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Mediterranean Bulgur Salad

The following recipe was shared and made by my friend Jenny for our Fire Up the Grill event. You can view details of the event HERE.

Mediterranean Bulgur Salad



1 c. bulgur (cracked wheat)
1 1/3 c. vegetable (or chicken) stock1
1 - 4 oz can sliced black olives, drained1
1 c. black-eyed or chick peas, drained1
4 oz pine nuts
1 'good' pinch of saffron
1/2 T. ground cumin, to taste
1 t. ground pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed2
1 bunch green onions, sliced into approx. 1/4 pieces
1 1/2 c. cooked, frozen peas, drained
1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
8 oz (approx.) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
hot pepper sauce, to taste

Procedure:

Carefully toast the pin nuts in a dry skillet & set aside to cool. Wash the bulgur under cool water and drain (3x). Steep the saffron in ~1/4 c of hot stock for approx. 15 min. Bring the remaining stock to a boil, stir in the saffron mixture and pour this over the bulgur, stir, then cover and set aside until all liquid has been absorbed (approx. 90 min.). Combine the pine nuts with the bulgur and allow to cool to room temp.4 Combine the onions, (both) peas, carrots, olives, pepper, cumin, pepper sauce, oil & vinegar and mix well. Fold in the previously prepared bulgur mixture and allow to stand at room temp for several hours.3 Top with the sliced tomatoes just before serving.


Notes:
1. Used the drained juices from the peas and olives and dilute with the stock to a total of 1 1/2 cup.
2. Frozen garlic cubes (T.J.'s) may be used as well.
3. This dish should be prepared a day ahead to maximize flavors.
4. One can stop here, & refrigerate, then finish it the following day.

Post-preparation comments:
- Try reducing the total amount of stock used to hydrate the bulgur to 1 1/4 c. and the vinegar to 3/8 c. to reduce the 'soupiness' of the final dish.

Some possible ingredient changes:
--play with the amount of cumin vs saffron used.
-- replace the cumin & saffron with curry powder.
-- substitute lemon juice for the vinegar (one may also then need to add sugar or honey to cut the acidity)
-- add lemon and / or orange zest, to taste
-- substitute toasted walnuts or almonds for the pine nuts.
-- add chopped parsley and / or mint and / or cilantro.

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