Tabouli. Just saying it makes me want to sing–Ta-BOOL-ool-ool-li.
This summer, I’ve been going rhapsodic on a theme of Tabouli. This dish feeds my creative need to compose–to augment, ornament, substitute and transpose.
Beat-the-heat bonus: you can make it in the morning while the kitchen is cool and serve it later (that evening or the next day) right from the refrigerator.
Bonus-Bonus: you can use up whatever you have on hand.
Hat-trick Bonus: it’s simple to make.
To create your own Rhapsodic Variation on a Theme of Tabouli you’ll need–
1 cup each of
- a grain: choose from bulgar wheat; couscous (or any itty-bitty pasta): quinoa; or rice (white or brown)
- boiling water
- chopped herb(s): parsley, cilantro, basil, whatever you like (if you have less than a cup, that’s okay);
about 1/4 cup each of
- olive oil
- freshly-squeezed citrus juice: lime, lemon, grapefruit, blood orange (it must be fresh!)
- chopped tomato (fresh is best, but you can used canned)
a small clove of garlic, minced + salt & pepper to taste,
and optionally, up to 1 cup of whimsical add-ins
- chopped, sliced, or grated raw vegetables, any assortment: onions, sweet peppers, summer squash, radishes, scallions, celery, carrots, cucumbers
- cooked beans: garbanzo, pinto, black, edamame
- chopped or grated fresh cheese (added at the very last minute): fresh mozzarella, queso fresco, feta, paneer
- chopped olives or hot peppers
Now compose it:
- Cook the grain according to direction.
- Stir in the chopped herbs, add most of the olive oil and citrus juice, stir and taste.
- Add more of whatever your tongue says it needs — citrussy zing? salt? pepper?
- Throw in your whimsy!!
Yum! This makes about 5 cups of salad (6-10 servings, depending on appetites and whether you serve it as a main course or a side).
You could eat it right away, but let it rest for a while in the refrigerator and it will taste even cooler.
Go ahead and feel all virtuous for being innovative: you made use of what had been hanging out in your fridge, which could have been (gasp!) wasted.
Here are some Summer Salad ideas for you to riff on:
- Traditional Lebanese: bulgar wheat, parsley, lemon and cucumber.
- Mediterranean: couscous, Italian parsley with a touch of thyme, orange, onions, peppers, summer squash and garbanzo beans
- Tex Mex: bulgar wheat, cilantro, lime, onions, sweet and hot peppers and queso fresco
- Asian: jasmine rice, cilantro and thai basil, lime mixed with a sprinkle of soy sauce, cucumbers and radishes
- Indian: brown basmati, cilantro and chopped spinach,lemon mixed with your favorite curry powder, onions, carrots and paneer
- Latin American: quinoa, parsley, lime, mixed bell peppers and chopped, fresh or canned pineapple (you might want to omit the garlic and add some chopped scallions)
- Italian: cooked acini de pepe pasta, basil and a dash of rosemary, lemon, roasted red pepper, fresh mozzarella and toasted pine nuts
Sing this little ditty with me, my friends: The Possibilities are Endless!
And for inspiration, play this while you compose your masterpiece:
Which variation could you love?