Rob has the privilege of having a nice breakfast supplied at work. Each morning, the offerings vary from pancakes, waffles, bacon, sausages, croissants, danishes, muffins, oatmeal, muesli, yogurt, fruit salad, dried fruit and nuts. He complains about the breakfast, though, and shuns most of the menu. Sub-par baked goods and homemade oatmeal that tastes better, he usually opts for the fruit salad with yogurt and dried fruits and nuts. But even then, he complains about the fruit salad. Too much filler, like honeydew and cantaloupe, where is mango? He wants more pineapple, strawberries and blueberries. Add some papaya, while you’re at it. Apple and pear, too. He wants ginger.
Yes, I am typing this up verbatim as he tells me all his breakfast fruit salad desires.
He has been dubbed a food snob by his co-workers. Rightfully so, if I may add.
To be honest, I felt quite liberated when I stopped eating from the (rare) free lunches provided at work. But if fresh fruit or a nice salad is available, I will gladly snack on that.
Melons don’t tend to get the respect they deserve. After biking, sometimes all I wanted was a big piece of watermelon. And while Rob prefers cantaloupe over honeydew (both “filler” fruit), I prefer the reverse. On the fruit echelon, berries rank high for me, but variety is important as well.
Cantaloupe very rarely gets paired with anything… a loner, or sometimes with honeydew. Hidden within a fruit salad, it can go unnoticed. Or shunned when it takes centre stage. I enjoy combining fruit into savoury dishes, and my curiosity was piqued when some friends recommended the bulgur and cantaloupe salad in Supermarket Vegan.
Here, we have a seemingly simple salad but the citrus-spiked bulgur salad works incredibly well with the cantaloupe. As with any salad, quality ingredients make this jump to the next level.
First the cantaloupe. I increased the ratio of cantaloupe-to-bulgur ratio, opting to use an entire small cantaloupe for the salad. Choose a firm not overripe cantaloupe for best results. Next, fresh orange juice is key and I squished 2 Navel oranges to reconstitute the little nuts of bulgur goodness. The original recipe suggested a fine-grain bulgur but I used medium-grain which was perfect. I swapped the herbs around, opting for more fresh mint than parsley, and felt that both had a roll in the flavourful salad. For my nut of choice, I went with hazelnuts that I had unearthed during our move. Again, who would have thought it would work so well? I ended up adding cooked chickpeas to the leftover salad to turn it into a main meal and it was equally delicious.
Heck, who would have thought this whole salad would taste so good? Cantaloupe, you are definitely an unsung hero.
This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, and to this month’s Healing Foods featuring whole grains, to this month’s Simple and in Season and to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends.
Bulgur and Cantaloupe Salad with Hazelnuts and Mint
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (half a lemon)
2 tbsp water
1 cup bulgur (I used medium-grain)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
fresh pepper, to taste
4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 cups cubed cantaloupe (from 1 small cantaloupe)
2 cups cooked chickpeas (19 oz can, rinsed and drained) -optional
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted (or your favourite nut – walnut/almond/pine nuts)
1. Combine orange juice, lemon juice and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Add bulgur and stir to combine. Turn off heat, cover and let absorb for at least 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the scallions, mint and parsley and stir to combine. Add the cooked bulgur and stir well to combine. Add the cantaloupe and chickpeas if using, and refrigerate if not serving immediately. Serve chilled or at room temperature, with a sprinkle of the nuts.
Serves 4 as a main, or 6-8 as a side.