How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Tabbouleh and Hummus

OK – this is the last Cookbook Challenge recipes from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I had a huge bunch of parsley that needed to be used up so tabbouleh seemed like the perfect choice. And what better to go with tabbouleh than hummus with some warm pitas. That makes a nice meal.

I usually think of tabbouleh as a grain salad because it is made with bulgur wheat. While it does have bulgur in it, it is really an herb salad; lots and lots of herbs, a few vegetables and some bulgur to go along with.

I followed the How to Cook Everything Vegetarian recipe (more or less) exactly – with one glaring exception. I was a little short of mint. My mint plant was not as prolific as it needed  to be. I only had about a quarter cup of mint.

Ingredients for tabbouleh

So here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked bulgur
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh parsley
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup scallion
  • 1 really good tomato

I used Bob’s Red Mill Bulgur. I cooked the bulgur according to package directions, and I actually cooked some extra because I had another use for it. Bulgur is a terrific whole grain because it cooks very quickly. With a ratio of 1 part grain to 2 parts water, the bulgur was cooked in about 15 minutes.

Once the bulgur was cooked and slightly cooled it was time to start chopping. Roughly chop the parsley and mint. Chop the scallion and tomato. The tomato is optional. You can skip it if you don’t have a really delicious one on hand.

In a large bowl add the cooked bulgur (about a cup and a half), herbs, tomato, scallion, olive oil and lemon juice.

Tabbouleh ingredients, chopped

Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Beautiful Bowl of Tabbouleh

This tabbouleh is gorgeous. It looks so fresh and flavorful!

Next up, I prepared the hummus. Earlier in the day I had cooked a pot of chickpeas. I used Rancho Gordo chickpeas.

In my small crock pot I cooked about a cup of chickpeas with 4 cups of water. I let them cook all day as the recipe calls for them to be well cooked.

Ingredients for Hummus – except for the lemon!

For this recipe you will need:

  • 2 cups well-cooked, drained chickpeas (reserve the cooking liquid)
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 peeled cloves of garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon cumin or paprika (and a little more for garnish)
  • salt and pepper

Tahini is a sesame paste. It looks like peanut butter. Most stores carry it. You may find it in the peanut butter aisle. Or it might be in the Kosher section. It will keep for a long time in the refrigerator.

Hummus ingredients – ready to process

Put chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon, paprika in a food processor. I have two food processors and I always use the larger, more powerful one for hummus so that I end up with a smoother result.  Turn on the processor. Add cooking liquid as needed (in small amounts) to get a smooth puree.

Dinner

For dinner I served the hummus and tabbouleh with some warm pita bread. I used Ezekiel pocket breads. They are made from whole grains and they don’t have any weird ingredients. You can find those in the freezer section of well stocked stores.  served a yogurts sauce that I made using Greek yogurt, lemon juice and some spicy chili paste, like Srirachi. And I chopped up some cucumbers, red pepper and romaine lettuce.

The Verdict: This was a fantastic dinner. The tabbouleh was just perfect. It was so fresh tasting. It had a lot of lemon so it was very bright. The bulgur gave the salad a nice nutty quality. That was great. I am in love with that recipe. I have eaten lots of tabbouleh in my day and this was the best. Husband ate seconds and thirds of this salad.

The hummus was delicious also. I make hummus from time to time and we aren’t usually all that thrilled with the outcome. But this hummus was great. It was balanced. Not too tart. Not too garlicky. It was just right. Husband was very impressed too.

We made pita sandwiches with hummus and lots of vegetables. The tabbouleh tasted great as a side dish but it was also terrific tucked into the pita sandwich.

I loved both of these recipes and I will definitely make them again. This is the only hummus recipe that I will use in the future. Delicious!

 

 

 

Joy Of Cooking: Two Grain Date Pilaf

Two Grain Date Pilaf is the third bean/grain recipe that I have tried from Joy of Cooking. This is a really interesting recipe. It pairs basmati rice and bulgur wheat. That is a combination I would never have thought of on my own.

I cut the recipe in half. So here are the ingredients that I used:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 and 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup diced dates

In a medium sauce pan (that has a lid) saute the butter and onion over medium heat, until the onion turns golden, about 8 minutes. Add the rice, bulgur and cinnamon, stir to coat with butter.

Butter, Onions, Rice and Bulgur

Add the water and salt. Bring to a boil, cover. Reduce heat to medium low heat. Cook for about 20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter. I did that in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave. Stir the chopped dates into the butter. This gives the a delicious coating and causes them to separate a bit. They are very sticky and want to clump up.

When the rice and bulgur are tender and the liquid has been absorbed, add the date mixture. Gently stir to combine.

Two Grain Date Pilaf

I served my pilaf with a cauliflower curry.

Two Grain Pilaf with Cauliflower Curry

 

The pilaf was really delicious.  The combination of bulgur and rice was unusual and made the dish visually interesting. The bulgur gave it a nuttiness. It had a nice texture. The dates gave it an exotic flair. The butter added a richness. It tasted great with my cauliflower curry.  I think it would be a nice accompaniment with a piece of chicken and a nice green vegetable.

What’s the verdict? This is a great dish to have in your repertoire. It’s easy and quick to prepare.The ingredients are inexpensive. Though the pilaf has an exotic taste, all of the ingredients are widely available.

If I were to make this dish again, I think I would add more dates. They were good. Or I might leave out the dates altogether and add some sliced mushrooms to the butter and onion saute.

That reminds me…butter and onions really add a lot to a grain dish! I am going to remember to do that more often. Yes, it adds a little bit of fat. But it also adds so much flavor.

I couldn’t really taste the cinnamon. I have had those cinnamon sticks on my shelf for quite a while. Maybe they lost their oomph. Next time I might just put in a good pinch of ground cinnamon instead. Or I might try some cardamom. Another delicious spice.

Last but not least, some toasted cashews would be a great addition to this dish.