BULGUR: Bring 1-1/4 cups of water to a boil. Meanwhile, add the bulgur to a large bowl. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and then pour the boiling water over. Stir, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or a lid. Let it sit at room temperature for 15-25 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed into the bulgur. Remove the plastic wrap and fluff with a fork. Let cool to room temperature. (If you're in a hurry, pop it in the fridge!) We love making this part a day before -- it makes the salad come together so much quicker!
DRESSING: In a small blender jar (or food processor), add a 1/4 cup packed basil. Then add in all the rest of the dressing ingredients. Season to taste with salt & pepper (I add 1/4 tsp salt & 1/8 tsp pepper). Blend just until smooth; don't over-blend. Transfer to a sealed jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
SALAD: To the cooled bulgur, add the blueberries, diced cucumbers, coarsely chopped pistachios, the corn cut from cobs, diced avocado, and optional red onion. Chop the remaining basil (you'll get ~1/2 cup) and add it in. Drizzle on 1/2 of the dressing and gently toss. We love adding the remaining dressing in increments (The bulgur continues to soak it up as it sits.) but add as much or as little as you'd like. If time permits, chill the salad for 15-20 minutes. Toss again then add cheese (if using) right before serving.
STORAGE: We like this salad best the same day it's made. But it will stay fresh in an airtight container for 2-3 days, noting that the flavor (and smell) from the red onions becomes more intense every day. Before enjoying, make sure to give the stored salad a good stir and taste to see if it needs more seasoning or another squeeze of lemon. This salad doesn't freeze or thaw well.
Note 1: Bulgur wheat: There are different varieties of bulghur, mainly varying in coarseness and only fine bulgur will work with the method indicated in this recipe. It also makes for the best salad texture! I've found this can be a hard ingredient to find in mainstream grocery stores so it's typically something I order online. Alternatively, use cooked and cooled quinoa or small couscous insteadNote 2: Cucumbers: Regular cucumbers don’t work well. They don’t have enough flavor and are too watery. Stick to an English cucumber or Persian cucumbers (Persian cucumbers are sometimes labeled as mini/salad cucumbers). You'll need 1 large English cucumber or about 4-5 small salad cucumbers.Note 3: Pistachios. Save time (and your fingers!) by purchasing shelled pistachios. We love roasted and lightly salted pistachios best — more flavor without any extra effort on your part. (Here’s what we use in this salad).Note 4: Basil: If you don't have access to garden-fresh basil, this single .75 oz. packet is the perfect amount for this salad and dressing!