Friday, January 23, 2009

What's For Lunch? -- A Twist on Tabbouleh

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It was another salad for lunch today, this time a spin-off on tabbouleh. Tabbouleh is a salad with roots from the Middle East. The traditional salad contains bulgur (cracked wheat), finely chopped parsley (and lots of it!) and mint, ripe tomato, green onions and simply dressed with some lemon juice, olive oil and sometimes some spices. It’s certainly not a salad for parsley-haters, since the majority of the salad is comprised of the herb, but it also makes for a light, refreshing and low-calorie meal for those who don’t mind it.

I was flipping through my latest issue of delicious a few weeks back when I came across a recipe for a White Bean Tabbouleh. Not only was I drawn by the beautiful and colourful picture of the dish, but I love how they added white beans to the salad. Instantly, the light appetizer has become a satisfying meal with the addition of some protein.

The recipe served the salad with some roasted cuttlefish, but I roasted a few shrimp instead. The beans also add another level of texture to the salad, adding a creaminess that plays off the crunch of the cucumbers and the graininess of the burghul. Chickpeas would be just as delicious in this salad, although you’ll be missing out on the creamy factor, and use curly parsley in place of the Italian variety for added texture.

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White Bean Tabbouleh with Roasted Shrimp
Adapted from delicious, Vol.5 Issue 1
Serves 2 as a main

1 vine-ripened tomatoes
1 heaping tbsp burghul (cracked wheat)
½ of a 400 g can white kidney beans (or cannellini), rinsed and drained
10 to 12 medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
¾ packed cup Italian or curly parsley, roughly chopped
¼ English cucumber, or ½ Lebanese cucumber, finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
Olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Finely chop tomato, and scrape into a bowl with any juices. Add the beans and burghul. Stir, then set aside so the burghul soaks up the juices.

Rinse the shrimp and pat dry with a paper towel. Place in a small bowl, and toss them with a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes, or until done. Don’t overcook! Set aside.

Add the parsley, cucumber and lemon juice to the bean mixture and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Divide among two plates, top with the roasted shrimp, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and serve.


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