By Esther Kennedy for the Times-Standard
Now that we’re heading into summer, it’s the perfect time to switch from hearty soups to light, filling, healthy meals. Salads tend to have a bad rep for being just boring lettuces and veggies thrown together, but there are endless opportunities to showcase your favorite veggies and fruits.
Rather than starting with a typical bed of lettuce and piling up all the delicious veggie toppings, use bulgur as the base for a delicious tabbouleh that is a Mediterranean staple. In my opinion, this dish can have many interpretations from wanting loads of veggies to how much dressing should be on the salad. This is mostly a vegetarian dish, but I’m sure the carnivores can add their favorite meats to this dish to make it unique.
As much as I love hearty, stick-to-your ribs soups, pasta dishes and steak, I’m a sucker for a fresh salad. I’ve been craving Mediterranean food recently, so I made tabbouleh with just a slight personal touch. It’s easy to create, makes perfect leftovers, and best of all, it’s delicious and healthy.
Enjoy the last few weeks of spring and live zestier.
1 cup coarse bulgur (will expand to double the quantity)
1 ½-2 tomatoes, seeded, small diced
2 bunches of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced on the bias
¾ English cucumber, seeded, finely chopped
6-8 fresh mint leaves, chiffonade (thin ribbons)
1-2 Tbsp. fresh dill, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (1-2 Tbsp. added if necessary)
1 lemon, zested, and at least ½ juiced
In a glass bowl or measuring dish, pour 1 cup of bulgur and add hot water to about an inch over the top; cover. Allow the bulger to expand then squeeze out any excess water. The process takes about 15-20 minutes.
While the bulgur is “cooking,” finely dice the cucumber, tomato and green onions. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Finely chop two bunches of parsley, taking care to pick out the large stems, then place it in the mixing bowl with the bulgur. Add zest of a lemon, trimmed fresh dill and chiffonade fresh mint. Slowly fold in the juice of half a lemon and 3 Tbsp. of olive oil. Fold in the veggies and herbs, and add more acid or olive oil to your liking.
Let this dish marinade in the fridge for at least half an hour before serving. Use a lettuce leaf for presentation if desired, or just grab a spoon and start eating out of the bowl.
Esther Kennedy is a Myrtletown, California resident and recipe creator. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/estherthezester.