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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Moroccan Spiced Bulgur & Chickpea Salad

The hard crunch of carrots and almonds, the chewy toothsomeness of chickpeas and cranberries, against a backdrop of whole grains, touched off with the bright hint of fresh mint, which seems incongruous and yet somehow perfectly ties it all together. Having been raised on casseroles, meat and potatoes, I'll admit to a certain Midwestern bias in me that tends to view with initial skepticism anything that looks too much like rabbit food. But if you share my bias, try not to judge this book by its cover. I was blown away by how much I loved this healthy, filling salad. It makes a great lunch or snack on its own, or combined with a sandwich. It makes a nice side dish for a grilled chicken breast dish.

This recipe came to me from my dear friend Lynn (aka Butter Vixen), who is becoming a quick study at delicious, healthy vegetarian meals. She brought us six different individually packed lunch servings of this salad in the first days after the birth of our son, when he was still in the NICU, and we were still making the daily commute to downtown Chicago to spend as much time with him as we could. Rather than try to get by on hospital cafeteria food, and knowing we didn't have time to make our own lunches, she thoughtfully provided this tasty, healthy, and filling salad. I think perhaps I will always associate its unique taste with thoughtfulness, kindness, and love.

Light, healthy recipes that make great lunches are a fantastic way to help save money in these tough economic times. This recipe is a great pack-a-lunch food also because it doesn't need to be refrigerated continuously. Just bring it with you and store it at your desk until you are ready to eat. (Although when storing it at home, I did store it in the refrigerator, for better food safety).

Moroccan Spiced Bulgur & Chickpea Salad

From Cooking Light

3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cumin (To taste, I use more)
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 c. boiling water
1 1/3 c. uncooked bulgur
1/3 to 2/3 c. matchstick cut carrots (I prefer more)
1/3 c. dried cranberries
3 Tbsp. slivered almonds, toasted
2 tsp. fresh mint
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas rinsed & drained

Combine first 6 ingredients & set aside (I put them all in a liquid measuring cup). Combine boiling water & bulgur in large bowl, cover, & let stand 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Mix remaining ingredients with bulgur, toss with dressing mixture.

Nutritional Information per serving (1 1/4 cup)= 450 cals, 13 g. protein, 6 g. fat


Unknown said...

This sounds lovely! Hope you guys are doing well :)

Kerstin said...

Yum - looks healthy, flavorful, and filling!

Ulla said...

love the colors in the photos. it looks delicious!

Kirby! said...

I love bulgur!! I could eat bulgur salads everyday! This one looks delish.

Nicole (Sweetie Pie) said...

That looks so good, and I love the pretty bowl too!

Astra Libris said...

Congratulations on the birth of your son!! How absolutely wonderful!! I am so happy for you!!

Your salad looks gorgeous, and such a wonderful story of love to go along with it!

Marie said...

Looks very colorful and healthy, love the addition of the cranberries! I think cranberries deserve more love! :P

Julie said...

These are seriously my favorite types of dishes. Grains, vegetables and FLAVOR. Mmm mmm.

Darius T. Williams said...

You can't go wrong w/something like this - looks amazing!

Adrienne said...

I have all of those things at home, right now. I think I know what I'm making tonight! I hope you and your family are healthy and happy :)

Sherihan said...

This salad turned out surprisingly delicious and very filling with lots of fresh flavors going on, its a keeper.

Erin said...

Everyone: glad to hear it sounded good to you, and thanks for the well wishes on my son (who still loves to eat every 2.5 hours throughout the night, God bless him).

Adrienne: I hope you enjoy it when you make it.

Sherihan: Glad that, like me, you found it exceeded your initial expectations. I always try to only post winners on the blog here for you all to try. I find that not being shy with the cranberry and mint is definitely key.

hannah said...

You could try varying this recipe with quinoa, which I've learned to use for Passover. Traditionally grown in the Andean mountains, it's higher in protein content than bulghur and has an interesting texture.

Erin said...

Hannah: great idea. Is bulgur out for passover? I had no idea. But I like your thought on quinoa. I love quinoa, and always keep it on hand to toss some into soups and stews. I admit that for no particular reason I've yet to make it into a side dish in its own right.

Anonymous said...

I am trying to increase the amount of grains in my diet and decrease the consumption of meat. I am looking forward to trying out this recipe. Looking at the pictures of your food in your blog is making my mouth water!

Rebeca said...

This sounds yummy. I’m going to have to try out that salad.

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