This robust, broadly flavored salad, from Lukas Volger’s Vegetarian Entrees That Won’t Leave You Hungry,
can be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled, which makes it perfect on-the-go food. The prep time is fairly brief and efficient—if you start cooking the bulgur before chopping or cooking any of the other ingredients, all of the elements will come together at the same time. A note about the kale: In this recipe, the cooking time is fairly brief, so it’s somewhat chewy. It you prefer it to be more tender, Lukas recommends steaming or parboiling the kale before stirring it into the peppers and onion. This salad also makes an excellent stuffing for red, yellow, or orange peppers, as described in the variation below.
Bulgur Salad with Kale and Feta
Serves 3 or 4. Cooking time including preparation: 30 minutes
1 cup (180 g) bulgur
2 cups (475 ml) water
1 tablespoon neutral oil (canola, grapeseed, peanut, or vegetable oil)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 small red onion, or 1/2 large red onion, sliced into strips
2 jalapeño peppers, minced (seeded for a milder heat level)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) dry white wine or water
1/2 bunch kale (about 6 ounces, 170 g), cut into thin strips
3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (15 g) coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
3 ounces (85 g) feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Combine the bulgur and water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, until tender. Strain off any water that hasn’t been absorbed.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the neutral oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and let sizzle until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook until it’s browned around the edges, about 6 minutes. Stir in the jalapenos, garlic, and salt. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add the kale and cook, tossing from time to time, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly. Stir in the scallions, cilantro, feta, cooked bulgur, and olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.
LEFTOVERS: Stored in an airtight container, this salad will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Variation: Stuffed Peppers
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Prepare Bulgur Salad with Kale and Feta. While the bulgur is cooking, steam 4 yellow or red bell peppers until tender but not completely soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet or plate and, once cool enough to handle, slice in half lengthwise and carefully remove the seeds and ribs. Divide the salad among the peppers, then place them in a greased roasting dish into which they will all fit snugly. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the filling is heated through and browned on the top. Serve warm, 2 pepper halves per person.
Recipes from Vegetarian Entrees That Won’t Leave You Hungry, copyright © Lukas Volger, 2011, $17.95. Reprinted by permission of The Experiment Publishing.