Thursday, November 7, 2013

Parsley Tabbouleh with Chickpeas

Have I convinced you to pick up some bulgur yet? If not, this recipe may provide some additional inspiration. Everyone who has been to a Mediterranean restaurant is surely familiar with tabbouleh, a light and fresh combination of bulgur and parsley that is a staple of the cuisine. Though a grain-heavy version may be encountered much more frequently these days, the traditional recipe is more of a parsley dish than a bulgur dish, bursting with copious amounts of fresh herbs. Tabbouleh typically appears as part of a meze, one of many tastes in a generous spread, but I've turned it into a light main dish with the addition of chickpeas and feta. Traditional ingredients still form the backbone of this salad, so you won't be missing any of the classic flavors with the transition from side to main dish. Fresh and light flavors dominate with generous amounts of fresh veggies and herbs, but the chewy bites of bulgur, salty tastes of feta, and hearty nibbles of chickpeas keep each bite interesting and varied.

I kept all the elements fairly classic, but using quinoa in lieu of the bulgur is great way to start experimenting with the traditional recipe. This is most obviously served in the summer when steamy temperatures demand light meals, but also a nice way to break out of the cold weather meat and potatoes rut it's all too easy to get stuck in.

Parsley Tabbouleh with Chickpeas
adapted from Eating Well
serves 4

2 cup water
1 cup bulgur
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cups finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, (about 2 bunches)
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tomatoes, diced
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 ounces crumbled feta (optional)

1. Combine water and bulgur in a small saucepan and cook according to package directions. If any water remains, drain bulgur in a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 15 minutes.

2. Combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, and chickpeas to the bulgur. Add the dressing and feta, if using, and toss ingredients together. Serve at room temperature or chill for at least 1 hour to serve cold.

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