Step aside quinoa, I’ve found a new love…
Say hello, to cracked wheat. It’s a mild, nutty grain with a pleasantly chewy texture. If you like couscous, it tastes very similar-but better.
Technically, it is known as ‘bulgur wheat’ but I absolutely cannot stand that name (ugh, I can’t even type the word bulgur without cringing). So, I call it cracked wheat instead. Bulgur by definition is a partially cooked cracked wheat, so the names are often used interchangeably. And lucky for me (and you), this whole ‘partially cooked’ business works wonders in the kitchen; the instant kind is ready in 10 minutes flat!
I rallied up some vegetables and the last of my precious herbs from the garden to make this dish. It’s a warm, wilted grain salad which happens to by my favorite kind of salad. You get protein and fiber from the bulgur, err, cracked wheat and all kinds vitamins from the veg. For me, the radicchio/sweet potato combination steals the show. It’s got that yummy, bitter-sweet thing going on.
If you came to my house for lunch, I’d probably serve you something like this. It’s healthy and filling, and a fun way to enjoy seasonal food. And don’t skimp on the dressing either. The honey balsamic is a must! Enjoy ;)
- Shopping for bulgur wheat can get very confusing. It is often mislabeled as cracked wheat (and vice versa). Even though bulgur wheat is a cracked wheat, the difference between the two is how they are prepared. Bulgur wheat is par-cooked and then crushed or ‘cracked’, whereas cracked wheat is not cooked at all. For this recipe, I used the instant bulgur wheat available at Trader Joe’s.
Honey balsamic vinaigrette
- ¼ balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- ½ c. olive oil
- 2 c. cooked bulgur wheat (I used instant)
- 1 large handful of baby spinach leaves
- 1 large handful of shredded radicchio
- 2 small sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 Japanese eggplant, (optional) cut into half-moons
- 1/3 c. jarred roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
- 1/2 c. pomegranate seeds
- 1 small handful of red or vidalia onion, thinly shaved
- 1/3 c. goat cheese, crumbled
- fresh mint
- salt & pepper
- To make the vinaigrette, add the balsamic vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard to a small bowl. Whisk well to combine. Slowly add the olive oil, and continue whisking until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat your oven to 400 F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper so that the vegetables do not stick.
- In a large bowl, add the sweet potatoes and eggplant (if using) and drizzle with olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to the baking tray. Roast until soft and golden, about 20 minutes.
- Cook the bulgur wheat according to the package instructions. When finished, transfer to a large bowl.
- While the bulgur wheat is still warm, add the spinach and radicchio leaves to wilt slightly.
- Add the roasted vegetables, roasted red peppers, pomegranate seeds, and shaved onion to the bowl.
- Drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently to combine. Add more vinaigrette as needed.
- Right before serving, top the salad with crumbled goat cheese and fresh mint leaves to taste.
- Serve with extra dressing on the side.