Written by Chef Alan Zox, email@example.com Thursday, 20 June 2013 00:00
As the weather gets warmer, salads become even better tasting light meals to enjoy 24/7. In the afternoon or late evening, try a freshly-made salad using small bowls filled with diced melon, prosciutto, tomatoes, avocados, and a handful of sprouts or watercress with a dash of walnut oil, balsamic vinegar and rice wine vinegar. Or prepare medium diced roasted beets and red pepper strips with fresh, deseeded and diced cucumbers with a handful of cannelloni beans on a bed of bib lettuce, dressed with fruity flavored olive oil and the juice of lemon and lemon zest.
Here’s another tantalizing addition you can make by adding a few of the vegetables noted above — roasted and not — with 2-3 tablespoons of tabouli that includes one of my favorite nutty grains, bulgur wheat. Or try quinoa Mexican style with delights like avocado, tomato and roasted corn off the cob with two tablespoons chopped melon or mango. These two dishes — Tabouli and Mexican Style Quinoa — give you special leftovers that you can combine in any number of different ways when guests or family come over unannounced, or for that matter as a late evening snack for yourself and your best friend. Both recipes are elaborated below followed by adding some of the other vegetables above. And whatever combination you choose will be delicious. There is no right or wrong way of enjoying these dishes. Your taste dictates. They are all good.
Serves 4 (Lasts in the refrigerator, covered, for 3-4 days)
• 1 cup boiled water
• 1 cup bulgur wheat
• 1 cup minced fresh parsley
• 1/2 cup minced fresh mint leaves
• 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onions
• 3 plum tomatoes, small diced
• 2 cucumbers, seeded and small diced
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 tablespoons lemon juice plus juice of one lemon and zest of ½ lemon to taste
• 1 teaspoon cayenne
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
In a large mixing bowl, pour the hot boiled water over the bulgur wheat and cover, let stand about 20 minutes until wheat is tender and water is absorbed. Add the chopped herbs and toss with vegetables. Combine the oil, lemon juice and zest and salt to taste in a separate bowl. Add to bulgur and mix well. Cover and chill at least 20 minutes.
Optional variations: Add one avocado with medium dice, one tablespoon roasted corn off the cob and roasted small-diced carrots and beets. Switching the vinaigrettes is also very tasty and fun to do. Instead of lemon vinaigrette, add the walnut oil, with a splash of balsamic and olive oil. How do you like it? Mix and match as you prefer. I usually combine at least two acids in my vinaigrettes — lemon juice and rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar are wonderful together. Be sure to try the original Tabouli recipe too.
• 1 cup quinoa — rinsed
• 1 ½ cups boiled water or chicken broth 1 cup roasted corn off the cob — in the oven or on the grill (3 ears)
• 1 large diced red pepper 1 large roasted poblano pepper with skin peeled and seeds and pith removed 1 diced roasted jalapena (becomes Chipotle)
• ½ cup diced tomatoes (3 plum tomatoes)
• 1 cup chopped red onion
• ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
• 2 tablespoons lime juice
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• 4 cups baby salad greens
Boil water; add quinoa and cover tightly; simmer 7 to 10 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. (Quinoa is done when grains are translucent). In a separate large bowl, gently mix roasted corn in the oven or the grill, diced tomatoes, peppers, chipotle, onion, cilantro, lime juice and cumin. Stir cooked quinoa into salad. Season with 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste. Enjoy.
Optional: Combine Quinoa dish with 3 tablespoons chopped melon or papaya, and 2 tablespoons toasted, chopped walnuts.
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