A few weeks ago when I had some people over for dinner, my friend Georgette brought this salad, along with a copy of the recipe that she'd found in Cooking Light. I loved the recipe, but didn't realize until I looked for it online that it was created by Joanne Weir, one of my favorite cookbook authors who recently started a blog. This salad has many ingredients found in Tabbouleh, but the amount of tomato and cucumber and the addition of green onion gives this salad a slightly different attitude. I changed the original recipe just a bit, adding lemon zest and a bit more olive oil, and this was a delightful way to use some tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, and parsley from the garden. I'm also thinking there are lots of interesting things that could be added to this. Have you ever cooked with bulgur? If you have a good idea for using this healthy whole grain, let us know about it in the comments.
If you're not familiar with bulgur, it's a type of wheat that's parboiled, then dried and cracked. Since it's a whole grain, bulgur is great for anyone who's following the South Beach Diet.
The recipe directions said to soak the bulgur in boiling water for 30 minutes. Here's how it looked when I first added the water.
After 30 minutes, the bulgur had absorbed most of the water, but if I tipped the bowl, there was still quite a bit of water in the bottom. I wasn't in a hurry, so I let it soak about 45 minutes more.
You could probably just drain off the extra water if you're in a hurry, but I soaked my bulgur about 80 minutes, and after that much time it was nicely fluffy. Bulgur can be a bit chewy for some people, so I think a little extra soaking is good if you have time. I'm guessing that fresher bulgur probably needs less soaking time too.
I whisked together the lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic, and olive oil, and stirred it into the bulgur, then let it sit while I chopped the herbs and vegetables.
After the bulgur has hung around with the dressing for about 20 minutes, stir in the chopped mint, parsley, and green onions.
I used cherry tomatoes, which I thought held together very well in this salad, but you could also use chopped whole tomaotes. With the tomatoes and cucumbers I was going for the symmetry of cut (same-sized pieces) that I'm sometimes so picky about!
Here's the finished salad with the tomatoes and cucumbers gently stirred in. Season with a bit of salt and fresh ground black pepper, and serve.
Bulgur Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Parsley, Mint, and Lemon
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe slightly adapted from a recipe by Joanne Weir that appeared in Cooking Light, shared with me by Georgette.)
1 cup bulgur
1 cup boiling water
zest of one lemon (optional, but good)
3 T fresh lemon juice
3 T olive oil
2 tsp. finely minced garlic
1 cup chopped fresh parsley (I used curly parsley, but either type will work)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup sliced green onions
3 cups chopped tomatoes
1 1/4 cup chopped cucumbers
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Measure out 1 cup bulgur into a bowl big enough to hold the finished salad. Add 1 cup boiling water, stir, and let bulgur soak until all the water is absorbed. (The recipe said 30 minutes, but I soaked the bulgur about 80 minutes, which made it nice and fluffy.)
While bulgur soaks, zest one lemon and put zest into a small bowl. Squeeze lemon juice into bowl, adding more if needed to make 3 T lemon juice. Add finely minced garlic, then whisk in 3 T olive oil. When bulgur has absorbed all the water, stir in this dressing and let marinate while you chop herbs and veggies.
Wash parsley and mint and spin dry or dry with paper towels. Chop herbs and slice green onions and stir into bulgur. Peel cucumbers and remove seeds if the seeds are big. (I had garden cucumbers, so I left the seeds in.) Dice cucumbers and tomatoes into pieces about 1/2 inch, then gently stir into salad. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve.
Even though tomatoes should never be refrigerated, I was surprised that this was still quite good after it had been in the fridge overnight. Let come to room temperature before eating leftovers if possible.
This salad with bulgur and lots of fresh herbs is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by The Crispy Cook. WHB is now under the capable management of Haalo, and you can find the rules for Weekend Herb Blogging and a place to check who's hosting Weekend Herb Blogging at her beautiful blog, Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once.
South Beach Suggestions:
Bulgur is a whole grain, and all the other ingredients in this salad are healthful low-glycemic foods, making this a perfect choice for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. This would taste great with something like Herb Encrusted Grilled Salmon, Souvlaki, or Grilled Fusion Chicken.
More Healthy Salads with Bulgur:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Kalyn's Tabbouleh with Almonds from Kalyn's Kitchen
Bulgur Salad with Cranberries from Delicius Days
Bulgur, Celery, and Pomegranate Salad from 101 Cookbooks
Bulgur Salad with Feta and Shrimp from Frantic Home Cook
Spicy Bulgur Salad with Nuts and Tomato Paste Dressing from Aglaia's Table
Bulgur Salad with Oranges, Cashews, and Fresh Herbs from Enlightened Cooking
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)