Wednesday, July 7, 2010

tabouleh :: a cool, quick lunch for a hot day

If you haven't yet stepped outside today, you're lucky.  It's a blazing 97 degrees in NYC.  I nearly melted just walking from my apartment to my neighborhood coffee shop, OST.  When the weather's this sweltering, I can really only think about hydrating to stay cool.  The more liquids the better.  Actual food tends to become an after thought and anything resembling an oven/toaster oven/stove top is absolutely out of the question.  
But because a girl does have eat, I went the incredibly easy, no-heat-required route of prepping a cool tabouleh salad for today's lunch (put together in under 10 minutes and easily packed up to bring to the office).  I must thank my beloved mother for inspiring me to love this summertime Middle Eastern dish.  Tabouleh was a constant staple in our fridge when I was growing up.  A big bowl sat ready for the taking - perfect for a fast  and energizing lunch thanks to the goodness of whole grains or a satisfying afternoon snack or even a colorful and  healthful side dish at dinner.  Tabouleh's traditionally made with bulgur (cracked wheat that's high in fiber, about 5 grams per serving), lots of parsley - curly or Italian works just fine, olive oil, lemon juice, scallion and tomato.  Plain, simple and shockingly healthy.  Clearly my mom was ahead of her time!

Lacking parsley this morning when I whipped up the dish, I substituted fresh mint and threw in some chickpeas and feta cheese for an extra-energy packed lunch.  Cool, refreshing and it's keeping me well-fueled all afternoon. 

makes 4 servings

2 cups bulgur
1 cup red or yellow cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
1 vine-ripened or heirloom tomato diced
2 kirby cucumbers, diced
2 stalks of scallions, chopped
1 15 ounce can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste

put the bulgur in a medium bowl and fill with water just to cover.  allow to sit covered on a counter top for at least 30 minutes or overnight.  bulgur will absorb the water and will be ready to work with - no cooking required!  place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss.  lunch in under 10 minutes!

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