Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Warm Bulgur Salad with Roasted Root Vegetables

Do you ever have those "oh shit!" moments when you're in the kitchen? It could be when you reach in the spice cabinet to find only a couple grains in the bottom of the jar, or when you read a recipe more carefully and notice that you neglected to write the most important ingredient on the grocery list that week. For me, it always seems to happen when I am elbows-deep in a recipe: with numerous things chopped, the oven roasting, or four pans cooking simultaneously on the stovetop (which always makes me feel like a badass top chef). Well, I had one of those moments with this recipe. I was loosely following a recipe I found on Pinterest, which is what normally happens with my cooking. It was for a barley risotto, and I was adding some of my own sass... except I reached in the cupboard to grab out what I thought was barley and realized that I had accidentally bought bulgur instead. Don't get me wrong- bulgur is great, but I wasn't so sure it would be great with what I was making. But, I decided to press on and lo and behold - it worked out! Not only did it work, but it turned out amazing too. I was so pleased. 

I am also very excited to share this recipe with you today because it is a dinner recipe that I made. I make dinner a lot, like almost every single night. However, I live in this city row house that is long and narrow with the only windows being at the front and back. So, natural lighting is extremely hard to come by, and (obviously) impossible after the sun goes down. In the winter, I barely catalogue my dinner recipes solely because my only camera is my iPhone and any night photos that I attempt to take of my dishes turn out terrible. This was a rare occasion in that the boys and I didn't eat every last morsel of dinner, and I was able to save this for lunch today. If you live on the east coast, you are probably well aware of this snow storm that is currently bearing down on us. I don't mind it at all - it reminds me of home in Colorado and is simply beautiful for driving around (although I would not recommend it until the roads get plowed!). However, I am glad that I made it to the gym and the dog food store earlier this morning so that I can be warm and lazy the rest of the afternoon. I am also glad to have these leftovers to chow down on for lunch because I am starving and would feel bad ordering any takeout and having a delivery person trek in the snow just to bring me Chinese. What are you guys doing on this snow day? 

Warm Bulgur Salad with Roasted Root Vegetables 
serves 4 as a main dish

1/2 yellow onion, chopped 
5 cloves garlic, finely minced (I threw these in my Ninja and it was great!)
1 1/2 cups of quick cook bulgur
1 quart vegetable broth
6 carrots (beauty bonus if you find multi-colored ones!)
6 parsnips
3/4 oz fresh thyme
1/2 cup shredded or grated parmesan, plus more for garnish
zest of large lemon
a couple handfuls of fresh spinach 
olive oil
sea salt & fresh ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel all the root vegetables and chop them into thick matchsticks, about 3 inches long. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and all but about 4 sprigs of thyme (leaves only).
2. Roast the veggies on a large baking sheet for 40-45 minutes.
3. In the meantime, sauté onion and garlic over medium low heat in a 12 inch pan. After they are slightly softened and fragrant (about 3 minutes), add the dry bulgur. Sauté until lightly toasted, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the broth in 1/2 cup increments, stirring occasionally, until all of the broth has been absorbed. Repeat this step until all 4 cups have been added. 
5. Stir the lemon zest into the mixture, followed by the parmesan, salt and pepper. Warning: watch how much salt you add to everything (the veggies and the barley mix) depending on how salty your broth is!! A low sodium broth might be the best option (if available) to avoid over-salting the dish. 
6. Line each bowl with fresh spinach and then add a couple large spoonfuls of the bulgur mixture. Layer a pile of vegetables on the bulgur and then sprinkle a bit more parmesan on the top. Finish with a sprig of thyme. 

Recipe Inspired by Camille Styles 

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