Monday, March 4, 2013

Bulgur Salad With Chickpeas, Roasted Red Peppers And Spiced Cumin Dressing

Bulgur Salad With Chickpeas, Roasted Red Peppers And Spiced Cumin Dressing

2004 marked the year I started getting into nutrition.  I soon realized I was eating zero whole grains and perhaps that was not a good thing. I'll admit it - I was a carb-o-phobe. Until then, I didn't realize that whole grains were associated with keeping many chronic illnesses at bay while promoting weight maintenance. I always thought carbs=bloated belly. And that tends to be true with refined grains but I have since learned first hand that is not true with whole grains.  That discovery came at a good time because it was also around the time I had given up meat and poultry and I was always hungry. Fruit and vegetable based vegetarian days along with some pescatarian days is not a filling diet in the long run . I realized on the occasional days that I consumed whole grains, I did not have a post-dinner snack attack. And that sold me on bringing whole grains into my diet.  The question was: how do I prepare them? I could never eat them as a stand alone dish. Boring! So I set out collecting whole grain recipes online and stopped eschewing those sitting in my cookbooks and recipe files waiting to be sampled. Of the many recipes that have become regulars in my household, this is a favorite. You can enjoy this Moroccan dish as a salad, as shown (and skip the pita if you want to be really good), or you can fill the pita with the lettuce and salad and have a nice little vegetarian sandwich. 

I wanted to pass this recipe along to you today as it is Meatless Monday.  Mondays are always vegetarian recipe days at Savory, Sweet & Spicy but this one is really hearty and flavorful with a little spicy kick to it.  One that I think will be enjoyed by vegetarians and carnivores, alike.

Bulgur Salad With Chickpeas, Roasted Red Peppers And Spiced Cumin Dressing

1 c+ 1/2 c fine grain bulgur
3 c boiling water
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 c chopped roasted red peppers (*)
1/4 c minced fresh parsley leaves
1 Bibb or live lettuce head, leaves separated
4 pita breads, warmed and cut into triangles
- and for the vinaigrette
3 T fresh lemon juice
1 t honey
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t salt
1/4 c olive oil

Place the bulgur in a large bowl and add the boiling water. Set aside and stir occasionally until the bulgur has softened, about 20 minutes.  Drain the bulgur in a strainer, pressing out excess moisture.  Transfer drained bulgur back into the bowl.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette by whisking together the first 5 vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl.  Drizzle in the olive oil and whisk until incorporated.

Add the chickpeas, roasted red peppers and parsley to the bowl of drained bulgur.  Add in desired amount of dressing {I used it all}and toss to combine.

To serve, line 4 plated with lettuce leaves.  Spoon bulgur salad on top.  Nestle in pita wedges.

Serves 4.

(*) If you have time, roast fresh red peppers.  In a pinch, use jarred peppers but pat them dry.  It is critical to the consistency of this dish that the peppers and bulgur are free of excess liquid.
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Source: Epicurious, Jack Bishop

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