Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bulgur Salad with Walnuts, Bell Pepper and Cucumber

If you are looking for a cold bulgur salad that is big on flavor this dish fits the bill. This is an adaptation of a recipe I found in a middle eastern cookbook. My version has a lot less olive oil, and I think more flavor. The salad actually improves as it sits in the refrigerator overnight. I like to have this around for a quick lunch with mesclun.

Bulgur Salad with Walnuts, Red Bell Pepper and Cucumber
Makes 6 entrée sized servings


For the bulgur:
1 ½ cups of bulgur, uncooked
1 tablespoon of kosher salt
3 –4 cups of water to cook bulgur

Salad dressing:
zest and juice from one lemon
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon of cumin seed, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon of coriander seed, toasted and ground
½ teaspoon of sweet paprika
½ teaspoon of allspice berries, ground
½ teaspoon of black pepper, freshly ground

Fresh uncooked items to be added to the salad once cold:
½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 English cucumber, finely diced
kosher salt for pepper and cucumber

Optional ingredients for garnish:
Parsley sprigs
Toasted pine nuts
Pomegranate molasses to drizzle on top


Cook bulgur in simmering water with kosher salt until tender. This should take approximately 20 minutes. Drain the bulgur in a fine wire sieve before proceeding.

Make the dressing so that it can be added the bulgur while it is still hot. Combine all the dressing ingredients and mix well to combine. The warm bulgur will absorb the dressing more completely than a cooled grain. Place the bulgur in the refrigerator to thoroughly chill before proceeding.

Chop the fresh ingredients finely. Lightly salt the bell pepper and cucumber and place in a colander for them to release some of their liquid. If the vegetables seem very wet it wouldn’t hurt to pat them with a couple of dry paper towels to remove additional moisture before adding them to the grain. In fifteen to thirty minutes add the fresh ingredients to the salad provided the dressed grain is completely cold. Toss the ingredients and check for seasoning before returning to the refrigerator.

To serve:

This salad needs to sit a few hours to absorb all the flavors and allow them to marry. This bulgur salad is good served with warm pita bread and/or falafel or a green salad with a lemon and tahini dressing. I would pair this with a dry white wine, like a Pinot Grigio.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 245.58
Calories From Fat (33%) - 80.4
Total Fat - 9.48g
Saturated Fat - 1.03g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 482.19mg
Potassium - 373.18mg
Total Carbohydrates - 37.58g
Fiber - 8.64g
Sugar - 5.5g
Protein - 6.72g


This salad has a lot of flavor. The allspice adds something unusal to the dish that is not prominent enough to pick out. The pomegranate molasses really shines in this recipe. If you haven't had it is tart and somewhat sweet at the same time. Once you try pomegranate molasses you will find yourself reaching for it often. If you are new to pomegranat molasses and have difficulty getting it out of the bottle try warming it in a tall pan of simmering water on the stove. If that doesn't work use a chop stick to coax the molasses out of the bottle. It can be difficult to get starting flowing but is very worth the effort.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this salad. Worth repeating.


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