Ignore the headlines if you want to eat well - Tucson Local Media: El Sol

Ignore the headlines if you want to eat well

A basic formula is all you need

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Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 11:00 pm

Tired of trying to make sense of what constitutes a healthy diet? There really is an easy way.

Simply imagine your dinner plate divided into quarters. If you fill three-quarters of the plate with vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains, then fill the remaining space with lean protein, you’ll be doing just fine.

Of course not every meal will easily fit this formula, but it is a great approach for your overall diet.

This bulgur wheat, smoked chicken and watercress salad fits this formula nicely.

Whole-grain bulgur is combined with fresh watercress, sliced celery, scallions, slivered almonds and low-fat smoked chicken (or turkey) breast. The salad is tossed with a dressing made with fresh tarragon, lemon juice and healthy extra-virgin olive oil.

Look for smoked chicken or turkey in the deli section at your grocers and ask them to slice it thick (about 1/2 inch) so it can be diced to the right size for this salad.

Lightly toasting the almonds gives them a nuttier flavor, which complements the peppery watercress and smoky flavors of the chicken breast.

Bulgur is a staple in Middle Eastern diets and is made from wheat kernels that have been par-cooked, dried and crushed. It rehydrates quickly when soaked in boiling water and has a tender, chewy texture.

Don’t confuse bulgur with cracked wheat, which hasn’t been par-cooked and takes much longer to cook.

You can serve bulgur as you would rice or couscous, or as part of a pilaf or salad. Look for bulgur in the natural food section of your supermarket or with other grains such as barley and rice.

This recipe is inspired by tabbouleh, which is a Middle Eastern dish made with bulgur, chopped parsley and tomatoes. The salad can be served cold or at room temperature and is perfect for a light supper.


Start to finish: 40 minutes

Servings: 4


3/4 cup bulgur

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup slivered almonds

3/4 pound smoked chicken or turkey breast cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 cup watercress, washed and larger stems removed

1/2 cup sliced scallions

1/2 cup sliced celery


In a large bowl, combine the bulgur with the boiling water. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Alternatively, prepare bulgur according to package directions.

Meanwhile, to make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, tarragon, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a small, dry skillet over low heat, toast the sliced almonds, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Add the smoked chicken (or turkey), watercress, scallions, celery and cooled almonds to the bulgur. Add the reserved dressing and toss well to coat. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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