Beet Tabbouleh


Beets take the place of tomatoes in this summer tabbouleh. photo Nancy Duran

Herbs are everywhere you look at this time of year. Farmers’ markets and CSA baskets are brimming with them and gardens are positively taken over with the lush likes of parsley, mint, and basil. Seems like a good time to serve a salad that features parsley prominently. I give you, tabbouleh.

However, the other lead character in this salad is tomatoes, which are not quite at their peak as of yet. That gave me the idea to replace them with another sweet treat from the earth. Beets, which have all the sweetness of tomatoes, happen to be very much in season right now. Turns out they make a stellar stand-in for said tomatoes. Sweet, pungent, and zinging, this side works with just about any meat or fish. In fact, I found it hearty enough on its own and chose to skip meat in my meal altogether. Instead, I toasted up sourdough bread slices, smeared them with Greek yogurt, and piled the salad on top.

Serves 4 to 6

1/2 cup medium coarse grain bulghur*
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup firmly packed, finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
2 green onions, white and light green parts finely chopped, dark green tops thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cooked medium beets (To roast, preheat the oven to 400°F, wrap each beet individually in foil and place in a pan. Roast for about 1 hour for medium beets)
Greek yogurt, for serving

  1. Place the bulghur in a medium bowl. Pour over boiling water so that the bulghur is completely covered. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes. Uncover, drain well and return to the bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix well to coat the bulghur grains. Stir in the parsley, celery, green onion, and mint. Then add the remaining lemon juice and olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir well then let sit for about 20 minutes for the flavors to soak in.
  2. Slice the beets into rounds and serve layered with the bulghur mixture. Season with more salt and pepper if you like and serve with dollops of yoghurt.

*Whole Foods sells bulghur in the bulk grains and nuts section.

Nutritional analysis based on 6 servings (does not include salt and pepper to taste or yogurt to serve):
Calories 165, Fat 9g, Sodium 79mg, Carbohydrate 19g, Fiber 5g, Sugar 6g, Protein 3g

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