Summertime is the season for barbecues, picnics and salads, but you may be looking for something different than the ubiquitous potato, macaroni or tomato salad. If you’ve ever eaten the middle Eastern dish of tabbouleh, you’ve had bulgur, a cracked wheat grain from kernels that are parboiled and dried before packaging. As a result, bulgur takes just a few minutes to cook, making it the perfect, easy grain when you want something different and don’t have much time. Just bring some water to a boil, dump in the bulgur, place the lid on top, turn off the heat and wait ten minutes. Fluff it with a fork, and you’re ready to use it — either hot with condiments, or in this case, cold with a lot of veggies and salad dressing. It’s like an artist’s canvas waiting for your creativity. In this case, I added chickpeas, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, scallions and parsley, plus some sheep’s milk feta cheese, then tossed it with a simple oil and vinegar dressing. It’s a great side dish, but could be a whole meal in itself, since it’s got the chickpeas and feta for protein, along with the vegetables. So try it and bring it to your next party or make it just for yourself. It lasts for a few days in the fridge, so you can enjoy the leftovers for lunch.
- 2 cups bulgur
- 5 cups water
- ½ cup cucumber, finely diced
- ½ red pepper, minced
- 3 scallions, sliced thinly
- a dozen cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 6 ounces sheep's milk feta, cut into small pieces
- 1 15 ounce can chick peas, drained and rinsed
- a bunch of parsley, minced
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup vinegar (I used white balsamic)
- salt, pepper to taste
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Add the bulgur, turn off the heat and put a lid on the pot.
- Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then fluff with a fork and place in a bowl to cool.
- When the bulgur is cool, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well with the oil and vinegar.
- Adjust seasonings if more salt or pepper is needed.