A Change in Season [Bulgur & Chickpea Salad with Cranberries, Toasted Almonds + Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette]

Let me start by saying, I am speaking to you all from a seat on the balcony tonight!

I know, I know, it’s only 14 in Ottawa, but colour me a season-pusher. I’m not in my shorts or anything. Or am I? (I’m not. I swear. Totally in jeans, a giant sweater and thinking about getting a scarf - but I’m outside!!). 

With the thrilling arrival of warmer weather in Ottawa,  that insatiable ache for slow braises and creamy sides has started to waver, and is slowly being replaced with cravings for fresh, light and colourful dishes. That’s how you know Spring is truly on it’s way. [Though, if we’re being honest here, I’d like to go on the record and state that I am SURE we’ll still be getting more snow. I hope I’m wrong.]

Feeling especially inspired by the beautiful, mild weather the other day (though not inspired enough to run out to the store), I raided the fridge and pantry in hopes of finding everything I needed to make a simple grain salad that was small on fat and high on flavour. 

The resulting bulgur salad was exactly what I was hoping for. Healthy, packed with colour and texture, and the perfect balance of sweet, tart and savoury. I ate it four days in a row for lunch and didn’t once get tired of it… which is a MEGA feat for those who know me. 

Bulgur is one of those power-horse grains. It’s a quick-cooking form of whole wheat that has been cleaned, parboiled, dried, and ground into particles. It’s got a long shelf life, and is teeming with nutritional benefits; high in fibre and good carbs, rich in B vitamins, iron, phosphorous and manganese. Pair that with the well-known nutritional profiles of cranberries, almonds, and chickpeas and I’d say you’ve got yourself a little bowl of perfection. I suppose I’m biased, though. 

Bulgur & Chickpea Salad with Cranberries, Toasted Almonds + Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

Though I’m a bulgur-backer, if it’s not your cup of tea you can substitute quinoa, brown rice or even some potted barley

2 cups water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup Bulgur Wheat
1 cup chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
1/4 cup almond slivers,
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 scallions, sliced thin crosswise 

1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
pinch salt and fresh ground pepper

Bring the 2 cups of water and salt to a boil and add the bulgur. Turn down to a simmer, cover and let cook for 12-15 minutes until water is absorbed and bulgur is soft but still has a bite to it. 

 Toss all the salad ingredients in a big bowl until combined. 

In a small bowl, add the vinaigrette ingredients and whisk until smooth. Pour half of the dressing over salad and stir to coat the salad in dressing. Taste and add more dressing as needed. 

I enjoyed it warm but it’s best after it sits in the fridge for an hour or two. 

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