Photo by Judith Hausman
This cracked wheat salad serves 4.
I ate this standout Cracked Wheat Salad as part of a feast of meze (small plates) on my very first day in Turkey when I was still reeling with jetlag and mind-blown by Istanbul. Cracked Wheat Salad is great for the transitional table because it combines pantry stables with the first greens and herbs of the new season.
This version of cracked wheat salad is with kasha (buckwheat groats), which requires longer cooking time and about 1/2 cup more cooking water. Cracked wheat, or bulgur, is maybe a little more authentic. It’ll remind you of tabouleh (which I found in Turkey was often more parsley than grain), but the walnuts suggest a Georgian palate.
Sweet-tart pomegranate syrup, the base for the dressing, can be found at Middle Eastern groceries. Instead, you can reduce some bottled 100 percent pomegranate juice by half and use that. If you happen to have a pomegranate lying around (which I didn’t …), pry out a handful of seeds to garnish the salad. Add some watercress or micro-greens if you have those, too.
- 1 cup cracked wheat
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 to 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup well-packed chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced (optional)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup quality olive oil
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, more to taste
- juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
- a little sugar, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
Bring water to a boil, add grain, lower heat and cook covered until all the water is absorbed, about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the pot covered for ten min. or so. Then fluff the grain with a fork and let cool a little.
Meanwhile make the dressing by combining all ingredients and beating well with a fork to emulsify. Taste it and adjust seasonings.
Toss the cooled grain with the dressing and the remaining salad ingredients. Serve room temperature.
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As a long-time freelance food writer, Judith Hausman has written about every aspect of food, but local producers and artisanal traditions remain closest to her heart. Eating close to home takes this seasonal eater through a journey of delights and dilemmas, one tiny deck garden, farmers’ market discovery and easy-as-pie recipe at a time. She writes from a still-bucolic but ever-more-suburban town in the New York City ‘burbs.