Early Summer Salad

There’s no doubting it…the heat has come to the valley. After a brief respite of cool weather and leaving-the-window-open nights, May has finally struck a hot chord. Which I think means that come July and August, I’ll have to delve into my vocabulary to describe temperatures that are beyond hot. At least my geraniums, pictured above, are enjoying the heat. Thankfully, the first English cucumbers summer have arrived, a welcome cool, crisp treat. I’ve never been the biggest cucumber fan, but I’ve enjoyed their contrast to the hot weather.

I promise this is nothing earth shattering. I’m about to detail how to combine tomatoes, cucumbers, bulgar, fresh herbs, and spices into a salad. Call me ingenious, right? Bulgar is a wheat with higher protein and more fiber than rice. You’ve probably had it in tabbouleh.

All of this is wrapped together with a splash of olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, curry powder, salt, pepper and mint. Combine this with chick peas for a quick weeknight vegetarian meal, or – as pictured below – with some lamb meatballs and a whole wheat pita.

Bulgur Salad

1 cup bulgur

2 or 3 small English cucumbers

2 large handfuls of cherry tomatoes

1 small red onion

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Juice from one lemon

1 tsp curry powder

2 tsp cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

3-4 springs fresh mint

Feta, to taste.

1. Boil 2 cups of water on the stove. Add a pinch of salt. Add the bulgur, cover the pot, and remove from heat. This is very similar to cooking couscous, except the cook time increases to 30 minutes. Drain the bulgur and put the contents into a serving bowl.

2. Finely slice the red onion. Set aside. Cut the cucumber lengthwise and chop into bite-size pieces. Halve the smaller tomatoes and quarter the larger tomatoes. Add all the veggies to the cooked bulgur and carefully fold together. Pour the olive oil and lemon juice over the bulgur and vegetable mixture. Add the spices and mix well until combined. Reserve a few mint leaves for garnish, otherwise add the rest to the dish. Add crumbled feta to your taste preference.

3. If you’d like to add some chickpeas, either canned, drained, and rinsed, or soaked and boiled, this adds additional texture and protein and makes a tasty vegetarian meal.

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