Warm Bulgur and Lentil Salad (Vegan)

December 27, 2014

I've been craving light dishes the past few days. I think my body is rebelling against all the rich foods that come with the winter holidays. This dish is still winter friendly, though, because it's a warm salad. It's a great pick-me-up food to recover from holiday gluttony and I think it'd be excellent cold. I was a little hesitant about this recipe when I was thinking it up, but it turned out really well. I used a few cape gooseberries here to brighten it up a bit but you could substitute something like tomatoes if you can't find them. They're often compared to pineapple. If you've had tomatillos, cape gooseberries are a sweeter version.

Bulgur is the central component here. Bulgur is a fabulous grain that's highly digestible and packed with nutrients. 100 grams has 12 grams of protein and 20% of your daily iron intake. It's relatively cheap too, so that's always great. All the ingredients used here are pretty inexpensive and seasonal. Bulgur is not celiac friendly, so I'd recommend switching it out for something like quinoa or wild rice instead if you're gluten intolerant.

I wanted to make this a one pot meal but lentils take quite a bit longer to cook than the other ingredients. If you like to plan ahead and cook beans and lentils for the whole week, this dish is for you. Otherwise just cook the lentils ahead of time, like I did. You can also leave them out, but the protein content will go way down. With the bulgur and lentil combination, you're looking at a meal that's very high in protein and other nutrients like magnesium and iron. Sweet potato adds vitamin C to increase your body's ability to absorb the iron, and kale adds extra nutrients. You can substitute carrots and spinach if you have them on hand. This is seriously good for you.

1 large onion, diced
1 small sweet potato, finely diced (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry bulgur
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 lemon
3 cups kale, de-stemmed and chopped
10-12 cape gooseberries, quartered
1 cup cooked lentils
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large pan over medium heat with some oil. Add the onion and cook for five minutes or until it starts to turn translucent. Add the sweet potato and stir for another five minutes, then toss in the garlic and cook for a further two minutes. Can you tell I actually timed things for this recipe?

Wash and juice the lemon, reserving the rind. Add the bulgur to the pan with the two cups water and the reserved lemon rind. Simmer for fifteen minutes. Remove the lemon and add the kale, gooseberries, and lentils. Season with the cumin, salt, and pepper. Throw the lid on the pan for a couple of minutes to let the kale wilt. Cape gooseberries don't need to be cooked, so they'll be perfect in the time it takes for the kale to cook. During that time you can prepare the dressing.

Juice of one lemon (2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, and mustard. Pour over the bulgur mixture, stir, and serve hot. The bulgur will absorb the dressing and it will taste amazing.

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