This crisp, satisfying chopped salad is perfect for those days when you’re not quite ready to give up on summer.
Peppers, cucumbers, mint, and bulgur join forces for a salad that tastes like sunshine. Make a big batch for meal prep and enjoy it for days!
🥗 About this recipe
Tabouli is the main inspiration for this cucumber salad, with its bright, lemony zing and herbal freshness. But while tabouli can be more of a parsley salad with a dusting of bulgur, this recipe spotlights summery cucumbers and other chopped veggies.
- Fine bulgur
- Boiling water
- Cherry tomatoes
- Red cabbage
- Yellow bell pepper
- Fresh chives
- Juice of one lemon
- White vinegar
- Olive oil
- Garlic, finely minced
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- Fresh mint
- Drizzle of unrefined sunflower seed oil (optional)
What kind of cucumbers should you use?
The freshness of the cucumbers will make or break this salad. So, I’d recommend using the freshest, crispiest cucumbers you can find, of any variety. But if several kinds of available cucumber meet those criteria, I would recommend selecting whichever type is smaller and thinner skinned.
For this salad, I used the small cucumbers that are usually labeled either “Persian” or “mini seedless.” These cucumbers have thin skins and few seeds, which makes them very easy to prepare. Just trim away any tough stems and then chop.
If you are using larger slicing cucumbers, peel the waxy skin before using. Then, cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. After peeling and deseeding, the cucumbers are ready to chop into bite-sized pieces for the salad.
What kind of bulgur should you use?
I used fine bulgur (a.k.a. #1 bulgur) in this cucumber salad for a few reasons. First, because it is so small, all you have to do to prepare it is soak it for about 10 minutes in hot water; no cooking is required.
It also has a delightfully fluffy, delicate texture without the chewiness that whole grains can impart. As a result, the crisp cucumber snap remains the dominant texture of the salad.
Finally, the small size of fine bulgur also means that it can more easily absorb the salad dressing and take on its tangy, refreshing flavor.
That said, you may not have access to a variety of choices. There are four categories of bulgur, based on how finely the wheat is ground:
- Fine bulgur #1
- Medium bulgur #2
- Coarse bulgur #3
- Extra coarse bulgur #4
The middle eastern markets in my area carry all four types, but the supermarkets tend not to offer the same variety. If you can’t find fine bulgur, any of the others will work. Just be sure to cook the grain according to the instructions on the package — and let it cool fully — before you add it to the salad.
Combine the bulgur and water in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red cabbage, and bell pepper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the chives, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, garlic, and red chili flakes (if using).
When the bulgur has absorbed all of the water and cooled to room temperature, add it to the veggies. Then, pour over the liquid ingredients and stir until everything is well distributed.
Chill for at least one hour. Just before serving, stir in the mint leaves and drizzle with a bit of unrefined sunflower seed oil (if using).
🧰 What you’ll need
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- A knife and cutting board
- Two small bowls and one large bowl
- A whisk or a fork
- Measuring spoons and cups