Every fall, my grandmother and my mom would make and store about 200 pounds of coarse bulgur and 100 pounds of fine bulgur to use throughout the year. Bulgur is bar-boiled wheat, dried in the sun, and then ground to an extra-fine, fine coarse. The bulgur is stored inside large clay containers in dark cold storage rooms. Bulgur is an excellent source of protein, fiber, iron, potassium, zinc and has low glycemic index, making it an excellent grain for diabetics.
My grandmother rarely used rice. Rice was expensive, therefore, it was only used in special occasions. So, bulgur took the center stage in salads, stuffing, main dishes and soups.
This salad, made in most villages in Syria and Lebanon, is called Saff. During the summer months, my grandmother would make a huge bowl and serve this salad with fresh cut grape leaves. It always made a great, healthy snack. Don’t worry if you ended up with huge amount, it lasts many days and even seems to taste better the older it gets!
I have an abundance of mint growing in my backyard which makes this a common salad for my family. It’s an added bonus that it’s one of my daughter’s favorite dishes!
This bulgur salad call for the coarse bulgur or #3. Wash and soak the bulgur in water for 30 minutes. Drain excess water and place in a large salad bowl.
Add the garbanzo beans, the chopped vegetables and the fresh chopped mint.
- 1 cup coarse bulgur or #3
- 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans, drained
- 2 baby cucumbers, diced
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 cups chopped fresh mint
- zest of one lemon
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt to taste
- Place the bulgur in a bowl. Cover with water and let it set for an hour. Squeeze excess water from the bulgur and place the bulgur in a salad bowl.
- Add all the vegetables and the garbanzo beans to the bulgur.
- Add the chopped mint and the lemon zest.
- Whisk the olive oil with the lemon juice and the salt. Drizzle over the vegetables and toss well.
- Adjust the seasoning and serve.