I had not had bulgur in a very long time. It’s a ridiculously healthy, nutty-flavoured wheat grain that we should eat more often. Perhaps it will help counteract the effect of my frequent visits to the new ice cream parlour that just opened up near my home. Bulgur is packed with nutrients like fibre, folate and manganese and it’s extremely easy to prepare. If you don’t think you can wait the 20 minutes for the bulgur to simmer, then make this dish with couscous instead, which takes only 5 minutes. Tabbouleh is a delicious Middle Eastern salad that can also be used as a great filler for a pita sandwich, should you be lucky enough to have leftovers for lunch the next day.
I opened up a fresh new package of whole wheat bulgur and stirred it into boiling water. While it simmered for 20 minutes I had time to leisurely prepare the rest of the recipe: toast the pine nuts in the toaster oven while I chopped the tomatoes, parsley and hot peppers. I decided to keep the hot peppers aside so that each person could add to their individual liking. As I’m just days away from giving birth, I’m staying away from spicy foods right now. My husband would add most of it to his dish, while the rest of us (housemate, toddler and pregnant mother) would eat a simpler version.
I served the tabbouleh to my family accompanied by hummus, tzatziki, falafel balls and pita bread. We ate outside (ah, spring!) and imagined how good the meal would taste on a hot summer day.
I watched as my husband spooned most of the peppers into his salad (not surprisingly) and then as my 19-year-old housemate/sister-in-law took some peppers as well (surprisingly). She usually shies away from the spicier dishes, but this time she took two helpings of hot peppers to flavour her dish. As for the toddler, he announced, “I don’t like it” but ate it anyway. I think he was just testing out new vocabulary he picked up from daycare. And his actions usually speak louder than his words. With his mouth filled with food and both hands holding pita pieces he shouted, “I’m done!”, so let me just say that, yes, we all liked it!
We had some leftovers for lunch the next day, but I wanted to increase the quantity of the salad. I quickly chopped up another tomato, a yellow pepper and some cucumber to add to what remained of our meal. It was perfect and we all had a nice healthy lunch the next day.
Tabbouleh is a salad that you can make ahead and can keep for up to two days, which makes me think I should put it on a list of things to make once this new baby arrives. When I was nursing our son in the early months I would be overcome with hunger and grabbing whatever I could (usually crackers and hummus) when I had neither the time nor the energy to actually make something. I hope to be a bit more organized this time around and, when the baby naps, accomplish some food prepping so that if I need to grab something from the fridge for a quick bite, it will be there ready and waiting for me. Wish me luck!