janet @ the taste space

Bulgur and Cantaloupe Salad with Hazelnuts and Mint

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads, Sides on July 15, 2011 at 6:15 AM

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.

  1. This sounds lovely! I use watermelon in salads with feta but I’ve never tried cantaloupe. I might try this with quinoa instead of bulgur. Chickpeas & hazelnuts too, heaven!

  2. Now THAT’s an interesting combination of ingredients, flavors and textures! I couldn’t agree more about free food at work. At first I felt bad that I was missing all that FREE FOOD, but I got over it pretty quickly when I realized how unhealthy most of it was. Thanks for submitting this to WW! 😀

  3. I don’t eat the free lunches at school or lab either…I’d much rather eat the delicious food that I cook rather than let it go to waste! Plus I can cater it exactly to my tastebuds. I’m a honeydew lover as well, but I’m always up for cantaloupe, especially when prepared in such an interesting way!

    • Joanne, keep up that mentality when you start your clinical rotations! when I was working 100 hours a week, I was so thrilled to have meals at the hospital… now, thankfully, I have time to think and ponder what I will eat each day. 🙂

  4. refreshing! And totally new to me! Love this new combo and how fresh it looks.

  5. I love melon and I have the cookbook so I am definitely going to have to try this one! Thanks for sharing it at Souper Sundays this week.

  6. Delicious. A bit different for me, but definitely looks delicious!

  7. I love having cantaloupe in salads. They add such natural sweetness. Seriously, I don’t need liquid dressing for my salads with all these herbs and fruits 🙂

  8. That looks an amazing salad Janet! Lovely and bright and colourful.

  9. Coming from a tradition of summer dinners with prosciutto e melone, cantaloupe is very high on my fruit hit parade. This is a lovely salad and a nice way to make cantaloupe a protagonist. Thank you for another interesting contribution to Healing Foods.

  10. I loooove cantaloupe and what an interesting dish starring it! The only savoury application of cantaloupe that I’ve seen is with prosciutto (Italian style).

  11. […] have a few parsley recipes here, although usually it is just a flavour accent. I should have known better, and even […]

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