I have been on kind of a salad frenzy lately. I still love baking bread but lunch equals salad right now. And there are so many salads to be had! It’s not just some lettuce, tomato and cucumber but couscous, bulgur, quinoa, coleslaw, carrot, mexican, veggies, tunasalad … well all sorts of variations are possible. And a lot of the times my salad is just a ‘whatever I have left in my fridge’-salad. Waste nothing! Seriously, don’t throw away any leftovers from last nights dinner. Even if it ‘just’ half a tomato and a spoonful of couscous. All you do the next day is chopp op some dates, roast some nuts, add some fresh herbs, top with olive oil and you are golden.
Here follows a recipe for a salad or side dish I recently created for some friends. It has sweetness but some light spicyness as well. Feel free to experimate with all the elements and flavours!
Ingredients (serves about 2)
- 300 grams of Bulgur. (I bought a coarse, wholegrain bulgur)
- 1 sjalot, finely diced
- small handfull of dried dates, nice, big juicy dates, roughly chopped
- handfull of fresh coriander
- small handfull of your favourite nuts (mine is a mix of pistachios, pinenuts and almonds)
- two heaped teaspoons Za’tar seasoning
- one teaspoon of curry powder and/or curcuma
- 250 grams of pumpkin, diced
- 1 clove of garlic
First you bake the pumpkin in the oven. Chop it up in cubes, add one crushed clove of garlic and cover with some pepper, salt, olive oil and za’tar seasoning. za’tar is a new herb mix I came across at my local middle eastern deli. Mildly spicy and aromatic, it generally contains herbs such as oregano, thyme, coriander and sumac.
Put the oven on a 180 degrees Celcius and in goes the tray with pumpkin cubes. Now onto the bulgur. Are you all familiar with bulgur? Bulgur is again a Middle Eastern ingredient, maybe a bit similar to couscous, only a bit bigger. Both couscous and bulgur are wheat. Couscous will be done quite fast. This bigger bulgur needs a few minutes more.
Put the bulgur in a pan, add the dates and sjalot and give it a stir. No oil needed. Add boiling water, make sure you completely cover the bulgur. Now stir in the curry powder and/or kurkuma. This is not just for flavouring but for some yellow colouring as well, which I personally love. Add some za’tar to this mixture as well. I use it both for the pumpkin and the bulgur to bring the flavours together. Stir again, cover with a lid. Let it simmer for about five minutes.
Toast your nuts in a dry pan. No need to add any oil or butter! Put them aside.
Check on your bulgur. This means taste! If it is still too hard, it needs more time. I like it ‘al dente’, with a little bite to it. It is not as soft as couscous, so don’t expect that soft texture when you taste it. Drain it once cooked.
Check on your pumpkin. Remove from the oven once done. Take out the garlic clove
Time to serve. Bring out a nice bowl or serving dish, pour over the bulgur. Top with the pumpkin pieces, nuts and then the fresh coriander. Sprinkle over some good quality olive oil for some moisture
This would make a great combo with the lamb koftas I posted last month. Instead of bread serve the koftas over the bulgur and accompany it with some green leaves for some fresh crunch.
And I stress again, do not throw away any leftover bulgur. I had it the day after chopped with some fresh veggies, olives and some lovely fetacheese.