Shrimp and bulgur salad is fresh, wholesome goodness on a plate

Don’t be intimidated by the lengthy list of ingredients in this recipe. They are essential to building the flavor of the salad, and it’s likely you have many of the components on hand.

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This bulgur salad is tumbled with shrimp, lemon, spices and fresh herbs, along with chopped peppers and grated carrot for juicy sweetness and crunch.

This bulgur salad is tumbled with shrimp, lemon, spices and fresh herbs, along with chopped peppers and grated carrot for juicy sweetness and crunch.

Lynda Balslev/TasteFood

There is something intrinsically gratifying about a hearty grain salad. Fresh and chewy, brimming with greens and chopped vegetables, it’s nutritious, versatile and satisfying.

This bulgur salad is tumbled with lemon, spices and fresh herbs, along with chopped peppers and grated carrot for juicy sweetness and crunch. It’s spread over a bed of greens and topped with shrimp for a light and healthy complete meal.

There are myriad iterations of a grain salad. For instance, quinoa or couscous can be substituted for the bulgur. The shrimp may be omitted or switched out for crumbled feta for a vegetarian option. The salad can be arranged on a platter or stuffed into pita pockets.

The consistent key is to generously season the grains. Don’t be shy with citrus, spices, garlic and, of course, salt to drive flavor into the dish. Add a combination of crunchy chopped vegetables and greens for texture, nutrients and additional flavor.

Don’t be intimidated by the lengthy list of ingredients in this recipe. They are essential to building the flavor of the salad, and it’s likely you have many of the components on hand.

For do-ahead prep and quick assembly, the bulgur salad can be made in advance and refrigerated until use, and the shrimp can be served either warm or chilled.

Shrimp and Bulgur Salad

Yield: Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

Bulgur:

  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, finely grated
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded, finely diced
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish

Shrimp:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound medium (18/20) shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 ounces baby greens or arugula
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice and finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine the bulgur and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let steam until the liquid is absorbed and the bulgur is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Fluff the bulgur with a fork. Stir in the lemon juice, oil, cumin, paprika, salt and black pepper. Add the scallions, carrot, red pepper, jalapeno, parsley and cilantro and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning.

3. Heat the olive oil and the red pepper flakes in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp in one layer and cook until pink in color and just cooked through the centers, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and season with salt.

4. Arrange a layer of fresh greens in a serving bowl. Spread the bulgur over the greens. Top with the shrimp. Drizzle with olive oil and the lemon juice. Garnish with the lemon zest, additional parsley and/or cilantro. If desired, garnish with crumbled feta, as well.

Lynda Balslev is an award-winning food and wine writer, cookbook author and recipe developer. She authors the blog TasteFood, a compilation of more than 600 original recipes, photos and stories. More recipes can be found at chicago.suntimes.com/taste.

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