It’s high summer, and we can’t get enough of the produce that’s flooding the markets – and our garden! We still can’t bring ourselves to fire up the stovetop or oven – partially because of the heat, but mainly because it tastes so good fresh!
We’ve been hooked on veggie and grain salads, which are a wonderful way to enjoy the raw goodness. This recipe uses not only a few of my favorite seasonal veggies (sweet corn and garden tomatoes), but a new favorite grain – bulgur wheat.
Ever eaten bulgur? (It’s commonly used in tabbouleh.) Not only does it have a delicious chewy texture, nutty flavor, and a high nutritional content, but it cooks in just 15 minutes! And all you have to do is boil some water in a teapot. Now that’s my kind of cooking!
While bulgur is most often served with Mediterranean flavors, I came across this idea for serving it with Cajun spices, which was the perfect compliment to the sweet corn and kidney beans I was hoping to use. The combination of flavors was perfect, and a nice change from the Mediterranean or Latin flavors we tend towards.
I loved the mix of textures and flavors in this salad, with the spicy kick of the Cajun spices punctuated by the sweet corn kernels and bite of the fresh oregano. While this was a great combination, it would be easy to get creative with the bulgur base and add your own favorite veggies, herbs, and seasonings!
Check our your local markets for in-season produce! Bulgur is available at most grocery stores, especially in the bulk foods section.
Here are a few other ways to enjoy fresh veggies this summer:
Buckwheat Pasta with Tomatoes and Tahini
Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Black Bean and Quinoa Bowl with Peach Salsa
German Cucumber Salad
And more to come!
Cajun Bulgur Salad
Serves 3 to 4 as a main
Notes: The amount of spice to add depends on the Cajun spice blend you purchase, and your tolerance for heat. Make sure to start conservatively, and taste until you find the desired spice level! (Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it out!)
There are several methods for cooking bulgur; some methods use a 2:1 ratio of water to bulgur and let the bulgur sit for 30 minutes, but we found the 1:1 ratio and 15 minutes worked just as well. The cooking time also depends on the size of the grain; finer bulgur cooks faster. If you buy it in a package, follow the cooking directions; otherwise, follow the instructions below and make adjustments as necessary; the bulgur should be soft but chewy when done.
What You Need
1 1/2 cups bulgur wheat
1 can kidney beans
3 ears corn
1 green pepper
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (any type; we mixed cherry tomatoes and roma tomatoes)
Handful fresh oregano (or a few dashes dried)
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
~1 tablespoon or more Cajun spice blend (depending on the spice level of your blend)
Fresh ground pepper
Kosher salt (optional)
1 Heat 1 1/2 cups water in a teapot. Place 1 1/2 cups bulgur wheat in a bowl or sealable container. When the water boils (it will only take a minute), pour the water over the bulgur and seal the container (or place plastic wrap over the top of the bowl). Let the bulgur sit for about 15 minutes until the water is absorbed, then fluff with a fork.
2 Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables: cut the tomatoes into bite sized chunks (cut cherry tomatoes in half). Slice the corn off the cob. Chop the green pepper. Finely dice the shallot. Chop the oregano. Drain the kidney beans and rinse them.
3 When the bulgur is done, place it in a large bowl with the tomatoes, corn, green pepper, shallot, and beans. Then add about 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, about 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, fresh oregano, and fresh ground pepper. Mix and taste; add more seasonings as desired (add kosher salt if necessary, depending on the salt content of the spice blend).