red-pepper tabbouleh for lunch

There's something very alluring about the dishes of the Mediterranean. They're colorful and bright, are rich and healthy (almost an oxymoron), and have strong, lasting flavors like lemon, garlic and herbs, salty cheeses and nutty grains. Delish. Two of my favorites include hummus and tabbouleh.

Tabbouleh seems kinda fancy, doesn't it? Well, believe it or not, it's pretty simple. Admittedly, there is a lot of veggie chopping, but the bulgar needs 15 minutes or anyways so to soften in hot water. Not a bad trade-off: 10 minutes of chopping for healthy lunches all week long.

Tabbouleh is such a flexible food, too. Both a side and main dish, it can be stuffed into a whole-wheat pita with hummus, or placed atop salad greens, or served as a side dish to a light sandwich or piece of chicken or fish. The options are endless. Just make sure to squeeze fresh lemon on it before eating it each time to keep the flavors bright.

So this is the tabbouleh that I like to make. Vary it however you like by adding olives or anything else. It's simple, healthy, tasty and, well, pretty. Food just tastes better when it's pretty.

Red-pepper Tabbouleh
Note: Be sure to chop all the veggies roughly the same size.
  • 1/2 c bulgar wheat (don't be scared, it's a lot like brown rice – but easier to make)
  • 1/2 c boiling water
  • 1 1/2 c chopped plum or Roma tomato, seeded if you like
  • 3/4 c chopped chicken or drained chickpeas
  • 3/4 c minced parsley
  • 1/2 c sweet red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 c seedless cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 c mint, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (~the juice of one lemon)
  • 4 oz. fresh crumbled feta cheese
  • olive oil, salt and pepper
  1. Pour hot water over bulgar in a glass bowl. Cover tightly and allow to stand for 15 minutes until tender.
  2. Chop the veggies and herbs and combine in a large bowl. Add bulgar, chicken or chickpeas, a swirl of olive oil, the feta and lemon juice and season to taste. Allow to cool in the refrigerator. Squeeze with fresh lemon before each serving.

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