Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cilantro, Bulgur, and Black Bean Salad

Yes, it's another summer salad! This one happened when I went to buy parsley for a batch of tabbouleh, but became distracted by a big, fragrant bunch of cilantro instead. What ensued was the impulsive creation of a sort of quasi-Mexican tabbouleh, via the substitution of chili seasonings for the usual dill and mint, and the addition of a whole lot of vegetables. As its name implies, this packs a serious cilantro punch, so haters might want to look away right now. But for those of us who appreciate this oft-maligned herb's unique yumminess, this recipe makes a nice change from the more usual, Mediterranean-themed grain salads found on summertime tables. (NB that if you'd like to make it gluten free - or just want to shake things up - you can substitute quinoa for the bulgur!)

Cilantro, Bulgur, and Black Bean Salad
~ 1.5 cups bulgur
~ 3 cups vegetable broth
~ 8 scallions, thinly sliced
~ 1.5 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
~ 1 small cucumber, diced
~ 1 large carrot, grated
~ 1 small yellow squash, diced
~ 1 small red bell pepper, diced
~ 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
~ 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed (2 cups)
~ 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about 3 cups)
~ Juice of 2-3 limes (about 1/4 cup)
~ 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
~ 1 tbsp. hot sauce (more or less to taste)
~ 2 tsp. each: cumin, chili powder
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, thyme
~ A few grinds fresh black pepper

~ Bring the vegetable broth to a boil and add the bulgur; stir briefly, cover, and remove from heat. Allow to stand for 10-15 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.
~ In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, then add the cooked bulgur. (Pro tip: if you share my intolerance for uncooked oniony things, put the sliced scallions in a dish with a few tablespoons of water and microwave for two minutes to - as I like to think of it - "take the curse off." Drain and proceed.)
~ Mix everything until thoroughly combined, then cover and refrigerate; the longer it sits, the more completely the flavors will blend.
~ Serve cold or at room temperature, alone, as a side dish, or on a bed of leafy greens.

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