Lots of flavour in July’s kitchen

Tabbouleh is a traditional middle eastern salad dish served with vegetables, lots of herbs and a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. Any fresh summer veg can be used and the herbs can be changed according to taste.

Traditionally it would be eaten scooped up in small cos lettuce leaves but I like to serve it as a salad side dish. Or you could top it with a fresh piece of grilled fish.

Bulghur wheat  is usually sold parboiled and dried as opposed to cracked wheat which has not been parboiled. It is wholegrain, high in fibre and has a light, nutty flavour. It is really good at absorbing all the flavours of the salad. You could use couscous, quinoa or brown rice if preferred.

Broad bean and pea tabbouleh

Serves 4-6 as a side salad. Takes about 20 minutes

200g bulghur cracked wheat

600ml water

150g podded broad beans

75g baby peas

5 large spring onions, thinly sliced

Handful mange tout, chopped

About 10 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small lemon, zest and juice

½ red pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon each of chopped parlsey, mint or basil and chives, chopped

Handful of watercress

For the dressing:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 good teaspoon runny honey

Salt and pepper

  • Put the bulghur wheat in a saucepan with the water and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the water is absorbed and the wheat is cooked through. Put to one side to cool. If the water hasn’t been absorbed but the wheat is tender then leave to drain for several minutes.
  • Whilst the wheat is cooking boil the broad beans for a couple of minutes then add the peas and cook for another minute. Drain and plunge into cold water. Drain again. Pick out any of the larger broad beans. Their skins will be tougher and taste slightly bitter. Remove the skins by simply nicking the outside and slipping the bean out.
  • get rid of the bitter skins

    get rid of the bitter skins

  • Whilst it’s still warm use a fork to fluff up the bulghur wheat and put in a large mixing bowl. Scatter in the spring onions,  lemon zest and juice and fork through then add the broad beans and baby peas. Fork through gently then add in the tomatoes, mange tout and pepper.
  • Scatter over the mixed chopped herbs and a good grinding of salt and pepper.
  • lots of herbs add flavour

    lots of herbs add flavour

  • To make the honey and mustard dressing mix all the ingredients in a small bowl adding more honey if you like a sweeter taste. Pour three quarters of the dressing over the tabbouleh and mix well but gently using 2 wooden spoons. Add the remaining dressing if required. If preparing ahead cover and leave in the fridge.
  • add dressing
  • Pile into a large serving dish and tuck the watercress around the edges.