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Bulgur Salad with Roasted Peppers, Chickpeas and Pistachios

Pomegranate molasses, a Middle Eastern specialty, has hints of fruitiness and a concentrated sweet-sour taste. Here, its intensity combines with lemon juice and olive oil to create a dressing with full-ranging flavor. If you have a choice of bulgur styles, choose a medium grind to stand up to the hearty beans, nuts and dried fruits.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups medium-grind bulgur wheat
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup pistachios
  • 2 large jarred roasted red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, cilantro and/or mint, plus small whole leaves for garnish
  • 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries or dried sweet cherries
  • 2 cups plain yogurt (optional)

Directions:

Put the bulgur in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the broth to a boil. Pour the broth over the bulgur, cover and let stand until the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. of the salt and several grindings of pepper until the sugar dissolves. Add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is well blended.

In a small bowl, stir together the chickpeas and the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Whisk the dressing to recombine, then add it, along with the chickpeas, to the bowl with the bulgur and stir to mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

When ready to serve, in a small bowl, stir together the pistachios and a pinch of salt. Add the pistachios, bell peppers, chopped herbs and cranberries to the bulgur and stir well. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Divide the salad among individual plates, garnish with whole herb leaves and top each portion with a dollop of yogurt. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Salad of the Day, by Georgeanne Brennan (Weldon Owen, 2012).