This citrusy sweet potato bulgur salad is so hearty and filling, yet fresh and bright! It’s made with nutritious roasted sweet potatoes, bulgur wheat, an orange-infused dressing, and chopped fresh mint. It’s equally good hot or cold, in any season.
Bulgur wheat is a central component of tabbouleh salad, but I think it’s a fantastic base for many types of grain salads. This wonderful bulgur sweet potato salad is a favorite. It can be made at any time of year, but I especially love it in the winter, when citrus is fresh.
Thanks to a combination of both bulgur wheat and roasted sweet potatoes, the salad is especially hearty. Even so, fresh herbs (mint!) and a citrusy vinaigrette help to give it a light, fresh flavor.
These add sweetness and texture to the bulgur sweet potato salad. I always use orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, but Japanese sweet potatoes would be interesting to experiment with, too.
In place of sweet potatoes you could use butternut squash (or another winter squash) or roasted carrots. I’d love to try adding golden beets sometime, too!
Usually when I roast sweet potatoes I like to cut them into about 1-inch cubes. Here I cube them smaller and more evenly than usual—closer to half an inch. I add a little maple syrup to them before roasting. I personally love the slightly caramelized coating this helps to create, but you can skip the maple syrup if you prefer to.
The whole grain foundation of this tasty lunch salad! Bulgur wheat, if you haven’t used it before, tastes mildly nutty and has an awesome texture. It’s also rich in protein, relatively quick cooking, and versatile. It’s one of my favorite grains!
A citrusy vinaigrette gives the salad its character and brightness! Orange juice (and zest) is what creates that.
I really recommend using freshly squeezed orange juice if you can—it’s so much more flavorful than bottled. And you’ll need a fresh orange or two anyway, for the zest. But it’s OK to use bottled and skip the zest if you’re in a rush.
Don’t skimp on the fresh herbs in the bulgur sweet potato salad! They add some much flavor and vibrance. I tend to get lazy about storing fresh herbs, but once I have them, I’m always so grateful to season my food with them. This salad included.
There are some grains that I cook in boiling water, then drain—just like pasta! These include farro, barley, wheat berries, and short grain brown rice.
With other grains, I like to use only as much water as is needed to cook the grain completely. So, I proceed with a specific ratio of grain and liquid. That’s how I cook quinoa, white rice, millet, and couscous.
I use sort of a hybrid of these two methods for cooking bulgur. For one cup of bulgur (I use a little more than 1 cup in this recipe), I boil 3 cups of water. I add the bulgur and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Then I remove the bulgur from heat, cover it, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
If there’s any water left in the pot, I drain the bulgur to remove it. Sometimes there is, sometimes there isn’t. I find that this method gives me perfectly fluffy, tender bulgur each and every time!
It does. Bulgur wheat, as the name suggests, is a form of cracked wheat. So it is a gluten-containing whole grain.
Yes, this grain salad can be transformed into a gluten-free recipe. To do that, you’ll need to substitute the bulgur, which contains wheat, for another whole grain.
I’ve used quinoa, millet, couscous, and brown rice for this recipe. Each has different consistencies and properties, but all work nicely with the combination of ingredients listed.
Yes! This is an especially great make-ahead salad. You can make the whole thing ahead of time, or you can prepare parts of it in advance. I often cook either the bulgur or the sweet potato (or both) ahead of time. When I’m ready to serve, I whisk together the vinaigrette and combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl.
If you’d like to make the whole salad in advance of serving or sharing, it keeps well for up to four days in an airtight container in the fridge.
The salad makes a generous amount, so it’s great for sharing. I hope that you, and maybe your loved ones, will enjoy!