A refreshing bulgur salad with the added goodness of chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and corn, all tossed up in a lemon-honey-mint dressing. Vegan and hearty enough to be a meal in itself, this salad is perfect for summer!
When the mercury soars, there is nothing quite like cooling down with a light, refreshing meal and a cool drink in hand. While summer is my favourite season here in Switzerland, it can be a downer sometimes because of the lack of air conditioning and given how the houses are built to trap heat within. That aside, I love that summer has a happy side effect – eating lighter meals that my body can thank me for!
Salads, the darling of summer barbeques and potlucks, need not be relegated to a side role. This hearty recipe is made with bulgur, chickpeas, corn, cherry tomatoes and cucumber, and tossed up with a lemon-honey-balsamic and mint vinaigrette. If it doesn’t have lemon, it isn’t really summer-ready, in my book! This salad is hearty enough to be a meal in itself, and can be chilled in the fridge or had at room temperature – as you will.
Health benefits of a bulgur salad:
Bulgur wheat, aka, cracked or broken wheat, is a popular ingredient in many traditional Middle Eastern dishes. Being a whole grain, and not refined, its nutritional value is much higher than refined wheat products, such as most pastas, rice, refined flour products. Bulgur is also considered to be good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and fibre.
How to make a bulgur salad:
- Preparing the bulgur: Bulgar cooks easily when pressure cooked. Just add two cups of water to one cup of bulgur and pressure cook it for 5 minutes (I use my Instant Pot for pressure cooking). Optionally, you could also cook it on the stovetop, using the same ratio of bulgur and water, and cook it for 20 minutes, on a medium heat. Once done, fluff up the bulgur with a fork, and combine it with the rest of the ingredients.
- Additional ingredients: I love using chickpeas to bulk up this salad, and cucumber and corn for their crunchy texture. I would have also loved to add pomegranate seeds; except I didn’t have any on hand. If you are not on a vegan diet, add some crumbled feta for a sharp contrast in flavour. Cherry tomatoes are always such a great way to round off any salad.
- The Dressing: Go with light and zesty rather than heavy and dense. I love making salad dressings with lemon juice as a base. I prefer not to use oil for this dressing, and I’ve used just honey, a splash of good quality balsamic vinegar, some freshly cracked black pepper and chopped or shredded mint leaves. Add a pinch of salt to taste.
- Combine: Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and mix it up with the rest of the salad components in a large mixing bowl, until the dressing coats the rest of the ingredients evenly.
For more summer recipes, take a look at:
this salad is perfect for summer!
For the bulgur:
- 1 cup bulgur
- 2 cups water
For the Dressing:
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- A pinch of salt to taste
For the salad:
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- ½ cup cucumber diced
- ¼ cup mint leaves shredded
- ½ cup chickpeas used canned chickpeas, drained
- 1/3 cup corn kernels I used canned corn, drained
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Prepare the bulgur using an Instant Pot:
- Add 1 cup of bulgur and 2 cups of water to the Instant Pot.
- Now put on the lid of the pressure cooker and set it to ‘Pressure Cook’ (or ‘Manual’) for 5 minutes (make sure the vent is in ‘Sealing’ position).
- Let the steam release naturally and open the lid of the IP once the safety valve comes down. Fluff up the cooked bulgur with a fork.
Prepare the bulgur on the stovetop:
- Add bulgur to the water in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to medium and cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the bulgur is cooked and all the liquid is absorbed. Fluff the cooked bulgur with a fork.
Prepare the salad:
- Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl, and whisk together.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together all the salad ingredients along with the prepared dressing. Mix together untill the dressing coats the rest of the ingredients uniformly.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled.
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