What is a salad? It sounds like a simple question but have a think. Does potato salad (cooled boiled potatoes in a mayonnaise/yoghurt based dressing with the occasional onion) have any relation to the recipe below other than the fact that neither are served hot? If you look on the internet for the definition of a salad, you will find many different answers. Personally, I like the description of pieces of food, ready to eat, that are small enough not to need any more cutting, with a dressing of some description. This happily encompasses most salads that I have come across in the past and also describes both this salad and the aforementioned potato one too.
Using bulgar as the base of a salad is something I would never have thought of doing until a couple of years ago when I helped with preparation for a party and was asked to make the recipe which this is based on – Mary Berry’s Herbed Quinoa and Bulgar Wheat Salad with Lemon and Pomegranate. That recipe is delicious and I would recommend trying it. The recipe below is close but not the same as I ate this quite a lot at university and ingredients like chives and pomegranate syrup (or molasses) were not easily available without driving out of the city. This led to a couple of ingredients being removed from the recipe, a few proportions being tweaked (because I love sun dried tomatoes and feta) and more dressing being included because I love this dressing. I also started substituting some of the olive oil in the dressing with the sun-dried tomato oil because I didn’t want to waste it and sun-dried tomatoes are not exactly student friendly when it comes to budgeting.
I feel as though I believed all salads were leaf based with lettuce, spinach, cabbage etc. forming the main constituent of the dish. I had ignored things like pasta and potato salad because I cannot stand mayonnaise and both of them tend to be coated with the stuff. It seems odd that I never thought much about this because I have known what Israeli salad is for a long time and I just classed the word “salad” as part of the name and not a description of the dish itself. Of course carbs like cous-cous or bulgar or barley (I’ve seen that one before) can be used as the base of salads. They turn the salad from a side dish into the main course as the carbohydrates help fill you up. They also tend to have lots of herbs and flavour which makes them wonderful to eat.
The recipe with today’s post does not contain either cucumber or raw tomato which is one of the reasons I like it so much. It proves you can have a delicious salad without either of them which is important as I feel that most people view both cucumber and tomato as staple ingredients in a salad. They do not have to be!
Let me know what you think if you try this one for yourself.
Bulgar Wheat and Quinoa Salad with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Work time: 10 – 15 minutes
Cooking and cooling time: 2 hours
300g bulgar wheat and quinoa (most stores now sell these mixed but if you can’t find that, just mix the two together with a 1:1 ratio)
150g drained sun-dried tomatoes (keep the oil they come in as this will be used later)
Seeds of half a pomegranate
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp chopped basil
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp honey
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tbsp sun dried tomato oil
Cook the quinoa and bulgar wheat mix according to the packet instructions. Tip into a large bowl and leave to cool.
Roughly chop the tomatoes and add them to the cooled carbs.
Crumble the feta into the bowl and gently stir everything together.
Sprinkle over the herbs and the pomegranate seed and stir again.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey and both oils before pouring this all over the salad.
Season with a little salt and pepper. Mix again and serve.
This can be stored for a few days in the fridge but make sure that the herbs don’t go off as they will be the limiting factor.
I hope you enjoyed the recipe. I don’t have any other similar recipes to this uploaded yet but I hope to pup some more up in the future. If you are interested in other dishes that work well as a cold lunch, check out my recipe ginger tofu – it’s packed with flavour, is easy to make and if you follow a plant based diet, you will be happy to know that it is completely vegan.
Have a good one and I will be back next week with some sort of meringue-based treat.