Friday, July 5, 2013

Bulgur Salad with Chickpeas, Roasted Red Peppers and Spiced Cumin Dressing

Bulgur Salad with Chickpeas, Roasted Red Peppers and Spiced Cumin Dressing
Adapted from Jack Bishop, A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen

Bulgur is a whole-wheat grain that have been cracked and partially-cooked. The grains are high in protein and high in fiber. Bulgur is a staple of the Middle Eastern and is used in dishes like Tabbouleh, Kibbeh or pilafs. You can substitute bulgur where recipes calls for couscous, quinoa or rice. The grains are light with a slight chewy texture and a nutty flavor. Bulgur comes in different grades ranging from #1 fine, #2 medium, #3 coarse and #4 extra course. Since bulgur is becoming more popular, you can easily find them in your local supermarket.

1-1/2 cups fine-grain bulgur (9.0 ounces)
3 cups boiling water (24 ounces)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1.2 ounces)
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2  teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (1.7 ounces)
One 15.5-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drain well
1 cup finely diced roasted red pepper (6 ounces or two homemade roasted red peppers)
1/4 cup minced fresh Italian parsley (0.4 ounce)

Place bulgur in a large bowl. Add the boiling water and immediately cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Allow the bulgur to sit for 45 minutes, undisturbed.

Meanwhile, in a separate small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, cumin, cayenne and salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is well blended. Set aside.

After the bulgur sits for 45 minutes, uncover. The bulgur have tripled in volume. You will notice excess water sitting in the bottom of the bowl.

Drain the bulgur through a fine sieve, pressing out all the excess water from the bulgur.

In a large mixing bowl, add the bulgur, garbanzo beans, roasted red peppers and parsley. Toss well until thoroughly combined.

Add the dressing and give the bulgur mixture another toss until thoroughly combined. Transfer bulgur to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours before serving, allowing the flavors to bloom.

The salad can be eaten on its own along with some pita wedges or as a lettuce wrap. I like to serve this salad as a side dish to salmon or grilled chicken breast.

Yield 6 to 8 servings as a side dish or 4 as a main course

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