Archive | June 2014

Tabbouleh

Tabouleh

This month’s recipe is light and refreshing, and it is very simple to prepare. Tabbouleh is a classic Mediterranean salad made up of bulgur wheat, vegetables and herbs. It makes for a great addition to meals during the week, and it is also nice to have as a snack throughout the day.

Bulgur (also known as Dalia in Northern India) is a very healthy grain. Compared to brown rice, it is much higher in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and it is much lower on the glycemic index.

This recipe is heavy on the parsley, which contains many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. One fun fact about parsley is that just 2 tablespoons contains over 150% of the recommended RDA of vitamin K, which helps prevent calcium build-up in our tissues that can cause conditions such as cardiovascular disease and strokes.

This recipe serves 8, and it will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fine bulgur
  • 1 and 1/2 cup boiling hot water
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cucumber, seeds removed and diced
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley
  • ½ cup finely chopped mint
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Preparation:

  1. Place the bulgur in a medium sized bowl. Bring the water and the teaspoon of salt to a boil and pour it over the bulgur. Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
  2. In a large bowl, add the olive oil, lemon juice, bulgur and mix well. Add all the other ingredients and mix to combine.
  3. Taste the tabbouleh, and add more salt, olive oil or more lemon juice to taste. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 120

Fat: 4g

Saturated Fat: .5g

Carbohydrates: 18g

Fiber: 5g

Protein: 4g

 

Barley Risotto

Barley Risotto

 

This month’s recipe is nothing more than a classic risotto. However, rather than using the standard arborio rice (or one of its short-grained relatives), we substitute with the whole-grain pearl barley. The substitution results in a delicious risotto with a pleasant texture and a higher amount of protein and fiber than the traditional version. The preparation is fairly simple, but it requires constant attention.  Under-cooking it will leave it raw and brittle, while over-cooking will result in a mushy consistency resembling oatmeal. You are looking for just a slight crunch. The recipe serves 8.

Ingredients:

  •          2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  •          1/2 large onion, diced
  •          2 cloves garlic minced
  •          2 tablespoons olive oil
  •          1 cup pearl barley
  •          1/2 cup white wine
  •          4 cups vegetable stock
  •          1/4 cup Parmesan, Pecorino or Manchego
  •          1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  •          salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Use the mushrooms of your choice. I generally like to do a mix of whatever is available – usually a blend of button, portabello, cremini and shitake.
  2. Bring the stock to a boil in a pot and reduce to low or turn off.
  3. In a separate large pot, saute the mushrooms and the onion in the olive oil at medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until soft and beginning to brown. Add the garlic and continue sautéing for another minute. Season the vegetables with a pinch of salt and pepper and add more olive oil if needed.
  4. Add the bulgur wheat, stir thoroughly to incorporate into the mushrooms, onions and garlic, and then add the white wine, stirring continuously until almost all is evaporated.
  5. Using a ladle, add the stock about 1 cup at a time. When almost all of the liquid is evaporated, add more while stirring continuously. The mixture should be neither dry nor soupy. Adjust heat as needed – a little more to reduce, a little less to keep from sticking or burning on the bottom.
  6. Once all of your stock has been used up, reduce the heat to low and begin tasting your barley. You should be about 20 minutes into the cooking process by now, and you want the risotto to be tender with just a slight crunch. If you are not there yet and you are out of stock, then you can continue with a cup of water.
  7. Add the thyme, cheese, salt and pepper to finish.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 165 / Fat: 4g / Saturated Fat: 1g / Carbohydrates: 26g / Fiber: 4g / Protein: 6g