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Publish date

13th May 2022

Author

Dr. Kate McCann

Sunday Mezze

All this week, I’m posting recipes to go with the social medial discussion on reading nutritional labels.  This recipe is for a high-fibre Mediterrean salad called Tabbouleh.  Because salads are more than just lettuce.

It’s the trickiest recipe I’m sharing this week, but requires no technical skills – just boiling and chopping – and worth it.  Note: Tabbouleh salad is best made ahead because the flavours change as it sits.  So, making this a day ahead works well.  It will stay in the fridge, covered, for up to 4 days .

Mediterrean mezze makes a great Sunday lunch.  This is a good one if you are trying to get into more plant-based and more whole-food, and you need to take it step by step. This is a dinner you can slowly build on. Every time you make it, you can try to make one more part of it yourself (you’ll find it tastes better than processed!).   Falafels and falafel mixes, hummous, and tzatziki are available in shops if you are apprehensive about making them to start, but plenty of easy – and tasty – recipes for tzatziki (say: cha-chee-kee), hummous, and falafel out there.  By making them yourself, you will reduce the added salts and sugars found in the processed versions.  You can also reduce the fat in tzatziki by using a plant-based or 0% fat yogurt for your homemade version.  I would recommend always choosing whole food cous cous rather than pre-seasoned sachets.

My mezze?  I usually serve falafel, tabbouleh, cous cous, whole wheat pitta, hummous, tzatziki, and fresh vegetables including lettuce and tomatoes.

You can find bulgur wheat in the whole foods section of your grocery store.  Ingredients like tahini for hummous are in the ethnic food section.  If you live near an Asian grocery store, you can find more options.  If you live near me in Meath, I’ve also found the recently opened Cinnamon Spice Heaven in Ashbourne great source for whole grains, rice, spices.

Tabbouleh

  • 100g bulgur wheat (cooked, drained, and cooled)

  • 1 small cucumber, diced

  • 1 large tomato, diced

  • 2 x ½ teaspoon salt*

  • 3  bunches curly parsley, finely chopped

  • Few springs of chopped fresh mint – optional

  • 2 green onions, finely chopped

  • 75ml olive oil

  • 45-60 ml tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1  clove garlic minced

  1. Combine the diced cucumber and tomato with ½ teaspoon of the salt*.   If you have a colander or sieve, you can transfer the cucumber and tomatoes into that and rest/drain the excess moisture for at least 10 minutes.

  2. Cut the thick stems off of the parsley (and mint, if using). Either finely chop or you can use a food processor, if you have one.

  3. In a small bowl, make the dressing by mixing the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt*.

  4. Combine the cooked, cooled wheat bulgur, the drained cucumber and tomatoes, and the finely chopped herbs in a large bowl. Pour over the dressing. Taste.  Add extra lemon juice if needed.

  5. Cover and refrigerate.**

*While we want to reduce our salt, in this recipe, salt has 2 important roles.  In the first step, it is “disgorging” the excess water from the vegetables.   In step 3, the salt is an emulsifier in the dressing, helping the acidic lemon and oil mix.
**Tabbouleh tastes better made ahead.  If you are a rush, try to give it at least 15 minutes before serving if you can.

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