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Cooking

Heat waive

Don’t turn on that stove. Easy bulgur salads are perfect for the summer table.

Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

Par-cooked, dried, cracked wheat, known as bulgur, has a lot going for it. It’s whole-grain healthy, hearty, and filling without being heavy, and — arguably its very best selling point in high summer — it requires no heat at all to prepare. OK, for the salad with peaches and arugula (above) you should really toast the almonds, but that only takes a few minutes. Add fruits and vegetables, and cured meat, if you like, and it becomes the center of a satisfying, and cool, seasonal meal.

BULGUR SALAD WITH PEACHES, ARUGULA, AND ALMONDS

Makes about 7 cups

1½ cups medium-grain bulgur, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1½ tablespoons sherry vinegar

½ teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut in ¼-inch dice (about 1¼ cups)

½ medium red onion, finely chopped (about ¾ cup)

1 large, ripe but firm peach, peeled if desired, pitted, and chopped (about 1 cup)

4 cups (loosely packed) arugula (about 2 ounces), coarsely chopped

¾ cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted

In a medium bowl, soften bulgur in water to cover by 2 inches, about 1 hour. In a mesh strainer, drain and rinse the soaked bulgur under running water, then press to release as much liquid as possible (you should have about 2¾ cups of bulgur). In a large bowl, mix bulgur and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and set aside to allow bulgur to absorb the lemon, about 10 minutes.

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Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, vigorously whisk remaining lemon juice, vinegar, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and oil to blend. Add the cucumber, onion, peach, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and about three-quarters of the dressing to the bulgur, toss to combine, cover, and set aside for the flavors to blend, about 30 minutes. Add the arugula and remaining dressing and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary; add the almonds, toss to combine, and serve at once.

BULGUR SALAD WITH GRAPES, FETA, AND MINT

Makes about 7 cups

1½ cups medium-grain bulgur, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 large garlic clove, minced

½ teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and pepper

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut in ¼-inch dice (about 1¼ cups)

½ medium red onion, finely chopped (about ¾ cup)

1 cup halved seedless grapes

¾ cup crumbled feta

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

cup chopped fresh mint

In a medium bowl, soften bulgur in water to cover by 2 inches, about 1 hour. In a mesh strainer, drain and rinse the soaked bulgur under running water, then press to release as much liquid as possible (you should have about 2¾ cups of bulgur). In a large bowl, mix bulgur and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and set aside to allow bulgur to absorb the lemon, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, vigorously whisk remaining lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, coriander, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and oil to blend. Add the cucumber, onion, grapes, feta, dressing, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste to the bulgur, toss to combine, cover, and set aside for the flavors to blend, about 30 minutes. Add the parsley and mint and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary, toss to combine, and serve at once.

Photographs by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

TIP Add fresh greens at the last minute to preserve their texture.

BULGUR SALAD WITH SALAMI, OLIVES, AND SPINACH

Makes about 7 cups

1½ cups medium-grain bulgur, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 large garlic clove, minced or grated

Salt and pepper

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut in ¼-inch dice (about 1¼ cups)

½ medium red onion, finely chopped (about ¾ cup)

¾ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and quartered

3 ounces hard salami, finely chopped (about ¾ cup)

6 cups (loosely packed) fresh baby spinach leaves (about 3 ounces), coarsely chopped

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In a medium bowl, soften bulgur in water to cover by 2 inches, about 1 hour. In a mesh strainer, drain and rinse the soaked bulgur under running water, then press to release as much liquid as possible (you should have about 2¾ cups of bulgur). In a large bowl, mix bulgur and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and set aside to allow bulgur to absorb the lemon, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, vigorously whisk remaining lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and oil to blend. Add the cucumber, onion, olives, salami, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and about three-quarters of the dressing to the bulgur, toss to combine, cover, and set aside for the flavors to blend, about 30 minutes. Add the spinach and remaining dressing and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary, toss to combine, and serve at once.

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