Growing up, my sisters and I ate a lot of casseroles, baked chicken and occasional corn dogs or frozen pizza. My mom was a full-time teacher, and I can only imagine how she managed as well as she did. Speed and ease were always of the essence.
I think this salad would have appealed to her. It’s quick, only requires some minor chopping, and is pretty enough to make you feel like you’ve created something great – all in less than a half-hour.
If you’re not familiar with bulgur, it’s one of my favorite grains. It’s made by parboiling and cracking wheat berries. The resulting smaller size makes bulgur quick-cooking – actually, it requires little real cooking at all. You simply boil water and let the grains steep.
Bulgur is the cornerstone of many Middle Eastern dishes, and it can be used in much the same way you’d use rice or quinoa. When you buy it at the store, you’ll notice different grinds: fine, medium or coarse. I buy coarse because that’s what I’m used to (and it makes a heartier salad), but experiment to see which one you prefer.
I have been deep into whole grains lately, as I’ve been working on a book (“Whole-Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons,” out from Ten Speed Press in December 2013). I first thought up this recipe when we got our local co-op newsletter and there was a recipe for Spring Tabouli, a riff on tabouli with grapes, citrus and apricots. After a few experiments, I became enamored of this version, with strawberries, almonds, goat cheese, lemon juice, mint and basil.
It’s far from the traditional tabouli recipe and really only shares a few ingredients: bulgur, mint, lemon. But I think it shares a similar personality, and I’d serve it in much the same way, with fish, chicken or on its own with a substantial green salad. I’ve actually had leftovers for a light breakfast, and I can vouch for that, too.
Megan Gordon is a writer for TheKitchn.com, a national website for food and home cooking.
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