Sunday, May 17, 2009


So, my last couple of posts have mostly centered around generally unhealthy foods (potato chips, ice creams, tempura, mac & cheese, etc.). And while all those foods are great, they are generally lacking when it comes to the type of balanced nutrition that active people really need to keep themselves going. Fortunately, the focus of this post is on an incredibly healthy and extremely tasty dish from the middle east that also happens to be rather popular in some South American countries as well. Its tabbouleh!

Tabbouleh is made with an odd form of wheat, bulgur, thats been parboiled, dried, and packaged. The parboiling means that it cooks quickly later and since its a whole grain it packs a nutritional wallop, so its super quick and healthy. Along with the bulgur, tabbouleh combines massive amounts of parsley, some mint, some tomatoes, green onion, spices, and a very light splash of olive oil and lemon juice. Since I pretty much just gave you the ingredients, I'm going to do the method mostly in pictures.

Step 1: Add 2 cups of water to 2 cups of bulgur wheat. Let the bulgur soak up all the liquid, it will take about an hour.
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Step 2: While the bulgur is doing its thing, chop up two firm tomatoes finely, almost as fine as like making salsa.
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Step 3: Throw a whole bunch (literally, one whole bunch from the supermarket) of parsley and a small handful of mint leaves into your food processor and pulse till finely chopped.
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Step 4: Slice up 4 or 5 green onions.
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Step 5: Combine all of the above and 1/2 tsp. sea salt, 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, and 1/2 tsp. cumin. Let sit refrigerated for an hour to get the flavors mingling.
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Step 6: Add 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup lemon juice, mix thoroughly, and either serve straight away or keep in the fridge for up to a week. I eat my tabbouled like a dip with some pita flatbread that you'd use for an gyro, but the traditional method is in a lettuce leaf. Either way its darn good.
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You may notice that after the bulgur has soaked up all the original liquid, its still a little hard. Don't worry, after you mix everything else in and let it sit, it will come out nice and chewy in the end. Aside from having a high amount of fibre, there's a decent amount of iron and other minerals which makes tabbouleh a great way to even out the deficiencies of the rest of your diet. It may not take the place of a full meal, but it would make a wonderful afternoon snack or accompaniment to a sandwich for lunch. Really, no matter where you include tabbouleh in your diet, you can't really loose.

Cheers, Mike

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