Recently I posted a fresh basil pesto that was vibrant and packed with flavor. As I previously noted, pesto can be made with endless variations. This time I decided to make a spinach/basil pesto that was incorporated in a bulgur wheat salad with chopped veggies.
I absolutely hate to throw away food. I try to create a generalized weekly meal plan in my head, prior to grocery shopping, so that I have all the ingredients I need, without buying items that will spoil before I have a chance to use them. This time…I bought a bag of baby spinach leaves with the intent to make pesto…but when my husband came home with a beautiful basil plant, I was torn. How could I pass up a basil pesto…for a spinach version? Well..as you have all seen..the basil pesto was prepared, and was exactly what I was wanted for a summer-night meal. What about the poor spinach? I just hated the thought of it going to waste. So, I decided that I would make a spinach/basil pesto, but instead of the usual pasta dish, I made a delicious healthy bulgur wheat salad tossed with fresh sweet pepper, zucchini squash, tomatoes and green peas.
Bulgur Wheat Pesto Salad
A healthy and colorful salad perfect for summer
2 cups baby Spinach leaves
1 cup basil leaves
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 cup raw almonds (walnuts or pine nuts would work well too)
1/2- 3/4 cup high quality olive oil
1 cup freshly grated imported Parmesan Reggiano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper (add more if you want a little more of a kick)
1 cup cherry tomatoes (quartered)
2 chopped zucchini squash
1 cup diced sweet peppers (yellow, orange,red)
1 bag frozen peas (boiled as directed on the package)/ strained
Juice of one lemon
Zest of one lemon
Salt/Pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese garnish
1.5-2 cups Bulgur Wheat (depending on the quantity desired)
Pesto: see previous post on Basil Pesto http://www.thepreppedchef.com/2013/05/14/fresh-basil-pesto/
Once the pesto is prepared (or store bought pesto works as well), begin to boil bulgur as directed on the package. Do not over cook, or the grain will become mushy.
While the bulgur is cooking dice the selected veggies and set aside
Once the bulgur wheat is ready, strain it, and place in a large mixing bowl, allow to cool for 5-10 mins
While the bulgur is cooling, bring green peas to a boil for a few minutes/strain when cooking is complete and set aside
With all of the ingredients prepared and chopped, the salad is now ready for assembly.
Simply add all of the veggies into the bowl with the bulgur and toss together
Add in the pesto, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper and mix until combined
Grate fresh parmesan cheese over the top and serve at room temp or store in refrigerator covered until ready to serve.
Your choice of veggies can easily be substituted in this recipe to make it just the way you want. Also, another option would be to bake the veggies prior to tossing them into the salad..this would add a whole new dimension to a wonderful salad.
The Prepped Chef http://www.thepreppedchef.com/
This salad could be served as a light lunch on-the-go, or as a side with baked salmon or grilled chicken. This recipe makes quite a large portion, so it would also be perfect to bring to a weekend cookout. The options with this salad are limitless…any combination of veggies would work well, so you don’t have to buy any special ingredients just for this dish. Use any and all of your veggies to add nutrients and pops of color to this healthy delight that is perfect for those warm summer days.
This entry was posted in Entrees
. Bookmark the permalink