If meals were movies, this salad would be one of those huge ensemble cast pieces. (I must have the Oscars on the brain.)
The starring roles are filled by the eclectic duo of bulgur and red grapes, with strong supporting performances by such luminaries as toasted nuts and seeds, tangy feta, sharp-tongued spinach, and crowd-pleasing chickpeas. Oh! And don’t forget the lovable, sweet cranberries, jostling for a place on the stage.
It sounds like it could go awry with that much star power, but all of its elements blend together beautifully. The result is a overflowing whole-grain salad bursting with different layers of flavour and texture. Chewy bulgur, crunchy toasted nuts, smooth chickpeas, and lightly steamed fresh vegetables, all tossed in an unassuming white wine and olive oil vinagrette.
I’m not going to lie: I am in love with this salad. I have to wrestle the spoon out of my hand and put the leftovers in the fridge (good thing it’s even better the next day).
Bulgur Grape Salad with Nuts and Cranberries
Adpated from Fine Cooking
Yields 6 main-course portions or 10-12 side dish portions
This hearty whole-grain salad is full of plant-based proteins and rich nutrient sources. It is ideal to make the night before to allow the flavours to fully blend, and is a great take-along for lunch or to a party.
Any kinds of nuts and seeds can be used; just toast them first for fullest flavour.
1 cup medium bulgur wheat
1 cup red seedless grapes, washed and cut in halves
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup dried cranberries 4-5 large black olives, pitted and sliced thin
4 ounces fresh spinach
1 small bunch broccoli
1 small red pepper, diced
540 ml chickpeas, drained and rinsed (19oz can)
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 and set a kettle on. Place your cup of bulgur into a large bowl. Spread your nuts and seeds on a baking sheet at toast in the oven for about 5 minutes. Keep a careful eye on them so they don’t burn! When finished, turn off your oven and remove the nuts and seeds; set aside.
Meanwhile, when you water boils, take a cup of it and pour it over the bulgur. Stir well and cover. Set aside for an hour, until the bulgur has absorbed all the water. The bulgur should be tender.
To assemble the salad
Pour a a few inches of water into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; add your broccoli and let it steam for a few minutes, until bright-green and still crisp. Drain the water and toss with the fresh spinach; the heat will wilt the spinach down slightly. Set aside and let cool slightly.
Add the grapes, nuts and seeds, diced pepper, dried cranberries, olives, feta, drained chickpeas, and parsley to the cooled bulgur.
Add your olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Mix well. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
When your broccoli and spinach have cooled, add to the bulgur mix. Blend well and enjoy.
This keeps well in the fridge, tightly covered, for a few days. Serve cold. This is great to make ahead for a party.