Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tabbouleh - Or, a Heat-Free Dinner in July

I recently signed up for weekly e-mails from The Splendid Table (brought to America by Public Radio). So once a week, I now receive an interesting, usually ethnic-inspired recipe developed by one Lynne Rossetto Kasper. Tonight, I made a fabulous Tabbouleh (cracked wheat salad). It was flavorful, meatless, a riot of colors, and required no use of either oven or stove. Now that the weather has soared to 100 degrees nearly daily in Sacramento, the latter virtue alone was enticing enough for me to have a go at it, and I loved the results. Leftovers made a great lunch the next day - you've got your grain, veggie, fruit, and protein all in one dish.


1-1/2 cups bulgur wheat

1 medium-large tomato, diced

1 medium cucumber or 2 pickling cucumbers, peeled and diced

1/2 cup diced red onion

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

A few pinches each of cinnamon, allspice, and cayenne

1 large clove garlic, minced

One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained (or 1 cup cooked)

1/3 cup lightly toasted pine nuts

1/3 cup currants, soaked in water for 10 minutes and drained

1/3 cup chopped fresh spearmint

1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

Put the bulgur in a large bowl and add 1-1/2 cups boiling water. Stir, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour. If necessary, drain excess water from the bulgur.

In a small bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic and whisk together.

Add the tomato, cucumber, onion, garbanzos, pine nuts, and currants to the bulgur. Sprinkle with the mint and parsley. Drizzle the dressing over the tabbouleh and toss well. Let the salad stand for about 30 minutes before serving and taste again for seasoning; you may need a little more oil, lemon juice, salt, or pepper.

The salad can be prepared in advance and kept at cool room temperature, or if refrigerated, allowed to come to room temperature before serving.

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