Summer’s Not Here Yet Tabouleh Salad

The weather here in the Northeast the past two days has been almost summer-like (ok, maybe very-late-spring-like).  I wanted to make something light and healthy for lunch other than a standard salad.  Luckily, I had most of the ingredients for tabouleh…or tabouli, or tabboule, or tabbouleh.

Tabouleh is a Middle Eastern salad that is traditionally made with bulgur, tomato, cucumber, and herbs.  Traditionally, it was served as part of a mezze (a selection of small dishes) served in the Mediterranean and Middle East.  There are different variations of it in Turkey and Armenia, and it has become a very popular ethnic food in the US.

Instead of bulgur, I used quinoa, which bumps up the protein a bit, but feel free to use either.  I have made this in the past also with couscous.  The one important thing, however, is to make sure you let the tabouleh sit for a few hours, or overnight, in the fridge so that the flavors can marry together.

I bet the addition of fresh basil leaves would be a nice touch to this salad also.  Perhaps next time.

Tabouleh

Probably serves about 6 people

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tomato, or 20 grape tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of one fresh lemon or lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place quinoa and water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all of the water has been absorbed by the quinoa, about 15 minutes.  Remove and let cool completely.

Slice cucumber lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon.  Cut the cucumber and tomato into pieces about the size of a kernel of corn and place into a large bowl.  Chop onion and garlic.  Add to bowl along with the parsley and mint.

Once the quinoa has completely cooled, add to the bowl, along with the olive oil and the juice of the lemon or lime. Stir until all the ingredients are combined.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  You can serve immediately, but it will be better if you cover with plastic and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Vegetarian-in-a-Bowl

I was looking to clean out my pantry and use up some veggies that I’ve had in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks and put together this recipe.  I was craving Indian/Middle Eastern flavors (which you know I love) and put this together.  While I listed the exact ingredients I used below, you can substitute olive oil for the sesame and you can use any starch other than potato (perhaps a sweet potato or maybe a rutabaga).  I had only baby spinach, but I think kale would also be nice in this.

This is a relatively healthy dish, the only fat is in the oil, which is minimal.  The rest of the dish is vegetarian, and in fact vegan.  Adjust the spices as you like.

I served it over some whole-grain couscous for a nice meal.  Although this ideally serves two people, it is probably enough for three, as I had it for dinner, then again for lunch the next two days.

Indian Chickpea Bowl

(serves 2)

  • 1/2 onion, diced,
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil (other oil may be substituted)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • One 15 oz can of chickpeas
  • 1 small red potato (sweet potato or rutabaga can be substituted), diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced or diced
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 8 oz baby spinach

Saute the onion in the oil on medium-high heat for 2 minutes.  Add the ginger and saute for another minute and then add garlic. Sprinkle the salt while cooking.

Add the can of chickpeas (including the liquid), carrots, diced potato, tomato paste and spices. Bring to a low boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

Add the greens, cover and cook for 5 more minutes.