe makes 6 servings.
1.5 cups uncooked bulgur
3 cups water or broth
3 scallions, sliced
¼ cup roasted red pepper, chopped
1/3 cup green olives (the ones pictured are packed in oil with herbs and pepper flakes)
6 oz. Feta cheese, diced
1 handful of dried cranberries
1 tsp. each basil, oregano and thyme
2 tsp. olive oil (I used oil from the olives…it’s full of flavor)
½ lemon, juiced
- Bulgur is like rice with a 2:1 ratio so bring 3 cups liquid and 1 tsp. olive oil to boil then add bulgur and return to a boil.
- Let simmer until water is cooked out, 10-20 minutes.
- Combine all ingredients except 1 tsp. oil and lemon juice into a large mixing bowl.
- Stir in bulgur, oil and lemon juice and fold into ingredients.
- Enjoy this salad lukewarm or refrigerated.
If you’re worried about calories keep your serving size to 1/3 cup or less.
This makes a great side dish with chicken breast or fish as well, especially if you’re feeling particularly lazy about cooking!