Bulgur wheat salad with spinach, pine nuts and raisins is a delicious vegan side dish that is full of flavour! Spinach leaves are tossed with cooked bulgur wheat, toasted pine nuts, herbs and juicy raisins. Meanwhile, shallots are caramelised with spices and combined with olive oil and lemon to make a fragrant dressing. While vegan, this bulgur wheat and spinach salad with pine nuts and raisins is also a great side dish for lamb, chicken and salmon.
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- Ingredients & Substitutions
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What is bulgur wheat made from?
- Is bulgur wheat gluten-free?
- Can you make this bulgur salad gluten-free?
- How to store bulgur salad
- Can you freeze bulgur salad?
- What to serve with bulgur salad?
- Watch the Video
- How to Make Bulgur Salad with Spinach, Pine Nuts and Raisins
Guys, I think this is my new favourite salad. I’m not even joking.
It’s a little sweet. It’s a little spicy. It’s a little tangy. It’s got some crunch (thanks pine nuts) and it just tastes GREAT.
So much so I may have found myself nipping to the fridge every once in a while to grab a little spoonful from the container of leftovers, just as a lil’ snack. I’ve got to feed this perpetual hunger somehow.
But yes, let’s talk about this bulgur wheat, spinach salad situation because I’m pretty sure you’re going to fall in love, just like me.
Let’s start with the dressing because that’s where a lot of the magic is held. To start, we’re slowly caramelising some shallots in olive oil. When the shallots are nice and sweet we’re throwing in some ground coriander, cinnamon and allspice so they can impart their flavours into the oil. Toss all that in a bowl with some more olive oil and a little lemon juice et voila, our dressing. Deliciously fragrant and zesty, while also a little sweet.
The rest is so simple it almost doesn’t bear talking about. Almost, ha.
We’re tossing our cooked bulgur wheat with some chopped spinach, plump raisins, toasted pine nuts and some fresh parsley and mint in with that dressing. And that’s it. But the combination of it altogether?
* chef’s kiss *
I like to throw the raisins in with the bulgur wheat for the last minute of cooking so they end up absorbing some of the liquid. They go from dry and chewy (sorry raisins, it’s true) to juicy and bursting with sweetness. Our pine nuts are toasted to bring out their nutty flavour and they add some crunchy goodness to our spinach salad.
If you hadn’t already guessed, I am obsessed with this bulgur wheat salad. It’s easy, it’s delicious, it’s vegan, and you should make it already!
Bulgur wheat is a cereal grain that provides us with carbohydrates, fibre and protein. Bulgur is particularly high in fibre, which we need for good digestive health. The protein in bulgur wheat supports tissue repair and growth in the body, while carbohydrates provide us with energy.
Bulgur wheat is also a great source of magnesium and manganese. Magnesium is required for a number of different functions throughout the body, including the activation of numerous enzymes in the body, parathyroid hormone secretion and muscle and nerve function. Meanwhile, manganese is needed for bone formation and energy metabolism.
Spinach is a fantastic source of folate and vitamin C. We need folate for the formation of healthy red blood cells, normal cell division and normal structure of the nervous system. Vitamin C is important for protecting cells against free radical damage and the synthesis of collagen.
We are also using extra virgin olive oil which is a fantastic source of monounsaturated fats, vitamin E and antioxidants. Fat is made up of essential fatty acids which are required for a number of different function in the body, including the structure of our cells. Fat can also be used as a source of energy. Unsaturated fats (which includes monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) have a number of different health benefits, including improving blood cholesterol levels, easing inflammation and stabilising heart rhythms.
Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and helps protect the body’s cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Bulgur Wheat – bulgur wheat is made from dried, cracked wheat and has a delicate, nutty flavour. If you want to substitute bulgur wheat for something else you could use couscous, brown rice or quinoa.
Shallots – add sweetness with just a hint of heat. We are cooking them down to develop that sweetness even more. Substitute shallots for a small yellow onion if needs be.
Spices – I’ve opted for ground coriander, cinnamon and allspice for a warm, fragrant flavour. Other spices that would also work if you can’t get the above include cumin and nutmeg.
Pine Nuts – I love pine nuts for their mild flavour and almost creamy texture. For this recipe, you could substitute pine nuts for toasted pistachios, chopped cashews or flaked almonds.
Raisins – The raisins add a burst of sweetness which compliments the fragrant spices well. You could substitute other dried fruits if you prefer, try dried cranberries, apricots or cherries. Or you can omit entirely if dried fruit in salads isn’t your thing!
Spinach – If you can’t get your hands on spinach, try substituting it for something like rocket or swiss chard. You could also use kale, but you may way to massage it first in a little oil and lemon to make it more tender.
Herbs – I’ve opted for a combination of parsley and mint. But you could just use parsley or just use mint. Fresh coriander would also work well.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is bulgur wheat made from?
Bulgur wheat is a cereal grain made from dried, cracked wheat. It has been partially pre-cooked meaning it takes less time to cook.
Is bulgur wheat gluten-free?
Bulgur wheat is made from wheat and is therefore NOT gluten-free.
Can you make this bulgur salad gluten-free?
To make this bulgur salad gluten-free substitute the bulgur wheat for a gluten-free grain like quinoa, brown rice or buckwheat.
How to store bulgur salad
Transfer the prepared bulgur salad to a Tupperware container and store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Can you freeze bulgur salad?
Because this bulgur salad contains lot’s of fresh ingredients it won’t do well being frozen and thawed, and is best eaten fresh.
What to serve with bulgur salad?
This bulgur salad goes particularly well with lamb, chicken and fish if you wanted to serve it as a side dish to meat. But you could also serve it with grilled veggies, baked feta or as part of a meze.
Watch the Video
How to Make Bulgur Salad with Spinach, Pine Nuts and Raisins
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Bulgur wheat, spinach, pine nuts and raisins are tossed with a fragrant caramelised shallot dressing to make this simple vegan side dish!
- Cook the bulgur wheat as per the packet instructions. Once cooked drain and set aside to cool a little.
- In a frying pan heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to a medium-low heat, then add the shallots and fry for 10 minutes until soft and golden.
- While the shallots are cooking toast the pine nuts in a separate frying pan for 1-2 minutes until they begin to turn golden brown.
- Once the shallots are soft and golden add the spices to the pan and fry for 30 seconds before transferring everything to a bowl. Leave to cool slightly then add in the lemon juice and remaining olive oil. This is your dressing.
- Add the spinach, herbs, pine nuts, cooked bulgur wheat and raisins to the bowl with the dressing and toss everything together.
- Serve and enjoy!
Keywords: bulgur salad, bulgur wheat salad, spinach salad, spinach pine nuts and raisins, vegan salad