Tired of the predictable pasta and potato salads at your neighborhood or church potluck?
This recipe for 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.
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.
Tabbouleh With Feta
1 cup bulgur wheat
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped (about 1 3/4 cups chopped)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, minced
1/4to 1/2 cup loosely packed mint, minced
1/4cup loosely packed cilantro, minced
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2cup reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese
Place bulgur in a large, heat-proof mixing bowl. Pour boiling water, lemon juice and olive oil over bulgur. Stir to blend, cover and allow to stand 1 hour. Stir in remaining ingredients, except cheese. Cover and refrigerate several hours. Just before serving, stir in feta. Makes 14 servings.
Per ( 1/2-cup) serving: 76 calories (30 percent from fat), 3 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 1 milligram cholesterol, 11 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 62 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.
The Wichita Eagle—10/13/09