hearty up that salad.

Salads can really be your ideal meal: waistline-friendly, delicious and they can be a great way to get a slew of veggies into your diet. However, if you’re like us, they can sometimes leave you feeling slightly unsatisfied, particularly if the salad in question is intended to be your hearty dinner.

Well, say good-bye to your salad un-satisfaction! We have found a salad that changes that: it adds hearty health with slow-roasted mushrooms and bulgur, a product made from wheat kernels. Slow down: don’t let the “slow roasted” part make you think “time-consuming”, and don’t hear “bulgur” and think strange, health-store food: you’ll have this salad on your plate with only 15 minutes hands-on time and bulgur can be found at any grocery store (it’s just a fancy name for a grain made from wheat kernels).

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are the delicious details. While the mushrooms add a certain “meaty” heartiness, the real superstar here is the bulgur. Adding this high-protein grain to your salad can do wonders because of its high fiber content (25% of your daily value in 1/4 cup!).  Despite its low-fat & cal count, a serving of this whole grain will fill you up (and keep you feeling that way for longer) without actually bulking you up.

Mushroom, Spinach & Bulgur Salad

Ingredients: 

  • 2 lb. mushrooms, halved (we used button)
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • Salt, to taste, plus 1 1/2 tsp.
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 oz. turkey bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup whole-grain bulgur
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3/4 bag of baby spinach
  • 1 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved

Directions:
Cook the mushrooms & pancetta.

Preheat an oven to 475 degrees F. 

In a large roasting pan, combine the mushrooms, the 1/3 cup olive oil and the garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly. Spread the mushrooms in a single layer and roast for 5 minutes. Turn the mushrooms and continue roasting until the edges are crisp, 2 to 3 minutes more.

Meanwhile, cook the turkey bacon in the microwave until crisp (about 2-2.5 minutes), let cool and chop.

Cook the bulgur
In a fry pan over medium-high heat, toast the bulgur until its nutty aroma is released, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the boiling water and 1 tsp. of the salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the bulgur is tender, about 20 minutes; or, cook according to the package instructions.

Transfer the bulgur to a large stainless-steel bowl. Add the spinach and the 2 Tbs. olive oil and toss to combine.

Assemble the salad
Add the roasted mushrooms, turkey bacon, vinegar, the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and a pinch of pepper to the bulgur mixture and toss to combine. Spoon onto individual plates, top with the cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Salad, by Brigit L. Binns (Oxmoor House, 2007).

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