Cold Salad Recipe for a Summer Dinner Party: Bulgur Wheat Tossed with Grilled Summer Vegetables

Cold Sald: Bulgur Wheat Tossed with Grilled Summer Vegetables[Jump right to the recipe: Bulgur Wheat Tossed with Grilled Summer Vegetables]

I’ll confess, come summer time there’s a soft spot in my heart for cold salads. When I was a young ‘un my mom had a simple yet much-loved pasta salad recipe that was her go-to dish for summer picnics, BBQs, and potlucks. It was easy to make and held up well to the brutal heat of Texas summers – no chance of spoiled mayo in this salad. Back then I’d eat my way around the vegetables but today I’m happy to say my palette has improved and I enjoy them as much, if not more, than the pasta.As a part of my ongoing quest to bring more whole grains into my family’s diet, I’ve been looking for ways to make my favorite pasta salads pack more nutritional bang for the buck. While substituting whole wheat pasts for traditional pasta is one quick substitution, I’ve been looking for different bases entirely. I’ve previously experimented with quinoa and but wanted to try something different. Luckily, I’m not the only one questing for more nutritious grains, so there are plenty of options to choose from these days.

For this round of tinkering I went with bulgur, a parboiled form of whole wheat that is dried and coarsely ground. It’s a very common ingredient in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking and many Americans first come into contact with it in tabbouleh. While some of the bran is removed from the wheat to make bulgur, some remains making this grain a great source of fiber and protein. 1/4 c. of dried bulgur (which becomes about ½ c. of cooked bulgur) has about 120 calories, 6 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein. When you bulk it up with fresh summer vegetables, you can create a fiber- and nutrient-rich dish that really sticks to your ribs.

While I was changing up the cold salad of my youth, I thought it might be fun to do something a little different with the vegetables too, so I grilled them before tossing them with the bulgur and the vinaigrette. The result is a salad with a little more depth of flavor that you can start the night before if you so desire and toss together up to four hours before you plan to serve it.


  1. Walton Wondoloski /

    Bulgur for human consumption is usually sold parboiled and dried, with only a very small amount of the bran partially removed. Bulgur is recognized as a whole grain by the U.S.D.A. and the Whole Grains Council. Bulgur is sometimes confused with cracked wheat, which is crushed wheat grain that has not been parboiled. Whole-grain, high-fiber bulgur and cracked wheat can be found in natural food stores, Middle Eastern specialty grocers, and some traditional grocery stores.`

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