In Bulgaria for the Christmas Eve dinner we have a tradition: the table is served with an odd number of Lenten dishes (main dishes that do not include dairy products, meats, and fish in compliance with the rule of Orthodox church, or in short: vegan meals). Usually that includes bob chorba (Bulgarian bean soup), sarmi (cabbage or vine leaves stuffed with rice and spices), beans stuffed dry peppers, nuts, fruits and other vegan dishes. It is a tradition we actually follow, but having the same table year after year is kind of boring.
While searching for dishes to refresh this year’s menu, I remembered about this salad. We used to prepare it as main dish for lunch in the hottest days of the summer, as it is filling and refreshing at the same time. However, since it perfectly falls into the category of Lenten dishes, I decided to have it for Christmas Eve dinner, too.
Carrots with bulgur is also very easy and quick to prepare, giving me time for other, more elaborated meals. Another advantage of this salad is that it will pair well with the rest traditional meals on the table.
Bulgur is an interesting ingredient, healthy and easy to work with. If you haven’t tried it, consider giving it a try. Compared to white rice it has more fibber and protein, a lower glicemic index, and higher levels of most vitamins and minerals. As it is usually sold parboiled, you only have to cover it with boiling water and leave it for few minutes (as you prepare couscous). You can find it in Middle Eastern specialty grocers or in natural food stores, if your grocery store doesn’t sell it.
Preparation time: 35 minutes
400g carrots, grated ½ cup medium or coarse bulgur a handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped a handful fresh celery leaves, chopped 1 clove garlic (optional), pressed 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
Place bulgur in a bowl. Bring 1¼ cups of water to a boil and pour it over the bulgur. Cover and leave it for 30 minutes.
Meantime grate the carrots and chop the green herbs. In a serving bowl mix them together.
Stir the olive oil, lemon juice and salt.
Drain the bulgur (if needed, because this quantity of water should be easily absorbed). Using a fork stir the bulgur to separate any grains that have stuck together. Pour the dressing over the bulgur and stir well. Add the mix to the carrots, stir and serve.
It’s equally good tepid or cold.