Chickpea & Roasted Pepper Bulgur Salad

I don't know about you, but vegetarian entrees fascinate me. You could put a plate of wildly exotic chicken in front of me and then a plate with a plain 'ole, homemade veggie burger in front of me, and I'm likely to choose the burger. And that's not because I'm a burger girl - I'm not. I just love the variation that comes with vegetarian meals. There's so much you can do just with beans alone, much less different vegetables and tofu (also sometimes known as unchartered territory for me, as of yet). I know in my brain that meat introduces more versatility to a diet (assuming you don't simultaneously rule out the good veggie options), but when push comes to shove, I am just always more excited by a dish like this one here, Chickpea & Roasted Pepper Bulgur Salad. A mouthful, but it sounds good, right?

Of course right.

This recipe for chickpeas and bulgurs and roasted peppers came from none other than the Smitten Kitchen, and it just may be the first non-dessert I've tried from her (I'm not going back into my 50+ entries to check this), and it was a big success. And by that I mean, I only made it for myself, so its recorded of pleasing its eaters is currently 1 for 1. Regardless, it's an extremely delicious option for a light dinner or lunch. I didn't switch much up, except the recipe calls for red peppers and yellow tomatoes, but yellow tomatoes hide from me at the supermarket, so I chose to do yellow peppers and red tomatoes. Then there was the dried parsley instead of fresh because, well, we've gone over that one before. I also may or may not have used a red onion - I tend to only buy white ones because I mostly cook my onions, and I never know how red ones are supposed to taste not mostly raw. I can't remember. This is why I now take notes on my meals - I do it for you guys. All for you, and only minimally to shield my pride from the embarrassment of never remembering anything about the food I eat by the time I get around to blogging about it. I really do need to catch up to speed here.

So anyway, I know that it's slightly past the season of lighter meals, and probably everyone on earth is posting about soups and stews and casseroles. But you can't eat heavy dishes all the time, right? And every so often you're still just in the mood for a smaller meal, right? So you see, I'm not being completely seasonally inappropriate. Except I'm sure tomatoes are out of season by now, so maybe I am. But regardless of season or appropriateness, this bulgur salad tastes good. It's a little citrusy and super light, yet you walk away satiated. There are varying textures going on, from slightly firm chickpeas to crunchy lettuce and soft bulgur and roasted peppers. Also, it looks pretty with all of the different colors playing off each other, and with crockpot season on our tails, it's not often these days we get to say that a meal both tastes and photographs well.

Bulgur Salad with Chickpeas and (Red) Peppers, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 4 as a main course (I cut it in half for 2 meals)
The Ingredients
1 1/2 C fine-grain bulgur
3 C boiling water
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (I use the bottle, come on now)
1 tsp honey
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt (omitted)
1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
6 oz drained jarred roasted red peppers, diced, about 1 C (I roasted my own - wait until you hear that story!)
1/2 C quartered yellow cherry tomatoes
1 small red onion, finely chopped (to reduce its bite, you can soak it and then squeeze it out with the bulgur for some or all of the absorption time)
1/4 C minced fresh parsley leaves (or an indiscriminate amount of dried, about 2 Tbsp. should do the trick)
1 medium head Bibb lettuce, leaves separated (or any salad greens - I probably used a spring or romaine mix) 4 pita breads, warmed and cut into wedges

The Method
1. Prepare the bulgur by placing it in a large bowl and adding the boiling water to it. Set aside, stirring only occasionally, until the bulgur has softened (15-20 min). For some reason, I'm always nervous to prepare grains this way (okay, I know the reason - it's because the back of the package doesn't tell me that I can, not that that's stopped me haphazardly preparing any other food group), so I just cooked it based on the instructions on the package.
2. No matter how you manage to cook the bulgur, once you get there, drain it well and return it to the bowl.
3. While the bulgur cooks, whisk the lemon juice, honey, cumin, cayenne, and salt (if using) together in a small bowl. Continue whisking as you slowly add the oil until the dressing is smooth, or an otherwise desired consistency.
4. Add the chickpeas, roasted peppers, tomatoes, red onion, and parsley to the bowl of bulgur and mix it up to incorporate it. I also heated mine on the stove top (in the same pot used to prepare the bulgur) for a little bit, because I prefer these kinds of things to be warm. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
5. Assemble plates by lining them with lettuce, top with bulgur, and arrange the pita around it.

Aside from all of the chopping and prep work that goes into this, it's a very feasible meal to do for a weeknight, or the night before to bring in for lunch the next day. It kept well overnight in the fridge, and I don't think I have any complaints.

Now as for those homemade roasted red peppers, that story deserves a whole post of its own...

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Post a Comment