You know, I don’t really mind cooking in the Summer. Plus, I’m not a huge fan of raw tomatoes. Sorry to disappoint. So what you see here is my version of a grain salad, with some cooked veggies and chickpeas roasted in some spices. You’ve got the lightness of the bulgur, the crunch of the lightly cooked green beans, and a pop of sweetness from the raisins. It’s unexpected. It’s filling yet light as a feather. It’s delicious.
I envisioned a quick and easy dinner, which this is, but I somehow managed to dirty more dishes than I like in a simple meal. But never fear, for you who don’t want to cook in the Summertime heat, for you who don’t have a dishwasher, there are variations. If you like raw tomatoes and vegetables, there’s no need to saute them. Just stir them in to the bulgur once it’s done. I can imagine diced cucumber or bell pepper would be right at home here, as well as those tomatoes. If you’d rather not turn on the oven, you can skip the roasting of the chickpeas and just rinse then use them straight from the can. For an even lighter version, you can leave them out altogether.
However, if you are ready for the full experience, you won’t be disappointed. The chickpeas are coated in a spice blend, then roasted until shrunken and crunchy. (If nothing else, just make these for a snack) The bulgur and raisins are soaked in boiling water until tender. Regular raisins, or other chopped dried fruit (apricots, maybe) would also work. While all that is going on, you can prep and cook the veggies. That’s the real timesaver in this recipe. You may even have time to check your e-mail (or take pictures).
Bulgur Salad with Roasted Chickpeas & Golden Raisins
1 15 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed OR 1 1/2 c. cooked chickpeas
1 T. olive oil
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. crushed cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 c. medium grind bulgur
1/3 c. golden raisins (or regular raisins, or chopped dried fruit)
3 T. olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. fresh green beans (or a combination of green and yellow), trimmed
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
juice of one lemon
salt to taste
1/2 c. fresh leafy herbs, chopped (parsley, cilantro or mint would be great)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put on some water to boil, preferably in a tea kettle, but a pot works too.
Dry the chickpeas well, and mix them with the oil, spices and salt. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until shrunken and crunchy.
Meanwhile, combine the bulgur and raisins in a large bowl. When the water is boiling, pour 2 1/2 cups of it over the bulgur, cover with a towel, and let sit for 30 minutes. Drain and return to bowl.
While all this is going on, you can prep your veggies. I like to use a small serrated knife to cut tomatoes. It cuts clean through the skin without crushing the inside. Snap the ends off the green beans. I like mine to be in smaller pieces for ease of eating, but you can leave them long if you like. Heat 1 T. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Throw in the garlic, then add the tomatoes and green beans. Cook them for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes start to collapse. Don’t let the beans get mushy or the garlic burn.
To serve, stir the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, tomato mixture, and half the herbs into the bulgur. Top with the chickpeas and the rest of the herbs.
servers 4 as a main, more as a side.