Chef Alex’s Lunchbox: Bulgur, Acorn Squash and Pistachio Salad

Bulgur is pre-cooked cracked wheat. It’s a great source of fiber and contains manganese, which is essential for normal brain and nerve function. It also contains a fair amount of potassium, which strengthens the bones, and iron, which is more common in animal foods – making bulgur a great iron source for vegans. The grain cooks very quickly and adapts well to different flavors. Here’s a great fall dish that travels well and makes a perfect lunchbox salad.

2 lunch entrée salads


½ cup pistachios
¾ cup bulgur
¾ teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups boiling water
1 small acorn squash, peeled, cut in half, seeded and cut into a medium dice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup sundried tomatoes, rehydrated and finely chopped
2 lemons, juiced (about ¼ cup)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 small scallions, chopped finely
1/3 ounce mint, picked and minced (about 1 tbsp.)
1 ounce fresh parsley, picked and minced (about ½ cup packed)


Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit. Place pistachios on a baking sheet and toast for about 15 minutes, remove and allow to cool. Once they are cooled, roughly chop and set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 400°.

Rinse bulgur and toast in a small sauce pot until lightly browned, then carefully add boiling water (it may splatter) and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir, cover and let steam for 30 minutes. When fully cooked, spread out on a baking sheet or plate to cool.

Place diced squash in a bowl and drizzle with one tablespoon oil and ¼ teaspoon salt; toss to coat. Place squash on a baking sheet and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender.

Transfer the squash, bulgur, pistachios and sun dried tomatoes to a large bowl and gently mix.

In a small bowl, add the remainder of oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and whisk until incorporated. Stir the dressing into the salad, then fold in the scallions and parsley.