Bulgur Wheat and Walnut Salad with Tamarind-Pomegranate Dressing

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  8 servings
Prep Time:  20 minutes Soaking Time:  1 hour Cook Time:  6 minutes

Bulgur Wheat and Walnut Salad with Tamarind-Pomegranate Dressing

This wheat and nut salad, perked up with tart tamarind and extra pow from pomegranate, is a surprisingly refreshing change from its more well-known cousin tabouli. Called "bazargan salad" in Syria, this is great as part of a mezze spread of little dishes and equally lovely under grilled lamb, chicken, or even a halloumi cheese.


2 teaspoons salt, divided

2 cups fine bulgur wheat

1 tablespoon walnut oil

1½ teaspoons ground cumin

½  teaspoon ground coriander

½  teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons tamarind paste

¼ cup pomegranate molasses

Juice and zest of 2 lemons, or to taste

2 shallots, peeled and finely minced

½ cup pomegranate seeds

1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced

¼ teaspoon kirmizi pepper, optional

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine  5 cups cold water and 1 teaspoon salt and mix gently. Add the bulgur wheat and mix gently. Set aside to soak for 1 hour, or until tender but not mushy. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve. Return the bulgur to the bowl, cover with a damp paper towel, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 385°F. Spray a nonstick rimmed baking sheet with nonstick vegetable oil spray. In a small mixing bowl, combine the walnut oil, cumin, coriander, allspice, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Add the walnuts and mix gently to coat. Spread out on the prepared pan in an even layer and bake  for 3 minutes. Stir gently. Bake for another 2 to 3 minutes, until toasted, fragrant, and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the tamarind, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and zest and whisk to combine.
  4. In a large mixing bowl combine the bulgur, shallots, pomegranate seeds,  jalapeño, and kirmizi pepper if using, and toss gently to combine.
  5. Drizzle the olive oil into the tamarind-pomegranate mixture, whisking vigorously until blended (see Kitchen Tips), and pour the resulting dressing over the bulgur. Mix to coat, and transfer to a serving platter or bowl. Garnish with the spiced walnuts and serve immediately.

Kitchen Tips

  1. If your bowl wobbles around precariously while you are whisking with one hand and pouring with the other, dampen a kitchen towel and fashion it into a round “nest” on your kitchen counter. Nestle the bowl into it securely and continue whisking and pouring.

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