Sometimes coincidence supplies inspiration.
En route to pick up some ingredients for dinner, I was listening to a podcast repeat of the Splendid Table. Lynn Rosetto Kasper’s guest was San Francisco Chronicle’s Janet Fletcher. She was ecstatic about bulgur. She talked about Turkish spices, about the grains, the techniques.
Maybe it was the warm breeze or my hunger or both. I started to ruminate about all the good tabbouleh salads I used to enjoy. I remembered that we recently had one at a restaurant near UMass Medical School and Doc enjoyed it, too. It’s a grain, I could add chickpeas, parsley, mint...I picked up the pace. I was now on a mission.
You may have enjoyed a cracked wheat salad at a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern restaurant. Maybe had vegetarian dalliance in college. Maybe you’ve never thought “wheat” and “salad” go together. This recipe is a keeper. Whole grain, soluble fiber, veggies and umami (See The Great Umami Caper) supplied by tomato paste. The whole grains and soluble fiber are recommended for, well anyone, but especially Asians who are at twice the risk for developing diabetes. (See Spoonful of Ginger)
S/O/L/E Food Issues
A note about the S/O/L/E food issues here. I think it's wise to think about balance. Someone told me once the difference between good and evil wasn't the difficult one, the difficult choice is between competing goods. I don't want a simple salad to be fraught with worry. It's not that momentous, really it's just lunch. To my knowledge they don't grow bulgur locally, and if they did, I probably couldn't afford it. Tomatoes are from Backyard Tomatoes in Maine. It's a hothouse operation and they're not "seasonal" nor are the cucumbers. In eating this, not-local, not-seasonal (yet) salad I was trying to achieve a competing good. We need to incorporate more greens and more grains. I hope that I can keep my sweet husband around for many years of complaining about the healthy food I try to make him eat.
This is substantial enough for a main course, or you could serve it in lettuce cups as a nice side. Roll it in a wrap. Eat it all summer.
Just try it once, promise you’ll love it!
- 1 cup bulgur
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- 3 scallions thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup red onion minced
- 1 whole bunch curly parsley, minced
- 1 bunch mint, minced
- 2 chopped tomatoes
- 2 tsp dried Turkish pepper
- 2 chopped cucumbers
- zest of one lemon
- Juice of 1 - 1 1/2 lemons
- 1/3 cup Olive oil
- 1 TBSP pomegranate molasses
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 can of chick peas
- Cooking bulgur is fast and easy. Rinse, toast, and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer in a 2:1 ratio (2 cups liquid to 1 cup bulgur).
- Simmer 15 minutes then wrap lid with clean kitchen towel to absorb steam and remove from heat. Ten minutes later you have perfectly cooked cracked wheat!
- Toss with lemon juice, pomegranate vinegar, tomato paste, minced herbs.
- Add vegetables, beans and sprinkle with sumac.
Low glycemic index, high in protein, bulgur is a very good source of Dietary Fiber and Manganese.
Bulgur or cracked wheat also makes a great pilaf. You can also make a small portion, cooked in broth, and toss it with your leafy greens. Maybe I should've tried that first.
? What's your favorite way to use bulgur?