Success in life is all about balance, right?
I was lying in bed with my two-year-old at 6:40 yesterday morning (because she was crying at 6:38), dreaming about salad. After eating too many “Emergency” Cookies this week, all I wanted today was a nice, big salad. I made some bulgur on Tuesday to serve to my kids for lunch, but since my daughter’s friend was over and she wanted couscous and soy hot dogs, the menu changed. There I was, trying not to fall off the edge of the twin bed, thinking about the bowl of bulgur sitting in my fridge, when I remembered the beets I bought last week after reading a blog post about natural food coloring. The combination was obvious. My husband occasionally buys me a delicious beet-bulgur salad at work, and I set out to make my own at home.
This salad doesn’t take a lot of hands-on time to make, but it does involve a number of quick steps that each take time. I was in and out of the house–and the kitchen–a lot yesterday, so this salad didn’t actually happen until supper. It’s prettier in real life than in the photos here. Even my husband, who doesn’t like beets and didn’t eat the salad, said it looked good. However, I was rushing to get the salad to the hungry guests sitting at my table, so I quickly snapped a few pictures with my right hand, baby in my left. Maybe not the best choice for the food blog, but the right decision as a mother and hostess. We said life’s all about balance? Also, priorities.
The nice thing about bulgur is that it doesn’t need cooking, just rehydration. Soak it for an hour, and you’re good to go. In terms of hands-on time, it’s just as easy as couscous. You can stick it in the fridge in the morning before going to work, or even the night before, and come back to it at supper time.
Beets are also easy to toss in a pot and forget about for a half hour to an hour, depending on the size. The skins slip right off once they’re cooked. I’ve had this salad with raw beets, also, but I prefer my beets cooked.
The last make-ahead ingredient in this salad, unless you count washing greens, is hard-boiled eggs, though I cooked mine while I was setting the table and chopping vegetables. To make it vegan, swap the eggs for chickpeas. Or if you’re not vegan, you could use both. I just didn’t have any in my pantry yesterday. I actually prefer this salad with cubes of Bulgarian cheese in place of the eggs, but I didn’t have that either. If you use cheese, omit the salt from the recipe. I also meant to include dried cranberries, but due to the aforementioned rush to feed hungry guests while holding baby and snapping pictures, I completely forgot. And the salad was still delicious. Gotta love the flexibility of salads.
Did you make this? What’s your favorite version? Comment below.
Beet Bulgur Salad
Serves: 2 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side dish
4-5 large leaves of Romaine letter, torn into bite-size pieces
2 cups prepared bulgur
1 medium red beet, cooked or raw
1 large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley or cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup green onions (scallions), finely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1/2 cup chickpeas (optional)
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup cubed Bulgarian cheese
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons zaatar
1. Put one cup of dried bulgur and one cup of water in a bowl or container. Cover and ignore for at least an hour.
2. Wash and cut off stems of beets. Put in a pot of water and simmer for a half hour to an hour. When they are cooked, run under cold water, slip the skins off, and cut into cubes. Oh, and wear an apron!
3. Combine lettuce, prepared bulgar, chopped vegetables, chickpeas, dried cranberries, and eggs or cheese.
4. Season with lemon juice, olive oil, salt (unless you’re using salty cheese), and zaatar. Toss to coat.