Traditionally a dish made with olive oil and feta cheese, you will be surprised at how wonderful and refreshing it is without those calorie dense ingredients!
¾ cup bulgur
1 cup boiling water
3 cups finely chopped fresh parsley, either curly or flat leaf or a combination of the two
Heaping ¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
Heaping ¼ cup finely chopped scallion
2 plum (Italian) tomatoes, diced small
1 cup small dice cucumber
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
Place bulgur in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Seal bowl and let sit until the water is absorbed and the bulgur is tender, about 15 minutes. Place all other ingredients into a large bowl. Add cooked bulgur. Toss to combine.
Tip: Letting this dish develop its flavors in the refrigerator overnight won’t hurt it!
Makes approximately 6 cups
4-5 Persian cucumbers or 3/4 of a really large English cucumber, diced
2 ½ cups diced firm plum tomatoes (about 3 medium plum tomatoes), diced
¼ cup diced onion (optional)
¼ cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 clove garlic, pressed
Salt (or not)
Place all ingredients into a medium bowl and gently stir. Taste and add a tiny sprinkle of salt if necessary.
Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.
Loubieh (Braised Green Beans)
2 cups yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
½ cup water
1 Tbsp maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
Dry sauté onions in a heavy pot over medium high heat for about 20 minutes. Add water or veggie stock to pan as needed. Add garlic and sauté another 3-4 minutes.
Add tomatoes and juices and cook for 3 more minutes. Add green bean, maple syrup and enough water to cover beans (about 1/2 cup).
Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Taste and season with salt (or not) and pepper). Remove from heat and let cool before refrigerating.
Best if served the next day at room temperature.
I prefer to get my Za’atar from the market in Jerusalem, but that’s not always an option! When I run out of that Za’atar, the one that makes my heart sing, I can either get some from Penzey’s or make it myself. It doesn’t exactly compare to the authentic stuff that is sold in the Middle East, but sometimes it just has to do.
1/4 cup sumac (Penzey’s carries this, as well as Za’atar if you don’t want to make it yourself)
2 tablespoons thyme
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons marjoram
2 tablespoons oregano
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Grind the sesame seeds in food processor or with mortar and pestle. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Store za’atar in a cool, dark place in a plastic zip bag or in an airtight container. When stored properly, za’atar can be used for at least 6 months.