Mediterranean Grain Salad

by Ann on April 18, 2009

Mediterranean Grain Salad
Mediterranean Grain Salad

 

My friend Nicole recommended that I try this Mediterranean Grain Salad recipe that she found from Everyday Food- a Martha Stewart magazine.  The recipe contains bulgur, something I love to eat when I go places that serve it (in Omaha, that’s pretty rare).  I have never cooked with bulgur and found it to be so simple and wonderful!  I think it’s definitely a new favorite grain to cook with!  My problem with grains is cooking them correctly with the right amount of liquid/grain ratio and timing on the stove.  It’s not that I mess it up usually; I guess I don’t have a lot of patience for this and usually end up not cooking with grains, but I love eating them.  I need to get myself out of this mindset and try new grains!  Bulgur is pre-cooked, dried and cracked wheat so all you have to do is boil some water and throw it over the bulgur (remove from heat) and cover it for a half hour.  Then, strain it through a wire mesh strainer and you’re done.  Ridiculously simple, why was I intimidated?  The recipe calls for medium-grind bulgur but all I found in the bins was course-grind and it wasn’t a problem.  Bob’s Red Mill also sells a medium-grind bulgur.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup medium-grind bulgur
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 ounce fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  1. In a heatproof bowl, mix bulgur with  1 cup boiling water.  Cover, and let stand until tender but slightly chewy, about 30 minutes.
  2. Drain bulgur in a fine-mesh sieve, pressing to remove liquid; return to bowl.  Add tomatoes, parsley,vinegar and oil.  Season with salt and pepper and toss, top with cheese.  Take a a picture because it’s so pretty!

I found the original recipe (which included shallots) pretty good, however, for me the shallots were too intense.  After making this, I got all kinds of ideas in my head about more healthy varieties of this Mediterranean salad.  One more version I tried:  no need to measure in this version!  Chop up some fresh mozzarella cheese, grape tomatoes, parsley (basil would be better but our grocery store ran out today so I used the parsley from when I made the above recipe), 2 spears asparagus – cut into 1/2 inch pieces, a few heads of broccolini, cut into chunks.  Mix with the bulgur, add salt and pepper and either red-wine vinegar or balsamic, and extra virgin olive oil, mix.  Eat.  Yum!  Next time I’ll add some cut up grapes and pine nuts or roasted chicken or even the some leftover fillet.  It all would add a nutrient packed delicious flavor to the mix.  Warning!  If you decide to sautee some veggies such as spinach, do your best to drain the liquids before adding because it could get pretty watery.  Thanks Nicole!  You’ve created a monster.

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