Black Bean & Bulgur Wheat Feta Salad for Canned Food Week
Growing up in a Cornish cottage, just outside of the village, the importance of having a well stocked larder was something drummed into me from an early age. Canned food, with its long shelf life, was ideal and I don’t ever remember a time when there wasn’t a cupboard full of tinned tomatoes. It was my job, when new ones were bought, to bring the oldest to the front and put the newest to the back to ensure the tins never passed their use by date. Tinned tomatoes have played an important role as one of my larder staples ever since, along with canned beans and coconut milk. And where would I be without a handy tin of baked beans to put in my Granny’s Shepherd’s Pie?
How amazing it must have been, way back when canning was invented, for people to have access to seasonal food all year round. Canned Food UK is a not for profit organisation which promotes the benefits of tinned food. Although we tend to forget about it as we reach for a store cupboard stalwart, the canning process means that the nutrients are locked in, making canned food, healthy as well as convenient and affordable.
This week, 30th March to 5th April, is Canned Food Week and to mark the occasion I have made one of the recipes from the seven healthy eating plans created especially by nutritionist Amanda Hamilton. Getting people into the kitchen and preparing their own food, is one of the best ways of encouraging healthier eating. These eating plans contain recipes that are simple and convenient to make, but are tasty and healthy too. There is one to suit all types of people including students, the elderly and families with young kids. This recipe came from the Healthy Eating Plan for all occasions. I was provided with the necessary ingredients to make the recipe, so all that was required was a hunt for my tin opener.
The recipe was so quick and easy to put together, I made it in about 15 minutes. I altered it very slightly by soaking the bulgur wheat in hot water for a few minutes, rather than in cold water overnight. I like the idea of no ‘cooking’ required and rather wish I’d been a bit more organised and got the bulgur soaking the night before. I didn’t have any parsley, so used a large bunch of chives. CT is one of the unfussiest eaters I know, but he’s not too keen on beetroot for some reason. So instead of using a whole jar in the salad, I only used half of it. I had some of the salad for lunch and it was both tasty and satisfying; I was more than happy to have it again for supper. There was even enough left over to go into the fridge for another day – my idea of killing several birds with one stone. It’s the sort of thing I would have loved as a packed lunch for work, making a nice change from sandwiches. The variety of colours made the salad look particularly appealing and it had good contrasting tastes and textures too: crunchy, chewy, soft, sweet, tangy and salty. I shall be making this again for sure, although CT did whisper rather plaintively, “could you perhaps leave out the beetroot next time?”
- 100g bulgur wheat, soaked in cold water overnight (I soaked it in hot water for 15 mins)
- 1 x 400g can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 x 290g can chopped mushrooms, drained
- 1 x 340g jar sweet pickled baby beetroot, drained and roughly chopped (I used half a jar)
- 1 x 198g can sweet corn, drained
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 small bunch chives, roughly chopped (I used a large bunch of chives as I had no parsley)
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive
- 200g feta cheese
- Drain the bulgur wheat well and place into a large bowl.
- Add the beans, mushrooms, beetroot, sweet corn and red onion and mix well.
- Mix the maple syrup, vinegar and olive oil together then season with sea salt and black pepper, pour over the salad and mix so that all the salad is covered in dressing.
- Add the parsley and chives and mix once more then season really well.
- Divide between serving plates and crumble the feta cheese over the top.