Joco Diversions

October 8, 2013

Tabbouleh a colorful alternative to predictable pasta, potato salads

Tired of the predictable pasta and potato salads at your neighborhood or church potluck?

Tired of the predictable pasta and potato salads at your neighborhood or church potluck?

The Star’s Tabbouleh With Feta, a colorful, Mediterranean-style no-cook salad, is easy to fix and makes enough to feed a crowd.

Tabbouleh (pronounced tah-BOO-lah) is made from bulgur or wheat kernels that have been parboiled, dried and ground, a process that reduces cooking to a quick steam using boiling water. Stir in chopped tomatoes, mint, parsley, lemon and olive oil, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Low in fat and high in fiber and protein, bulgur has a naturally mild, nutty flavor. A vegetarian dish, it can also be served as an accompaniment to fish, beef or chicken.

For a twist, add a few crumbles of feta, a tangy Greek cheese traditionally made from sheep’s or goat’s milk but most often made with cow’s milk in the United States. Feta is high in calcium, and when used as a garnish, it adds a briny bite to any dish. Reduced-fat feta also contains roughly a third less fat than regular feta.

It’s rare to find a dish that features fresh parsley, often thought of as a garnish, so prominently. Parsley is an excellent source of vitamins A and C.

Shopping tip:

For this recipe, The Star’s testers used Bob’s Red Mill 100 percent whole-grain, quick-cooking bulgur wheat.

Cooking tips:

Use 1/4 cup mint leaves for a milder flavor or up to 1/2 cup mint for a stronger flavor.

To quickly and easily mince the herbs, place parsley, mint and cilantro leaves together in a straight-sided cup and use kitchen shears to quickly snip the herbs until finely minced. Do not use a food processor or the delicate herbs will turn to mush.

Feta adds a wonderful flavor to tabbouleh, but the salad is also very good without the cheese.

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