The other day I made some of my go-to salad, a lemony salad of bulgur wheat, parsley and mint, green onion and vegetables — whatever is in season or tempting — all perked up by a dressing of lemon, olive oil, garlic and lemon zest. The version above was a simple one with the addition of chopped raw red pepper and pieces of cooked asparagus.
Inspired by tabbouleh, this salad relies on lemon three times: the lemon juice added to the water for soaking the bulgur, and the dressing with both lemon juice and lemon peel. (You’ll need about 2 medium to large lemons for the salad).
The recipe is infinitely adaptable, as you can substitute other cooked grains – rice, barley, quinoa, etc. – for the bulgur, use different combinations of herbs (cilantro, dill?), vary the vegetables (raw, cooked or roasted) to the season or your taste, add feta or goat cheese, chicken or fish, olives or nuts. Even fruit (fresh or dried). In Ripe, Nigel Slater offers a tabbouleh with fresh plums or peaches, which is quite delicious. I often add crumbled feta cheese and kalamata olives to my mix — and sometimes walnuts too.
The salad is great for a picnic, light lunch or side dish.
Here are the basic ingredients – take it from here!
Triple Lemon Bulgur Salad
- 1 cup bulgur
- I cup boiling water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- I bunch green onions, whites and part of the greens, chopped
- 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
- I small bunch of mint, finely chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried mint. Or both)
- Zest of one lemon, finely grated
- Vegetables, such as chopped red pepper, cherry tomato halves, roasted cauliflower, cooked green beans, asparagus, etc.
- Optional: garbanzo beans or white beans, sliced kalamata olives, feta cheese, walnuts, sesame seeds, etc.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) olive oil
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed in garlic press
Put the dry bulgur in a bowl, add the salt, pour the boiling water and lemon juice over the bulgur and cover. Let stand for 30 to 40 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed; then fluff with a fork.
Add the chopped green onions, parsley, mint and lemon zest to the bulgur and combine
Combine the olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk to emulsify. Pour 6 tablespoons of the dressing over the bulgur mixture, reserving the other two tablespoons to use if you want the salad to be moister.
Add vegetables, beans, nuts, olives or other ingredients as you see fit and mix. Add more of the dressing if you think it needs it; salt and pepper (and more mint) to taste.