Summer vegetable salad with bulgur

Bulgur is made of whole wheat. It is first cooked, subsequently dried and then ground into grains of various shapes and sizes. Of all the types of bulgur available, I prefer coarse bulgur when making a summer salad. Bulgur is to be found in Turkish and Moroccan shops and market places. Bulgur is also a part of the regional kitchens of southern Italy and on the island of Sicily. Make the following salad with bulgur a few hours in advance so that all of the juices in the vegetables and their dressing can soak into the grains.

Ingredients

  • 175 grams of coarse bulgur
  • two fresh red peppers
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 25 grams of flat leaf parsley
  • 125 grams of carrots
  • 125 grams of string beans or haricots vert
  • 10 fresh cherry tomatoes

For the dressing

  • the peel of one organic lemon
  • 40 grams of organic lemon juice
  • 20 grams of Dijon mustard
  • 20 grams organic honey
  • 100 grams of extra virgin olive oil
  • a pinch of Himalaya salt
  • ground white pepper

Wash the green beans and line them up side by side on a cutting board. Cut off the stems diagonally on each end. Meanwhile put 1/2 liter of water on to boil, adding sea salt for flavor. Boil the green beans two minutes.

Rather than draining the beans in a colander, lift them out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon.Use the same pan of water to steam the bulgur. In this manner the bulgur gains extra flavor from the water used in the cooking of the green beans. Add a fresh red pepper along with the bulgur. Cover the pan with a lid and turn off the heat. Allow the bulgur to soak 25 minutes. Meanwhile, continue with the vegetable preparations.

Wash and peel the carrots and grate them coarsely. Wash and dry the flat leaf parsley and cut both the leaves as wells as the stems with a good sharp knife into recognizable but finely cut fresh green speckles. Wash the second red pepper and cut it into very thin rounds (optional but highly recommended for a nice colorful crunch). Wash and zest one lemon, setting the zest and juice aside.

To make the dressing put a bit of salt and the lemon juice into a mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve the salt. Add the Dijon mustard and honey. Whisk the ingredients together with a fork and drizzle the extra virgin olive oil into the bowl a little at a time.  Mix the dressing well into a smooth vinaigrette.

Remove the lid from the bulgur and fluff it up with a fork. Stir the carrots, green beans, flat leaf parsley, red peppers and lemon peel through the bulgur and stir with a wooden spoon, saving some lemon peel and pepper slices for decoration. Taste the salad, checking it for the right balance between the lemon, salt, red peppers and olive oil.  If so desired, add some lemon juice.

Put the salad in a bowl and chill it at least one hour.  When ready to serve taste the bulgur once again, adding seasoning if needed.  Slice ten cherry tomatoes in half and decorate the serving bowl with the lemon peel, peppers and tomatoes. Serve the salad to friends and family, saving any leftovers for a picnic at the park.

♦  Suggested combinations
Serve this colorful dish with even more beautiful vegetables like grilled red peppers. Make a very green salad by tossing generous handfuls of the leaves of fresh basil, mint, arugula and flat leaf parsley with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt through the bulgur.

♦  Notes
Spelt or buckwheat are equally good and work well as a substitute for bulgur.

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