Vegetables… vitamins… healthy food… please!!
No, this is not an early New Year’s resolution. This is merely what my stomach would be saying, could it actually speak to me. After a week in Ohio visiting the family, not only for Thanksgiving, but for two birthday celebrations, my poor stomach needs a break. I imagine many of you feel the same way. Not that family feasts aren’t fabulous – but there’s definitely a waist-pinching downside to the holiday season.
Enter the mighty salad. Now, don’t worry, this isn’t some little leafy thing, destined to cause your stomach to go into shock from its rapid culinary about-face. This is a hearty, healthy, filling meal on a plate (or bowl). It’s sort of a jazzed up tabouli.
For those of you unfamiliar with tabouli, it is a Middle Eastern salad composed of wheat bulgur, parsley, tomato, lemon juice, olive oil, and a host of other random ingredients. It is light and refreshing, but not particularly filling. This particular recipe includes the basic tabouli ingredients and kicks it up a notch with the addition of some extra veggies, salty feta cheese and olives, and high-protein lentils. You can serve it as an entrée with some pita chips or as a side dish with any number of dishes.
Lentil and Bulgur Salad
Adapted from Moosewood Cookbook
1 cup green lentils
2 cups water
1 cup bulgur
1 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 T. fresh mint, minced
2 to 3 T. fresh dill, minced (or 2 to 3 tsp. dried dill)
1/4 cup packed fresh parsley
1/3 cup red onion, finely minced
1 bell pepper, any color, diced
1/2 stalk celery, finely minced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
2-3 medium tomatoes, diced
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)
Combine lentils and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Partially cover the pan and simmer without stirring until lentils are tender but not mushy, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain well then transfer lentils to a large bowl.
Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small pot. Add bulgur. Cover pot and remove from heat. Let sit, covered, at least 15 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed.
Combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk thoroughly to combine.
Combine lentils, bulgur, oregano, mint, dill, parsley, red onion, bell pepper, celery, feta, olives, and black pepper.
Pour dressing over salad and mix gently to combine. Cover tightly and chill until ready to eat.
Before serving, top with tomatoes and walnuts (if using).
Serves 6 to 8.