We have had hot muggy days over the past week; the type of weather that isn’t conducive to indoor cooking. Who wants to slave over a stove in the summertime anyway? Not me. Tabouleh is a perfect option when the temperature soars and there’s no need to even crank up a burner. Just use the kettle to boil water for the bulgur. That’s it! Even though tabouleh is a filling salad, the fresh mint along with the lemon juice in the dressing keeps it tasting light and refreshing.
- 3/4 C bulgur (cracked wheat)
- 1 C boiling water
- 1 C tomato, small dice
- 1 small red onion, fine dice
- 1/2 C red bell pepper, fine dice
- 3/4 C peeled & seeded cucumber, fine dice
- 1/2 C minced fresh parsley
- 2 T minced fresh mint
- 1 tsp kosher salt flakes
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 C lemon juice
- 1/2 C olive oil
- Pour hot water over the bulgur and set aside for about 30 minutes. During this time the bulgur will absorb the water and soften up. Chill the prepared bulgur in the fridge for at least an hour before mixing with the remaining ingredients. I often prepare the bulgur the night before I make tabouleh.
- Combine the tomato, red onion, bell pepper,cucumber,parsley, mint and kosher salt.
- In a separate container mix together lemon juice, olive oil and chili powder.
- Add the chilled bulgur to the vegetable mixture and combine with the prepared dressing. Chill before serving. Garnish the salad with sprigs of fresh mint.
Recently my friend Pat lent me her copy of Jerusalem, a cookbook by Yotam Ottalenghi and Sami Tamimi. It’s full of stories and great recipes. I’ve adapted this recipe for the traditional lentil and rice pilaf, popular throughout the Mediterranean, by tweaking the spicing to suit my own palate. I also used canned lentils that were already prepared. The crispy onions add texture and sweet flavour making this hearty dish something special!
- 4 cooking onions, sliced very thin
- 3 T white flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ C oil
- 1 can of cooked lentils
- 1 C cooked brown rice
- 3 T olive oil
- 1 T mustard seeds
- 1 T coriander seeds
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- First prepare the crispy fried onions. Mix together salt and flour then sprinkle over the sliced onions and toss. Heat oil and fry the onions until they are crispy and golden brown. It takes about 7 -8 minutes. Give them a stir now and then. The flour tends to stick to the bottom of the pot. Just keep scraping it up. These little bits will brown and add crunch to the finished dish. Drain the crispy onions on paper towel and set aside.
- Rinse and drain the lentils – set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the mustard and coriander seeds. Stir over medium heat until the seeds begin to pop then add the remaining spices. Continue stirring for a minute or two then add the drained lentils, cooked rice and half of the crispy onions.
- Combine it all together. (I didn’t have any coriander so I used Cilantro Paste instead and added it to the mixture at this point).
- Salt & pepper to taste. Serve heaped into bowls and garnished with the remaining crispy onions. Glenn likes some heat so he adds some Sriracha hot sauce to his bowl at this point!
We use the left-overs for lunch the next day. I create wraps using large sized tortillas filled with the mejadra, sliced cucumber, sliced tomato and then dressed with the following sauce:
2 T mayonnaise, 2 T sour cream (or plain yogurt), 1 T cilantro paste, 2 T Sweet Thai chili Sauce
Hummus is another item we make often. Versions of hummus first appeared in Cairo during the thirteenth century. It’s a dish that has definitely stood the test of time and now shows up on menus all around the world. A simple dish, hummus is a spread made from five basic ingredients: chickpeas, sesame seeds, olive oil, garlic and lemon.
- 1 15 oz. can cooked chickpeas, rinsed & drained
- 4 – 6 cloves of garlic, crushed through a garlic press
- ¼ C olive oil
- Juice of one lemon
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 T tahini
- ¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
Place all of the above ingredients into a blender (or food processor) and blend until the chickpeas have turned into a paste and are well blended with the other ingredients. If you use a blender you will have to stop the blender to scrape down the sides a few times until the chickpeas are broken down into a paste. Place hummus in a bowl or on a platter, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with black olives. Serve with pita bread or as a dip beside fresh veggies.