Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mixed Greens and Bulgur Salad (Vegan)

Happy New Year!  Everyone all cookie-d out?  Feeling the richness of the holidays?  Yeah, me too.  Have no fear, I've got a healthy and tasty dish for you!

This weekend I was doing some meal planning (to avoid the inevitable "oh, we'll just make spaghetti" reaction at the end of the day), and combing through loads of healthy cookbooks and blogs.  I knew I wanted to make my Sweet Potato and Rosemary Soup, but was craving some greens-filled side dish to round out the meal in a healthy way.

I came across two recipes and decided to modify it a bit for my tastes.  They included bulgur wheat as the grain, and I was excited to try something new.  I usually use quinoa in this situation, but the husband was looking for something different.

Look at those greens, don't you feel better already?  I used a mix of baby kale, spinach, mizuna, chard, and arugula.  You could also used mustard greens, collard greens, or turnip greens as well.  Whichever of these (solo or a combo) strikes your fancy would work just fine.

And toasting up some walnuts for a topping - heart healthy and yummy.

This recipe called for white wine vinegar, but I didn't have any on hand, so red wine vinegar was my substitute.  Vinegar can quickly overpower, but in this application it's the perfect amount of acid to add flavor to this dish.

Also, one recipe called for dates, and the other for raisins.  I thought I'd give craisins a whirl, and they worked perfectly in it.

I was going for healthy, but I'll be honest, I was a tad worried it would taste a bit like bird food.  The husband shared my trepidation, but we were pleasantly surprised at the wonderful flavor!  Nutty, chewy, with the vinegar adding a complex aspect to it - yum.  A perfect side dish or even a light main dish.

Mixed Greens and Bulgur Salad
(adapted from Eating Well and Eat Well With Janel)
Makes about 6 servings

1 cup bulgur, dry
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
5 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
10-12 oz your greens of choice, chopped or thinly sliced, tough stems removed
1/3 c craisins
2-3 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

Wash greens (if necessary), remove tough stems, and chop or thinly slice.  Set aside.

Prepare bulgur according to package directions. Transfer to a sieve and rinse under cool water; drain. Toast walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring, until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

Place 5 teaspoons oil and shallots in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook until the shallots start to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add greens, craisins and 2 tablespoons water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender and the water evaporates (add another tablespoon of water if the pan is dry before the greens are tender), about 4 minutes. Stir in vinegar, salt and pepper, and the prepared bulgur; cook until heated through, about 1 minute.  Sprinkle with the walnuts before serving.


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