Lentil Tabbouleh (Week of Lentils, Part 2)

Lentils, Part 2!  As you have figured out by now, I don’t follow recipes to the letter.  As I get older, I find myself becoming more harried and less organized about some things.  I’ll swear I have an ingredient in the house, but when I go to make a recipe that ingredient is nowhere to be found.  So I improvise a lot.  I was sure I had bulgur for this tabbouleh, but I must have used it up in something else.  Enter wheat berries!  I learned abut wheat berries about 20 years ago when I was first starting to make bread on a regular basis.  Wheat berries are a chewy, delicious kernel of wheat.  They recently have been lauded as a whole-grain addition to salads or a hearty breakfast.  You can cook them just like quinoa, farro, freekah, or bulgur (boil, reduce heat, simmer until water is absorbed).  This recipe is from Good Housekeeping, July 2009.

Lentil Tabbouleh

YIELD: 10 cups
SERVES: 12

Ingredients

  • 6 c. water
  • 1 c. bulgur
  • 1 c. French green lentils or brown lentils
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ⅓ c. fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for garnish
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 large plum tomatoes
  • 1 medium English (seedless) cucumber
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 c. packed fresh mint leaves

Directions

  1. In covered 3-quart saucepan, heat water to boiling on high. In medium bowl, place bulgur; cover with 2 cups boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, to remaining boiling water in saucepan, add lentils and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain lentils well in colander.
  3. In large bowl, whisk lemon juice, oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper until blended. Add warm bulgur and lentils; stir to coat. Let stand 15 minutes or until cool.
  4. Stir tomatoes, cucumber, and green onions into bulgur mixture. Cover lentil tabbouleh and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. To serve, stir in mint and garnish with lemon wedges.

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I used flat leaf parsley, chives, and a fruit sorbet hybrid mint for the herbs in this salad (my mint was just starting to grow and I didn’t want to use it all up in this dish, hence the blend).   The fruity mint was a little odd, but the freshness of all the herbs was really light and crisp–more chive might have balanced the fruitiness a little.  The tomatoes were a little mushy, but the cucumbers stood out nicely and added some crunch.  I served this dish cold for lunch a couple of times and used it as a dinner side as well.  Very refreshing for a hot day!  I would make it again and continue to experiment with other herbs and other grains (tarragon, freekah, etc.).

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