I recently came home from a trip of a lifetime to Israel. It was a trip I was thinking of taking for a long time. My husband went as a young adult, my parents and sister has been and I knew my kids would go when they are in college. The trip came together in a flash and I signed on to go 2 months prior. I along with my 2 good friends, joined a group in Baltimore who joined over 200 women in Israel in July.
To say it was an amazing trip is an understatement. What I learned, what I saw and what I ate won’t be forgotten.
Israel breakfasts are a big thing in Israel. Literally. Hotels provide a huge spread that rivals Sunday brunches back home. They are a bit different as you won’t find bacon and sausage in chafing dishes (obviously) but you will find eggs, sometimes pancakes, but lots of fruits, vegetables, salads, breads, cheese, nuts and seeds. Pretty much everyday I would shove some cucumber/tomato salad with some crumbled feta in a pita with a drizzle of olive oil to start my morning..along with other yummies.
When I came home I wanted to recreate my tomato/cucumber salad. When I did some searching online, I came across Ina Garten’s recipe for Tabbouleh which had the components of my Israeli salad with whole wheat bulgur and fresh herbs. It was simple to put together and will be versatile for me to eat over the next few days. On the side of a piece of grilled fish tonight and stuffed in a pita with some feta for lunch.
It’s a very easy recipe to put together. It is no cook, but requires lots of chopping. Start with a cup of dry wheat bulgur and add some boiling water, lemon juice, olive oil and salt to it. Give it a stir and let it sit for an hour until all the liquid soaks into the bulgur.
While the bulgur is absorbing all that liquid, chop up the veggies and herbs. Halve the cherry tomatoes, dice the cucumber (make sure you take the seeds out or your cucumber will be all watery in the salad), chop the scallions, parsley and mint.
Add all the veggies and herbs to the bulgur and toss well, adding salt and pepper. The flavors get better if you allow things to mingle a bit in the fridge.
(recipe from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties)
1 cup bulgur wheat
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup good olive oil
3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 bunch)
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place the bulgur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.
- Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper; mix well. Season, to taste, and serve or cover and refrigerate. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours.