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.
YIELD: 10 cups
- 6 c. water
- 1 c. bulgur
- 1 c. French green lentils or brown lentils
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.).