Last weekend, my roommate and I had some sort of amazing chicken and pear and goat cheese salad at Mystic Celt. This is not that salad, although it was loosely inspired by it. It has chicken and arugula (Fun fact: arugula is also known as rocket. Yes, ROCKET!), but no pears, goat cheese, walnuts, or any of the other ingredients from the original. It’s finals week and I’m a little bit stressed out, so I felt like making something up. There were always pizza rolls in the freezer if it turned out awful, right?
Lucky for me, no pizza rolls were necessary.
Chicken and Bulgur Salad
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3 medium-sized breasts)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/3 tbsp garlic powder
1/4 tbsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup coarse bulgur (mine came in a bag that says #4, I’m not sure what that means)
1/4 of a green pepper
a few handfuls of arugula
1/2 oz honey roasted sunflower seeds (mine came from Chic-Fil-A, I’m not quite sure how they ended up in the pantry)
1 oz olive oil
1 1/2 oz lemon juice
1 oz week-old pinot grigio, chilled
1 oz cherry juice
2/3 tbsp chili powder
1/3 tbsp garlic powder
1/4 tbsp onion salt
dash of pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Blend the spices in a bowl, and rub into the chicken breasts, thoroughly coating both sides. Place chicken into a foil-lined baking dish, slide into the oven, and bake for 30 minutes.
While the chicken is baking, boil 3/4 cup of water. If you’re absentminded like me, boil quite a bit more than that, and measure out 3/4 cup after it’s boiling. Put the bulgur in a medium-sized glass bowl. When the water starts boiling, pour over the bulgur and cover the bowl with a paper towel. Forget about it for a little while, and use this time to mix your dressing.
Some notes on that dressing: I concocted the tart/sweet dressing using a shot glass for liquid measure, mostly because we have a collection of shot glasses in the house that never get any use, and a variety of liquids and spices that were readily available in my kitchen. They may or may not be in yours. The cherry juice called for is some delicious 100% juice, not a juice cocktail. The pinot grigio was a week old because we used it last week for something else, and had no inclination to either drink the rest or throw it away. You are more than welcome to use wine that is not old.
Chop the pepper into tiny bits, as close in size as possible to the sunflower seeds. Set aside.
Once the oven beeps (and the chicken isn’t pink), remove the chicken from the oven and let it cool for several minutes. Check on your bulgur, and drain off any excess water. When the chicken is no longer too hot to touch, slice one of the chicken breasts into thin strips. You’ll have two left over, but they’re tasty and would probably be great in sandwiches. This is me having problems estimating yield again (also, the chicken breasts came in a three-pack, not in single servings).
Assemble your salad: place a handful of arugula in a shallow bowl. Pour about 1/3 of the improvised dressing (or your dressing of choice) into the bowl with the bulgur, mix, and spoon onto the arugula. Arrange chicken strips over the bulgur, and top with green peppers and sunflower seeds. Add more dressing if you feel so inclined.
This turned out much better than I expected, considering that I was super distracted while I made it. The only reason there are any measurements in this recipe is because I had the brilliant idea of writing things down on my fridge white board as I added them.
Side note: I really enjoy using bulgur in salads, even if The Boyfriend says that they’re Not Real Salads if they’ve got bulgur in them. Bulgur is officially the new goat cheese. You heard it here first.