Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cranberry Walnut Tabbouleh

I want to make more desserts. Desserts are fun. I also want to maintain my body weight (actually, I want to lose a few pounds, but let’s not go into that). So how’s this for a concept: I can slip a serving of dessert into a day or two (or more?) each week if I shave some calories off somewhere else? And how about shaving those calories off the evening meal, after which I’m pretty sedentary, especially this terribly cold and dark time of year? Then, a light supper could consist of, say, a moderate portion of a hearty salad and maybe some more vegetables or fruit.

Well, I don’t know if this would actually work as a lifestyle, but this Cranberry Walnut Tabbouleh sure works as a great salad. It’s a wintery variation of bulgur wheat salad with a lemony vinaigrette. Dried cranberries and toasted walnuts form the bulk of the remaining flavors and those walnuts are backed up in the dressing with walnut oil. It’s really a fine combination in this savory form, plus the chewy cranberries compliment the chewy bulgur and the walnuts provide a nice nutty crunch.

There are all kinds of substitutions you could make to create your own version of this salad: different dried fruits and nuts, olive oil in place of the walnut oil, a different kind of onion (I used scallions, aka green onions here), or, when they become affordably available in your area, different herbs.

This salad makes a great lunch, of course, as well as the light supper I mentioned above. With lively flavors and satisfying textures like these it might just make my occasional desserts idea successful. Now, I just need to shave some time off of something I’m doing to make more time to make more desserts. Huh. Wish me luck with that!

Cranberry Walnut Tabbouleh
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

1 cup medium-grain bulgur
½ cup dried cranberries
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup boiling water
½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves and tender stems
1/3 cup chopped green onion
½ cup chopped toasted walnuts
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons walnut oil
¼ teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground

1. Combine bulgur, dried cranberries, and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium-size bowl. Pour over the boiling water and stir to combine. Let stand until the water is fully absorbed and the bulgur is tender, about 30 minutes.

2. Stir in the parsley, green onion, and walnuts.

3. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, walnut oil, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Whisk until very well combined. Pour over the bulgur mixture and stir to coat. Serve at room temperature or chill.

Makes about 6 servings.

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