10 February 2010
Snow (your adjective here) 2010 + my New Favorite Salad
Well, I won't bore you with adding another adjective to this fierce snowstorm that's building up for the 5th day in a row. Snowpocalypse, snOMG, snowmaggedon, whatever you call it, the apocalyptic nature of walking in near white-out conditions is truly magnifying. I went for a walk this morning and encountered only one other person in half an hour, in the middle of our usually bustling capitol. At one point I heard the ringing of a dog's collar, but I could never make out exactly where the noise was coming from, although I couldn't see the end of the street either. It was magical.
It was also a very good opportunity to stay home, build a fire, catch up on paperwork and movies, drink hot chocolate, and make my new favorite salad. Yes, I am mildly obsessed with this salad, which came from an old recipe in Food and Wine, and claims to be Middle eastern, although it's an amalgamation of sorts. I don't really care though, it's addictive, in the "this serves four but I just ate the whole thing myself" kinda way. At least it's full of healthy stuff, because I've been making it constantly for about 3 weeks now.
The original recipe calls for bulgur, but I have two big boxes of quinoa in my pantry, and I actually like it better with quinoa, though either would be fine. There's a bit of prep work here, seeding the pomegranate, chopping tomatoes and cilantro, but nothing major. I also do the cheater's way of just grabbing the bunch of cilantro and mint, and then snipping the top of the bunch with scissors directly into the bowl.
It has soft chickpeas, pops of pomegranate, crunchy nuts, bright mint, and soft roasted tomatoes. I don't know if that makes it good blizzard food, but it does make it my new favorite.
Bulgur, Pomegranate, Walnut Salad (or the Best Salad EVER)
Although I think the dressing here is delicious, I actually prefer making this salad without the dressing sometimes. Reason being, I think the dressing has the effect of weighing down the salad, so that leftovers have that unfortunate wilted effect. I'd recommend making the dressing but not tossing it with the salad until just before serving, or serving it alongside for people to drizzle over. You can substitute flat-leaf parsley if you hate cilantro.
1 cup quinoa or 1 cup medium bulgur, prepare according to package directions
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 cup cherry tomatoes, about 1/2 pint, halved
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (about 1/4 of a large pomegranate)
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
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1. Prepare bulgur or quinoa according to package directions. Meanwhile, turn on your broiler. Place halved cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet. Place tomatoes under the broiler for 8-10 minutes, until softened. Transfer tomatoes to a bowl but leave the broiler on.
2. Scatter walnuts on the same baking sheet and slip under the broiler just for a minute or two, until toasted but not burned (watch them carefully!).
3. Combine cooked quinoa/bulgur, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, walnuts, cilantro, mint and salt in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Add the dressing if desired, or reserve it to pass alongside the salad. Sprinkle pomegranates over top. Enjoy!