Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bulgur, Pomegranate and Walnut Salad

I have a deep love for Middle Eastern flavours.  If I had to choose one cuisine to eat for the rest of my days, Middle Eastern would be it.  I think it stems from childhood.  My neighbor, best friend and fellow George Michael enthusiast was from Lebanon.  Her parents were always up for a party, hosting big Middle Eastern feasts for family, friends and neighbors, they were restaurant owners and excellent cooks.  It was at their kitchen table as a young girl, that I was first introduced to Hummus, Tabbouleh, Fatoush, Shish Taouk, Kibbeh...I could go on and on...they were lovely neighbors and friends.  Those tastes have stayed with me and fueled a love for their food for the last 25 years.  The salad featured today, uses bulgur, a Middle Eastern staple found in Tabbouleh and Kibbeh.  Fresh herbs, chickpeas and pomegranate all amp up the Middle Eastern flavour.  The dressing is a light, sweet-tart combination of lemon juice, pomegranate molasses and olive oil. 

Bulgur, Pomegranate and Walnut Salad
Origin: Food and Wine Magazine, Desert Candy

Notes:  Pomegranate molasses can be found at Middle Eastern grocery stores and specialty food stores.  I get mine here.  You can make your own pomegranate molasses by boiling down pomegranate juice until syrupy.  I think you could use a simple lemon juice and olive oil dressing with this salad and it would be great too.  You can also swap cooked quinoa for the bulgur, for a milder tasting grain, as seen here.
A friend gave me a tip for seeding pomegranates...cut the fruit in half, submerge half in a large bowl of water and rip the pomegranate apart to release the seeds.  The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the white pith will float.  Use a slotted spoon to easily remove the seeds.


1 cup bulgur, medium or coarse grind, prepared according to package directions
1 cup chickpeas
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chopped mint
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
a squeeze of lemon juice (I used about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or a pinch of cayenne pepper)

Preheat broiler on high.

Drizzle a little olive oil on a baking sheet and place the tomatoes, cut side up on baking sheet.  Broil on the middle rack (not too close to the element) for 8-10 minutes, until collapsed.  Toast the walnuts under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, taking care not to burn them.

To prepare dressing, combine diluted pomegranate molasses with lemon juice, olive oil and aleppo pepper (or a small pinch of cayenne), whisk until combined.

In a large bowl combine, bulgur, chickpeas, tomatoes, walnuts, cilantro, mint and a pinch of salt.  Pour in dressing and toss thoroughly.  Top with pomegranate seeds and serve.


  1. Valli at morethanburnttoast sent me this recipe after she posted a lovely salad . . and I asked if she had a bulgur salad. She sent me this one; and I found your beautiful blog. (And great recipe, I'm saving.)

  2. Thank you Rosemary! Yep, this is a good one. I'll check out both of your!

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