A new-found love for Tabouli, with Feta and Endive.
We all have those things we wouldn’t eat as a kid. Then slowly, as we bloom into maturity, our palates develop a mind of their own.
Tabouli salad was my arch-nemesis. I remember sitting at the dining table long after everyone else had left, refusing to each the two bites my mother required. Luckily, we had an expanding table that could hold large leaves on either end. Underneath the joints were brackets that stuck out like little shelves. If I was very careful that no one saw, I could shovel my meal under the table onto the little shelves! Later the dog would come remove the evidence. Sneaky…
Unfortunately, my parents LOVED tabouli. Maybe the haunting memories of it have warped reality, but it seemed to be in the fridge ALL THE TIME.
Nowadays, I can’t think of what it was about tabouli, I didn’t like. Maybe all the parsley threw me off… or the citrus, who knows. What I can tell you is that I love it, I crave it, and I prefer it to most any other grain salad.
The bright pop of lemon paired with the nutty essence of the bulghur wheat, and the cooling effects of mint and cucumbers are hard to beat. Plus it holds up for days in the fridge! That means I can make a large batch, and stand with the refrigerator doors open eating it for days on end. Nice.
In fact, the only thing that could possibly make tabouli better is feta, and a bitter bite from endive leaves. Either dollop the tabouli salad into the endive leaves and top with crumbled feta for a refined appetizer, or place in a bowl and let your guests scoop their leaves ’til their heart’s content.
Authentic Tabloui Recipes (also called tabbouleh) are all pretty much the same: bulghur wheat, mint, parsley, cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon, olive oil. The only real variation you’ll find is in porportion–and even that doesn’t vary much. However, if you are looking for a subtle change, try making tabouli salad with quinoa or whole grain couscous.
PS~ my kids, who eat everything under the sun, will not touch tabouli. It must run in the family. *wink*
Tabouli with Feta and Endive
Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes active time
Cook Time: 5 minutes
1 cup bulghur wheat
1 ½ cups boiling water
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 ½ tsp. salt
1 bunch green onions, chopped (tops and bottoms)
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 bunch mint leaves, chopped
1 English cucumber, chopped
2 pints cherry tomatoes, quartered (or 2 large tomatoes, diced)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
8 small heads endive
In a large bowl, add the bulghur wheat, lemon zest and juice, oil, cayenne, garlic and salt. Pour the boiling water over the top. Stir and allow it to sit for at least 1 hour.
Wash the endive and cut off the bottoms. Carefully separate the leaves and set aside.
Chop all the herbs, cucumber and tomatoes. Once the wheat has plumped up and absorbed the liquid, toss in the herbs, cumbers and tomatoes. Then salt and pepper to taste.
You can eat the tabouli immediately, but the flavor does develop if you give it a little time to sit.
Scoop into endive leaves and sprinkle each with feta.
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