6 June 2009

No Croutons Required Bulgur and Chickpea Salad with Feta and Pomegranate Dressing

Bulgur and Chickpea Salad with Feta and Pomegranate Dressing

When the temperature rises to 40 Celsius the thoughts of eating more than a delicious salad makes me feel sluggish just thinking about it. Plus the fact that turning on the oven would be a travesty and I would feel the effects in the house for days. Thank goodness for the side burner on my barbecue to cook those sauces or anything boiled or stir fried. Comfort food in the summer becomes anything that requires little cleanup which is where the barbecue becomes my best friend or anything that leans towards delicious and healthy salads. I eat a great deal of salad during the summer months so am always looking for ways to pack protein, carbohydrates and power foods into one bowl.

It has been a little while since I attended the vegetarian blogging event No Croutons Required despite my best of intentions . The founders of this event are the talented duo Holler of Tinned Tomatoes and fellow Canadian Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen. Each month they are looking for our vegetarian soups or salads with the theme for this month being GREENS. Both of these ladies follow a vegetarian and healthy lifestyle which is evident in each of their feature stories. They have heard me say this before but they are both such sweeties that I have to participate in their event as often as I can...and I will say it again!!

The main bonus of this salad is that it requires no cooking at all which in theses hot Okanagan summers is a blessing. You can retire your oven with dishes like this and still have all the nutrients you need for your daily consumption. It is a mixture of all of my favourite things and everything that is good about summer like juicy ripe tomatoes, multicoloured carrots and sun drenched cucumbers.
It begins with bulgur wheat which is a quick-cooking form of whole wheat that has been cleaned, parboiled, dried, ground into particles and sifted into distinct sizes. The result is a nutritious, versatile wheat product with a pleasant, nut-like flavor and an extended shelf-life that allows it to be stored for long periods. It is often confused with cracked wheat, bulgur differs in that it has been pre-cooked. I packed some greens into one of my favourite salads with some baby spinach which is one of the superfoods!!! Calorie for calorie, leafy green vegetables like spinach with its delicate texture and jade green color provide more nutrients than any other food. For added measure I add garbanzo beans which are also known as chickpeas which have a delicious nut-like taste and buttery texture. They also provide a good source of protein and dietary fiber. All of the above are enveloped in anti-oxidant rich pomegranate dressing for that extra boost of nutrient's as well as incredible flavour and a deep rich colour!!!

For a picnic serve it in halved green peppers.

Speaking of healthy eating stay tuned for some exciting news beginning on Sunday June 7th from me here at More Than Burnt Toast and Shelby at The Life and Lives of Grumpy's Honeybunch. Let's see what these 2 Gals have in store for you!!!

**Bulgur and Chickpea Salad with Feta and Pomegranate Dressing**

1 cup uncooked bulgur wheat
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup diced English cucumber
1/2 cup diced plum tomato
1 cup drained canned chickpeas
1/4 -1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
1/2 cup Pomegranate-Orange Dressing (recipe below)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large handfuls baby spinach

Combine all ingredients for dressing. Set aside.

Rinse bulgur wheat under tepid water; drain well. Combine with dressing and allow to sit for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator. The lemon juice and the liquid in the dressing will "cook" the bulgur wheat.

Allow couscous mixture to come to room temperature. Combine couscous with all remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well to combine. Serve.

Serves 8

**Pomegranate Dressing**

2 -1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus lemon zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 - 4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except oil, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk until well combined.

Note: Refrigerate dressing in an airtight container for up to five days; stir well before using.

Makes about 1- 1/2 cups (serving size: 1 tablespoon)

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. Oh wow, this sounds so flavourful Val. Love the dressing! Thanks for participating this month. Jackie and I always love it when you submit one of your creations. And we think you are a sweetie too :)

  2. I have the same feelings about warm weather and salad - which is why we had salad for dinner Thursday night.

  3. Oh my goodness, chickpeas, bulgur, spinach and feta - so many of my all time favorite foods, all in one dish!! You made my day!

  4. This salad sounds perfect for a hot day! It is nice and tasty and healthy.

  5. Dear Vall, always I love and eat salads (today we are in autumn but I eat chicken with alot of watercrees I love it!!) So I love you salad and love bulgur too always I have!!! Thanks Gloria

  6. It's salads like these that will fill the patio table, right beside the grill!

  7. I've been eating salads during the heat wave also. You made a healthy one. I have to try the pomegranate dressing. Looks really good.

  8. Thanks for entering Val! I love the salad anyway, but the dressing just makes it extra special!

    ps could we have some of your heat please. It seems to have leaked!

  9. i'm trying to cook as little as possible in our heat too (though it has not been in the 40s thankfully!)

    this would be more than enough for me -if anyone wants any grilled meat with this, i'm happy to show them how the oven works...

  10. A great looking salad and the dressing sounds lovely!

  11. It's nowhere near 40C here, quite the opposite, but the salad looks great nevertheless.

  12. oooh, i'll bet the textures in this are AMAZING, and that dressing sounds so refreshing and summery and superb. :)

  13. Come summertime I find myself hating anything that requires heat to make.

    I love pomegranate and any chance I have to mess around with it I am definitely all about.

    Nicely done and stay cool!

  14. This is perfect for summer! I have never thought to do a pomegranate dressing...yum!

  15. Excellent kool dish and very appropriate for the time of year, actually good all year round. kisses :) xxx

  16. This sounds lovely - I like the idea of the pomegranate tang!


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