Aunt Suzy says . . .

I am always on the lookout for appealing and healthy things to eat for lunch given I work out of my home.  In the summer (finally here!!) I crave bean and grain-based salads with lots of flavor and color.  If you want proof, just click on Salads in our list of blog categories! The inspiration for making this recipe came from seeing it in the Linden Hills Co-op Deli.  After peeking at the ingredients, I realized I had all of them on hand.  This makes for a very nice lunch shown above with Cape Town Rooibos iced tea.  Today I had some cooked broccoli on hand and made the salad again with broccoli instead of spinach.  Equally delicious, if you happen to like broccoli.  Today’s lunch was the salad with broccoli, lemony quinoa salad with Tropical Green iced tea.

The Dressing

2-3 tablespoons EV olive oil

2-3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

Salt and black pepper to taste

The Salad

1 large or two small cans of chickpeas (about 3 cups cooked)

2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped OR

1 1/2 – 2 cups cooked broccoli, roughly chopped

1 roasted pepper, diced

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, or more to taste

Drain and rinse the chickpeas if using canned. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, except the feta cheese.  Add the dressing and gently stir to thoroughly blend.  Add the cheese and stir again to blend.  Or you can omit the cheese from the salad and add it once served.

Tabbouleh with Chickpeas

July 18, 2010

Aunt Suzy says

I subscribe to Weeknight Kitchen from The Splendid Table,  an email with an easy-to-make supper recipe that comes out each Wednesday.  This recipe turns Tabbouleh into a main dish salad and utilizes the current season’s produce.  What could be better!

A note about ingredients and quantities:

The original recipe called for a cup and a half of bulgur but when I made this recently when visiting Margaux’s Mom, we both agreed that we wanted more vegetables/herbs and less bulgur.  Quinoa could be substituted for the bulgur.   I also think this is a recipe where quantities are guidelines.  Randy and I will try more mint next time and a little more cayenne pepper.  I have a hunch that cumin and paprika would be nice additions to the dressing.  To make judging quantities easier, I put the measured amount I used in parentheses for some items.  Whether you follow the recipe to the letter or use it as a jumping off point for your own creation, I think you will enjoy it.

The Dressing

1/4 cup EV olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 large clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press

a pinch each of cinnamon, allspice and cayenne pepper

Blend all together and set aside while making the salad.

The Salad

1 cup bulgur wheat

1-2 tomatoes, seeded and diced (1 cup)

1 cucumber, seeded and diced (1 3/4 cup)

1/2 cup diced onion

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup fresh spearmint, chopped

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Place the bulgur in a large bowl and add 1 cup boiling water.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Add tomato, cucumber and onion and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the chickpeas and the dressing and stir to blend well.  Add the mint and parsley, stir again, taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve on a bed of lettuce, with pita and hummus – maybe some olives.

Another suggestion was to serve as a sandwich in a pita pocket, which we did today.  We spread the inside of the pita with some garlicky hummus, then placed the salad inside the pita.  My upstairs neighbor, Krisztina, had some fresh Hungarian peppers in the garden.  We sliced one up and added to the sandwiches along with some feta crumbles I got at the farmer’s market yesterday from Singing Hills Goat Dairy.  Delicious with lemon-mint iced tea.

Aunt Suzy says

Now that it’s summer, I’m really focused on side and main dish salads that don’t require much or any cooking and that are fast and easy to prepare.   When I saw this recipe I thought it would fit right in as either a side salad to a grill menu or as a main dish salad if I added  feta cheese.  Randy and I love what we call “platter salads” in the summer.   The other night we served this salad on a bed of lettuce, with sliced grilled chicken breast and olives.  Just add baguette and a fresh, lemony Pinot Grigio!

This recipe uses canned chickpeas with the idea that we are all busy!!  The original recipe in Food and Wine has great instructions for cooking the chickpeas from dried with all kinds of savory ingredients, if you want to go that route.  Since I’m always tinkering with recipes, I’ve made a few other adaptations.  You can adjust quantities to your taste (of course!).

3 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 large ribs of celery, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 large red onion, diced (about 1 1/4 cups)

2 garlic cloves, minced

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)

2 tablespoons diced peperoncini

1/3-1/2 cup EV olive oil of good quality

3/4-1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (for main dish salad)

Place the chickpeas in a large bowl.  Add the celery, onion, lemon zest and juice, garlic, rosemary, oregano and peperoncini.  Toss to combine.  Add the olive oil, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.  Add the feta cheese, if using.

I love using this bowl to make salads -Margaux gave it to me for some occasion a few years ago.  Also, on the left in the goofy picture is a favorite ingredient, Florida Sunshine Salt, a combination of salt, ginger, rose petals and other goodies that make for a great addition to salads and salad dressing.  I highly recommend it!