Tuesday, April 19, 2011
My entire family loves Greek and Lebanese food. We're fortunate to have a Lebanese restaurant in town that does a fabulous lunch buffet...and only charges my kids, who often eat as much there as most adults, $1 for all of the tabbouleh, mujadara, gyro and schwarma that their little bellies can hold.
Since I haven't been able to talk my husband into investing into a vertical spit (um, hello, that seems to be a pretty obvious purchase), I just have set about perfecting some of our other favorites. That is where tabbouleh comes in. Tabbouleh is such a great summer food - easy to prepare, fresh ingredients, easy on the waistline. I love a dish that doesn't require me to turn up the air conditioning.
There are many ways of preparing tabbouleh, some use bulgur wheat, some include mint. I like using buckwheat because of the nuttiness (that is such an overused adjective) that it brings, and I often skip the mint (because I've banned that land hogger from my garden). This recipe is based on a recipe for buckwheat tabbouleh from one of my favorite healthy bloggers, Oh She Glows. The ingredients included are much the same, but the preparation is a bit different. I like recipes that I don't have to babysit too much, so I've adapted her recipe to suit that purpose.
1 cup raw buckwheat groats
2.5 cups of water
2 bunches parsley
1/2 cucumber, cut into large chunks
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into large chunks
2 cloves garlic
4 green onions, white and light green parts only
1 carrot, cut into large chunks
Juice of one large lemon
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
I prefer to cook my buckwheat in a rice cooker for ease. Into a rice cooker goes the buckwheat and water, flip the switch and let it do its thing. If you don't have a rice cooker (ahem, get one), you're free to use the stove top. Just boil the water, add the buckwheat, bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for 15-20 minutes.
After it is cooked, put it in the refrigerator to cool down a bit. Just until you have the rest of the ingredients prepped.
Again, look at me using modern day appliances to make life easier. My food processor is my best friend. It is one of the few wedding gifts that I actually use (the others are a set of chopsticks and a misto). Cut the stems off the parsley, though, no need to be precise, just hack the bunch off under the leaves and throw it in the food processor. Pulse a few times to give it a rough chop and then add the rest of the vegetables. Pulse 10-15 times until everything is nice and uniformly chopped. Again, you can do this by hand.
For the dressing, combine the juice of one large lemon and 2 T. olive oil. Whisk well.
Pour the vegetable mixture into a large bowl and add the buckwheat. Stir until well incorporated. Pour the dressing over and stir again. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to develop the flavors, OR, if you're like me and have waited until the kids are absolutely dying of hunger to even start dinner...serve it immediately, it will still be super tasty.
Note, I probably won't ever give exact measurements on salt and pepper because tastes vary so much. I usually fall on the lightly salted end of the spectrum.