January 3, 2011

Back to Healthy: Bulgur Wheat & Pomegranate Salad with Walnut Crusted Chicken Breasts


Here it is: long-awaited, hoped-for 2011. We rang you in with rich meals eaten with friends and families, drinks, more drinks, staying up too late and sleeping in. And now, of course, in our extreme-like fashion, we’d like to continue the welcome by boomeranging into Ultimate Health and Well-being.

We are nuts for these new beginnings, aren’t we? I’m so in favor of a fresh start that I’m sitting here with a green smoothie as I write this, day one of a here’s-hoping-I-feel-shiny-and-vital-at-the-other-end-of-this detox. But before I start ruminating about the new year, I thought I’d give you something to eat.

Which leads me to this salad. Inspired by its festive color palette, I called this Christmas salad. But you probably don’t want to eat Christmas salad on January 3. In fact, you probably want to get as far away from Christmas, carols and wrapping as you can. Give this salad a shot though, and call it by its more pedestrian name until next year. Alongside some of the darker, earthy flavors of winter, this bright, fresh salad feels so right, and is a wonderful way to make savory use of pomegranate seeds. We had it twice in one week at my house: first alongside walnut crusted chicken breasts (heaven) and again on Christmas day itself.

I am kicking around some bigger ideas that I want to talk about with you––it does seem the season for it, after all––but until then I leave you with the wise Mary Oliver and a recipe or two.


Bulgur Wheat & Pomegranate Salad
from Whole Living
Serves 4

1 cup bulgur
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup boiling water
4 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves
1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 cup pomegranate seeds
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, combine bulgur and salt. Top with 1 cup boiling water and cover bowl with a plate until water is absorbed, 30 minutes.

Toss with scallions, parsley leaves, mint leaves, raisins, pomegranate seeds, lemon juice, and olive oil, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Walnut-Crusted Chicken Breasts
from Whole Living
Serves 4

2 slices whole-wheat bread, dried
1/3 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 large egg white
4 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless (6 to 8 ounces each)
1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
lemon slices, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a food processor, combine bread, walnuts, and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Process until fine breadcrumbs form. Transfer to a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, beat egg white until frothy.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dip each breast into egg white, letting excess drip off, and then into crumb mixture, pressing to adhere.

In a large nonstick ovenproof skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned, 1 to 3 minutes. Carefully turn chicken over and put skillet in oven. Bake until chicken is golden brown and cooked through, 8 to 12 minutes. Serve chicken with lemon, if you like.

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  • Zarah: Yum, yum. You always feature the best recipes, I can’t wait to try it!!5 years ago

  • Ginger: Just had to tell you that all your always delicious recipes are an inspiration behind the blog post I wrote today… “What’s for Dinner?”

    I mentioned Pink of Perfection there, since I get so many of my recipes from you!

    Here’s the link: http://sweeticedtea.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/whats-for-dinner/5 years ago

  • Zarah, Seriously, both recipes are major keepers, not least of all because they are healthy and deep-fried-loving husband STILL loved them.

    Ginger, Thank you! Yay!5 years ago

  • molly: Ha! When this post first appeared, the fancy “B” didn’t, so all I got was “Ack to Healthy”, which I found pretty funny. But read on I did (and appear the B did), and oh my, doesn’t this look/sound/taste delicious? I’m thinking it may take a tour on our table, with a tin of chickpeas tossed in. Lovely, this and that awesome Oliver, both.

    Happy New Year to you, Sarah.5 years ago

  • Kanesha: Thanks Sarah!
    We have some bulgar on hand I’m going to ask my mother-in-law to make this. She’s on a “reduction” (yes, that’s what she’s calling it) – and I should reduce a bit before I go on a weekend getaway (in some weeks) with hubby. *big giggle*5 years ago

  • Allison: Thank you Sarah for sharing the recipe for this delicious salad! Xox Mom5 years ago

  • Molly, that’s hilarious. And chickpeas would be so good.

    Kanesha, Oh yeah, in old magazines they call it “reducing.” Well, this is a delicious way to do it.

    Mom, You’re welcome! I guess we forgot the golden raisins on Christmas day, but to no detriment!5 years ago

  • geek+nerd: Wow – this looks SO delicious! Thank you for sharing!5 years ago

  • Sherly: What a nice recipe, definitely I will try this……………Thanks a lot for sharing the same!!!5 years ago

  • Janet: I made the walnut crust last night, subbing little boneless pork loin chops for the chicken, and it worked really well! Thanks for sharing!5 years ago

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I am not a glutton -- I am an explorer of food.
- Erma Bombeck