Make this stunning Middle Eastern inspired Vegan Bulgur Salad in rainbow colours for your next party — serves 12 people or more!
Ingredients bring inspirations.
In this case, the inspiration came from three generous sources.
My neighbour dropped off a 1 kg pack of fine grain bulgur. Given that I had just gone through Mission Pantry Clean Up, I didn’t want to get back to my old habit of hoarding ingredients. I decided to make a bulgur salad to sell in my community, via an app we all use to buy and sell food from each others’ kitchens. I shall tell you more about Foody Buddy in a later post, perhaps.
The second inspiration came from these happy trays of micro greens that the Living Food Company sent me home to try out. These were red radish, kale and sunflower micro greens, plenty for just two of us at home. I thought it would make a great addition in terms of flavour and visual appeal for this bulgur salad. This way I would also get to share the green gifts with my neighbours.
The third inspiration came from this cache of spices that friend, Ajit got back from his work trip to Turkey. I had seen him use small clumps of Turkish saffron as a garnish for the bulgur dish he had made for our Saturday dinner together. It is not at all as strongly flavoured as Kashmiri saffron so you can use more than a couple of teaspoons per dish. I used the salad spice mix and the Turkish saffron to flavour the salad.
The Turkish Salad Spice Mix
A bit of digging around on the internet lead me to the ingredients in this Turkish salad spice mix. The spice mix listed by WholeSpice.com has Urfa Chili, Sumac, Sea Salt, Oregano, Cumin, Bay Leaves, Garlic and Citric Acid. Apart from adding this to the usual salad along with olive oil, it can also be sprinkled on top of hummus or any other Middle Eastern dips. This seems like something we can easily prepare at home.
It is the Nagpur Orange Season here – and the oranges are deliciously sweet and juicy. I soaked the bulgur in a combination of freshly squeezed orange juice and water along with stock cubes for added flavour. The rest of the ingredients is upto you, but I love choosing ingredients in all different colours, not just for a stunning presentation but also for the nutritional benefit we get from eating the colours of the rainbow. #Eattherainbow, yo!
Bulgur Salad for a Crowd
This bulgur salad recipe serves a crowd, makes roughly 12 -13 cups of salad, serving 6-12 people. I made double this recipe, to make 24 cups of salad to make 12 bigger servings. The salad stays good for a couple of days in the refrigerator. It may dry out as the bulgur keeps absorbing all the liquids. Refresh it with some more freshly squeezed orange juice + extra virgin olive oil before eating.
This rainbow bulgur salad is an excellent centrepiece salad dish for a party, be it Thanksgiving or Diwali. Any festive menu could do with one such wholesome healthy dish.
For a gluten free option, use little millets or quinoa instead of bulgur.
You can also get these trays of various micro greens delivered to you in Bangalore – Check out livingfood.co
Party menu with a Middle Eastern theme
If you are looking at a Middle Eastern food theme for your next party menu, along with this bulgur salad, you can also include:
- Eggplant Dip – Mutabal
- Baba Gannoush – another eggplant dip
- Pumpkin Hummus
- You can prepare beans tossed in herbs and olive oil, served with Lavash and Pita breads. Mujadra – a rice and lentil based dish with a yogurt dip like Labneh can be served for the mains. Store bought Baklava as the dessert to the rescue 🙂
Vegan Rainbow Bulgur Salad
- 100 grams almonds chopped roughly
- 2 medium onions finely chopped
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 cups fine grain bulgur
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1.5 cups fresh orange juice
- 2 veg stock cubes*
- 3 European cucumbers
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- 2 Nagpur oranges Mandarins
- 1 cup mint leaves
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp Turkish saffron optional
- 4 tbsp Turkish Salad Spice*
- few handfuls of micro greens*
- Almonds: In a heavy bottomed pan or the microwave, toast the almonds until aromatic and golden brown.
- Onions: In a small bowl, combine the chopped onions with the vinegar and two pinches of salt. Cover and keep aside for 15 minutes. This gives a tangy flavour to the onions, taking the bite off the raw onions.
- Bulgur: Bring the water to boil in a saucepan. Turn off the flame, and mix in the orange juice and stock cubes. If using vegetable stock, then bring that to a boil and mix in the orange juice. Place the bulgur in a large pot with a lid. Pour the hot liquids over the bulgur. Give it a stir. Cover and keep aside for 3-4 minutes or until all the liquids are absorbed. Fluff up the grains with a fork such that there are no clumps. Keep covered for 5 more minutes. Remove the bulgur now onto 2 baking trays or large plates and allow to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, prep all the other ingredients. Dice the English cucumbers into a 2 cm dice. No need to peel these.
- Peel and coarsely grate the carrots.
- Peel and segment the oranges. Peel each segment and discard the peel. Gently break each segment into halves and keep aside.
- Coarsely chop the mint leaves.
- One the bulgur is cooled, divide all the ingredients (except almonds and micro greens) between the two trays of cooled bulgur. If you have a large sized bowl, you can do the same in one big bowl, mixing all the ingredients gently along with the extra virgin olive oil and spices.
- Toss in the toasted almonds and micro greens towards the end or top each serving with a sprinkling of these.
- Instead of stock cube and water, use 1.25 cups of low sodium vegetable stock
- You can prepare your own veg stock in the pressure cooking using my recipe here.
- Instead of Turkish Salad Spice - use a mix of salt, oregano, chilli flakes, coarsely pounded cumin and sumac.
- Instead of micro greens, use bean sprouts or thinly sliced mix of greens.
- Other ingredients you can use in this salad: finely chopped parsley, chopped seedless dates, halved cherry tomatoes