A few weeks ago, we were invited to a dinner, where our friend, a fantastic cook, Yasemin of Yasemin’s Kitchen, spread an irresistible Turkish feast we absolutely fell in love with. Among the bright array of dishes Yasemin prepared, including eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes in olive oil (kirli kizartmasi), green salads, pilafs and boreks, one dish stood out for me with its very inviting magenta color. I suspected the beets to be the culprit and Yasemin confirmed it. It was Bulgur Salad with Beets and Apples.
I was intrigued. I tried it, then tried some more, and more, until I couldn’t stop and devoured most of it. I had never tried anything like that before. Tender grains of fine bulgur were mixed with grated raw beets and green apples, flavored with a copious amount of fresh herbs and just enough walnuts added for a subtle crunch. The beets were not overpowering at all, albeit being uncooked. They provided only a subtle sweetness that paired well with the tartness of the apples and pomegranate paste.
Since the dinner, I’ve made the salad numerous times already. Once, I took it to a party and garnered quite a few accolades. All thanks to Yasemin and her irresistible Bulgur Salad with Beets and Apples she introduced me to around her hospitable table.
The recipe calls for fine bulgur – it is soaked in boiling water until the liquid is absorbed and the grains are tender.
The ingredients have met one another and got coated with the magenta of the beets.
- ½ cup fine bulgur
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 large or two small red beets
- 1 large green apple (Granny Smith)
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh dill
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- ¼ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate paste (molasses)
- Salt and black pepper
- A few sprigs of fresh parsley or dill, for garnish
- Place the bulgur in a medium mixing bowl. Add the boiling water and stir with a spoon. Cover completely and set aside until the bulgur has absorbed all of the water and is tender, about 10 minutes. (If there is some liquid remaining - which is not typical - , drain it completely). Fluff the bulgur with a fork. Set aside to cool down.
- Meanwhile, wash and peel the beets, then grate on the fine side of a box grater. Add the beets to the bulgur.
- Wash and grate the green apple (do not peel) on the coarse side of the grater. Add to the bulgur.
- Add the fresh herbs and walnuts to the bowl. Mix gently with a spoon.
- Add the olive oil, lemon juice, pomegranate paste, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir with a spoon.
- Cover the bowl and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
- Transfer the salad to a serving dish. Garnish with fresh parsley or dill and serve.