Tabbouleh with Brown Chickpeas

 

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l combined the earthy, brown chickpeas with the Tabbouleh to make a meal with a mezze.

 

 

Tabbouleh is the classic Lebanese Salad. I believe that in some ways this popular salad represents the country as the colors of this salad has all the colors of the Lebanese flag.
Tabbouleh Diptych 1

 

The traditional salad is brimming in flavors with plenty of herbs with specks of bulgur. What we see in most adapted version is a base made with bulgur with the herbs and cucumbers added to it. Whatever kind it is, Tabbouleh happens to be one those salads that I heart.

 

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The best part about it is the way it leaves so much space to improvise and one can still end up with a fulfilling bowlful. Like the one we have today.

 

So is mine traditional? No. Not. But healthy and appeasing.

 

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All the different versions around the world might raise quite a few eyebrows. But I find all the kinds still beautiful, light, refreshing and palate cleansing.

The key to a good Tabbouleh is a large amount of fresh flat leaf parsley with the hint of the refreshing mint. It is NOT one of those grain salads with a touch of herbs in them. In fact, it is just the other way round. It is a herb salad with specks of grains in it. Make sure you respect the parsley and the mint and slice the herbs well without bruising them. And…use plenty of them.

 

parsley1.jpg

 

Tabbouleh serves as a good salad for lunch boxes, picnics and potlucks. They are great appetizers when scooped out with lettuce leaves, just like we served the Spicy Turkish Tabbouleh, Kisir. Or serve with Pita/or any flat-bread or chips on the side.

 

The addition of the brown chickpeas is my part of the story. A personal touch. The brown chickpeas have a firm texture and are nuttier than the chickpeas and I find them so much more enticing. Besides the taste, it adds the protein to the salad.

 

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Any recipe of Tabbouleh is just a framework that allows you to build your own. So do it!

 

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Tabbouleh with Brown Chickpeas

 

Ingredients: (serves 4-6)

  1. 1 cup uncooked bulgur, pref. medium
  2. 3.5 cups packed flat leaf parsley, finely minced
  3. 1/2 cup mint, finely chopped
  4. 1/2 cup cucumber – preferably Persian or English cucumbers, chopped in tiny pieces
  5. 2 stalks of  green/spring onions, finely sliced
  6. 1 medium very firm but ripe and juicy tomatoes (about 1/2 cup diced),  diced
  7. 2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses
  8. 1 cup cooked brown chickpeas (more or less, adjust to taste)
  9. 4-5 tablespoons olive oil 
  10. salt to taste
  11. 1.5 teaspoon sumac
  12. a few fresh grinds of black pepper
  13. 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  14. 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder (optional)
  15. 1 head lettuce, washed with leaves separated – to serve the tabbouleh with

Note: Other things you might add for a non traditional Tabbouleh: finely chopped chili pepper, sun dried tomatoes, olives, peas, pomegranate arils and feta. These are my personal favorites.

Use Quinoa instead of bulgur to make it gluten free.

 

 Method:

To cook the chickpeas, soak about 1/2 cup overnight and cook in a pressure cooker or pot until done. Or use the canned and drained regular chickpeas/garbanzo beans.

Lightly toast the bulgur in a dry skillet. Place the toasted bulgur in a bowl. Pour 1 cup of boiling hot water over bulgur and let stand for 30 minutes to an hour. Fluff with a fork. If there is extra water, squeeze it out. The bulgur should be dry.

Wash the herbs in cold water and slice them finely in very very thin sliver with a good sharp knife. Chop tomatoes, green onions, tomato and cucumber. In a bowl, gently mix together bulgur, parsley, mint, green onions, garlic, cucumber,  and tomatoes using a wooden spoon.

Add the salt, cumin, dried mint, sumac, black pepper,  and the cooked chickpeas. Toss well and allow it to stand for at least an hour before serving.

Add the lemon juice, half the olive oil and toss. Chill for an hour for the flavors to blend and infuse .

Before serving, drizzle with rest of the olive oil and toss again.

Serve over stacked lettuce leaves or with lettuce on the side to scoop the tabbouleh with.

 

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking/Soaking /Standing Time: 1 hour

Difficulty Level: Very Easy

Serves: 4-6

 

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