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Thankfully, salads do not necessarily have to be lettuce and tomato. Limp, out-of-season lettuce and pale orangey-pink tasteless tomatoes hold no appeal.
Burghul wheat with its slightly nutty flavour and light, soft texture combines beautifully with spicy roasted kumara to make an outstanding salad.
Kumara's flavour is really enhanced and intensified by roasting with a little chilli and cumin.
Fresh herbs, tangy/salty feta and a lemony dressing all play their part to make this a deliciously refreshing salad, full of colour, texture and shape.
For this recipe I have used orange kumara because of its gorgeous rich colour and it is somewhat sweeter than other varieties.
Burghul is a staple food in the Middle East.
The Arabs call it burghl, the Turks bulgur and it is often described as cracked wheat.
Whole grains of wheat are boiled until just tender, drained, spread in the sun and left to dry.
They are then cracked and ground.
This method of cooking wheat has evolved over the centuries, as a way to preserve wheat from harvest to harvest.
Burghul is available from supermarkets and health food stores.
Roasted kumara, burghul and feta salad
Serves 4-5 as a side salad
600g orange kumara, peeled and cut into 2.5cm chunks
2 Tbsp neutral oil, such as rice bran
½ tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp mild chilli powder
300ml green herb, vegetable or chicken stock
zest of one lemon
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
130g burghul wheat
½ cup chopped chives or spring onions
⅓ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
⅓ cup finely chopped mint leaves
60g feta, crumbled or chopped into small pieces
50g sunflower seeds, toasted
3 Tbsp lemon infused extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
Line a lipped baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Preheat the oven to 190degC.
Cut the kumara into 2.5cm chunks. Combine the oil, ground cumin and chilli powder in a medium-sized bowl. Add the kumara and toss so it is coated in the spicy oil mixture. Spread the kumara on to the baking tray and roast for 15-25min or until golden and tender. Kumara cooking times vary depending on the season and age of the kumara. Set aside to cool.
While the kumara is roasting, make the dressing. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small screw-top jar and shake well. Set aside.
Combine the stock, lemon zest, juice and thyme leaves in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the burghul wheat, stir and bring to the boil. Cover with lid, remove from the heat and leave for about 20min to allow the liquid to be absorbed. Fluff up with a fork. Pour about half the dressing over the burghul and toss well. This can be made several hours in advance if more convenient for you. Refrigerate until half an-hour before serving.
Bring to room temperature then combine the roasted kumara, burghul wheat, chives or spring onions, parsley, mint and feta and toss with the remaining dressing.
Tip on to an attractive serving platter and sprinkle with the toasted seeds.