It’s easy to get into a rut with food. Even if you have a good background in cooking and hundreds of dishes in your repertoire it’s still easy to fall into preparing just the basic few things that you really like — or have gotten into the habit of fixing.
After reminding myself that the world has great things other than rice, whole wheat noodles and spaghetti, I’ve been trying to re-introduce some grains that I’ve not had for a while and try some new unfamiliar grains. I’ll pass along my findings to you in future posts.
Tabouli Salad – First introduction to bulgur ( bulgar)
The first time I ever tasted bulgur, a nutty-flavored wheat grain, was via a tabouli salad. The lady who lived next door to my parents was a fabulous cook. Her husband was in the service and she had been all over the world and had taken the opportunity to learn of wonderful foods and how to cook them.
That was many years ago, but it was love at first bite.
I got up this morning with the idea of making tabouli salad. I couldn’t find my recipe and to top that off, I didn’t have any plain bulgur. I did havetwo boxes of dried tabouli mix that had been in my cupboard probably longer than they should have been.
One by Casbah and one by Fantastic. I like the Fantastic mix better only because it is made with organic wheat and is not as green from the mint as the Casbah is.
Just so you’ll know – both mixes have bulgur wheat, onions, sea salt, parsley, garlic spices, citric acid, expeller pressed canola oil, freeze dried or natural lemon juice. The Casbah brand has mint which makes it authentic tabouli.
I opened both six oz. boxes and mixed them in a bowl with 2 3/4 cups of water, 1/4 cup of olive oil, and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Cover and let stand in frig for at least an hour.
As is, this mix goes great in a pita pocket with sliced avocadoes, tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers. If you’re a cheese fan, add some shredded cheese on top of the vegetables.
Another suggestion is to melt a bit of cheese in the pita pockets, add the tabouli and then the vegetables. Really good!
For supper I served it as a main dish with fresh chopped tomatoes. After Bill took the pictures for me I had an after thought and added fresh chopped red onions and cucumbers. Talk about good!
More about Bulgur Wheat
Bulgar wheathas been a nutritious staple since at least 4,000 BC . It’s high in fiber and has plenty of protein, minerals, and vitamins. It’s a snap to prepare because its precooked. It is made by crushing soaked, steamed, and dried partially hulled whole wheat kernels.
It resists mold and insects giving it a long storage life.
Bulgur with chicken or beef broth and sauteed onions and mushrooms is delicious. It’s a versatile grain and a google search will locate many recipes “beyond” tabouli.
Tabouli Salad while Tomatoes are in Season
Make some tabouli while tomatoes are still in season. If you need bulgur, Nutsonline has just the right kind.
Here’s a basic recipe. Feel free to add and subtract ingredients to make it just the perfect taste for your family.
By the way, add the chopped tomatoes at the table. Tomatoes change taste in the refrigerator; so, if there is any salad left over it will keep better without tomatoes.
Basic Tabouli (Tabbouleh) Recipe
- 1 cup fine bulgur wheat
- 2 cups of water
- about 1 cup of chopped parsley (fresh is always best)
- 1 and a half lemons juiced (or 1 to 2 tablespoons of ‘real lemon’)
- 1/4 cup olive oil (many recipes use twice this much, but I think 1/4 cup is plenty)
- garden mint – about 1/4 cup (I usually don’t have garden mint so I leave this out although many say its not tabouli without the mint)
- about 3 chopped scallions if you have them or use a medium sweet onion. (Sometimes I leave onions out especially when the onions start getting strong.)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 or 3 chopped medium tomatoes
In mixing bowl add bulgur, water, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, and mint.
Cover bowl and let sit in frig for at least one hour. (The bulgur will absorb the water.)
Remove, add scallions and toss.
Serve or hold in refrigerator until serving time.
Serve chopped tomatoes at the table.
Variation: When cucumbers are fresh from the garden I like to chop and serve with the tomatoes. Delicious!
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