Autumn Butternut, Bean & Bulgur Salad is a hearty and flavorful salad that is perfect for a fall meal. This Southwestern salad is a zesty, hearty and healthy recipe. To make it combine roasted butternut squash, black beans, corn, bulgur wheat, cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, and pumpkin seeds. The dressing is a simple combination of olive oil, lime juice, maple syrup, and cilantro. This plant-based Autumn salad is inspired by tabouli which is a traditional Middle Eastern salad . However, this vegan salad adds a Southwest twist with the addition of butternut squash, black beans, and corn. If you are looking for a healthy salad recipe that packs Autumn flavors, you will love this one.
What is tabbouli?
Tabouli is a Levantine salad. It contains finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, mint, onion, and bulgur. Olive oil, lemon juice, and salt are what makes up the simple dressing. Tabouli is a staple ingredient of a mezze in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Arab world. Like hummus, baba ghanoush, pita bread, and other elements of Arab cuisine, tabbouleh has become a popular food in the United States. It is a refreshing and healthy salad that is perfect for a light lunch or dinner. Tabbouli was the inspiration for this Autumn Butternut, bean and bulgur salad. But I gave it a twist with Southwestern flavors and ingredients. The alternate title for this healthy recipe is Southwest Tabbouli.
Bulgur is made from cracked wheat. Therefore it is not a gluten free food. Bulgur is a staple food in many cuisines around the world, including Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Indian cuisine. Bulgur is quick and easy to cook and has a pleasant nutty flavor. Use it in a variety of healthy dishes, including salads, pilafs, soups, and stews. Bulgur is the perfect addition to this Autumn Butternut, bean and bulgur salad.
Here are some of the health benefits of bulgur:
- It is a good source of fiber, which can help to improve digestion and regulate blood sugar levels.
- It is a good source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue.
- It is low in calories and fat, making it a healthy choice for people who are trying to maintain a healthy weight.
- It is a good source of antioxidants, which can help to protect the body against cell damage.
Ingredients for Autumn Butternut, bean and bulgur salad
Although this healthy recipe can be made year round, I call it an Autumn Salad. Because butternut squash is abundant in Fall in most locations. But, thanks to modern grocery stores, it is available year round as well. To make this Southwestern Salad in the Summer, just substitute another seasonal squash like zucchini or summer squash.
Let's break down the ingredients required for making this Autumn Salad
- Butternut squash is a winter squash with a sweet flavor. It is a good source of fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Butternut is one of the dominant flavors in this dish.
- Bulgur is a grain made from cracked wheat. It is a good source of fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals. Cook it in water or broth.
- Limes are citrus fruits with a sour flavor. They are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. Lime really makes this salad taste fresh and zesty.
- Cilantro aka coriander is a fresh herb with a bright, citrusy flavor. It gives this Southwestern salad a zing of freshness.
- Frozen corn is a convenient way to add corn to dishes without having to shuck and husk fresh corn.
- Black beans are legumes with a mild flavor. I use canned beans for the convenience. If you prefer, use cooked from dry.
- Cherry tomatoes have a sweet flavor. I choose to use them because they are the most flavorful tomato, all year round.
- English cucumber has a long, slender shape and mild flavor. I use them because they release less water than other cucumbers.
- Pumpkin seeds are a delicious and nutritious snack. They are a good source of fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals. I love using them in salads for extra texture, flavor and nutrition.
- Maple syrup I use pure maple syrup for a sweetener in my recipes. Maybe it is my New England heritage, but I love the flavor.
- Smoked paprika has a smoky, sweet flavor. I use it often in cooking, baking, and salad dressings.
- Chipotle chili flakes are flakes of dried and smoked jalapeño peppers. They have a smoky, spicy flavor.
How to make Autumn Butternut, Bulgur and Bean Salad
This Southwestern salad recipe is quite easy to make. There are no fancy cooking techniques involved. Just some chopping, roasting and blending and voila, you have a healthy Autumn Salad that is fit for a King. You won't find a healthy recipe that is more delicious and satisfying.
Here is a Step-by-step guide to making Autumn Butternut, Bean & Bulgur Salad:
Preheat the oven
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is important to preheat the oven for a few reasons:
- To ensure that food cooks evenly. When you preheat the oven, the temperature is consistent throughout the oven cavity.
- To prevent food from sticking to the pan. When you preheat the oven, the pan gets hot. This helps to prevent food from sticking to the pan and burning.
- To reduce cooking time. When you start cooking your food in a preheated oven, it will start to cook immediately. This can help to reduce the overall cooking time.
- To improve food quality. Preheating the oven helps to ensure that your food cooks to the correct temperature and texture.
Never skip the preheat!
Prepare the bulgur
Cook the bulgur according to package directions and let it cool down. For a quicker cooling experience, spread the cooked grains gently into a single layer on a sheet pan.
Roast the butternut squash
On a large sheet pan, combine cubed butternut squash, 1 tablespoon olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and optional chipotle chili flakes. Mix well and spread in a single layer.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until butternut squash is tender. After it is fork-tender, remove it from the oven and let it cool.
Make the dressing
While the butternut squash is baking, make the dressing by adding ½ bunch cilantro, remaining olive oil, remaining salt, maple syrup, and lime juice to a blender. Blend until smooth.
Assemble the salad
In a large bowl, combine bulgur, cucumber, tomatoes, black beans, corn, butternut squash, cilantro, and pumpkin seeds. Pour the zesty cilantro lime dressing over the salad and toss well. Serve immediately or enjoy within 3-4 days for best quality.
Recipe tips and notes
Pumpkin seeds: For extra flavor, toast the pumpkin seeds before adding them to the salad.
Dressing: If you don't have a blender, finely chop the cilantro and whisk it together with the other dressing ingredients.
Pack it with veggies: Add other roasted vegetables to the salad, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, or onions. This will bump up the fiber and nutrition.
Substitutions: If you hate cilantro, substitute milder parsley or a combination of parsley and mint.
Make it Gluten Free: Make this recipe gluten free by substituting quinoa or brown rice for the bulgur.
Other Delicious Autumn Salads
Autumn Butternut, Bulgur and Bean Salad
- 3 cups butternut squash cubed
- 5 tbsp olive oil divided
- 2 tsp salt divided
- 8 oz bulgur cooked according to package
- 2 limes juiced
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 pinch chipotle chili flakes optional
- 1 bunch cilantro chopped
- ½ bunch cilantro for dressing
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 30 oz black beans canned, drained and rinsed
- 10 cherry tomatoes quartered
- ½ English cucumber peeled and diced small
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds toasted
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 400
- Cook bulgur according to package, let cool.
- On a large sheet pan add cubed butternut, 1 tbsp olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, and optional chipotle chili flakes. Mix and spread in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes until tender. Let cool.
- Make the dressing by adding to a blender ½ bunch cilantro, remaining olive oil, remaining salt, maple syrup and lime juice. Blend until smooth.
- Assemble the salad. In a large bowl add bulgur, cucumber, tomato, beans, corn, butternut, cilantro and pumpkin seeds. Pour the dressing over the top and toss well.
- Enjoy within 3-4 days for best quality.